Friday, August 31, 2007

Collage: Blurring the Line Between Memory and Nightmare, III

[NOTE: I originally posted this last weekend and pulled it because it wasn't right. This version is not drastically changed, but the changes are important. You might want to see parts I and II before reading this one.]

There is a thin line between genius and insanity, between memory and dream. That line is a vast liminal space, a bardo zone where no reality pertains.

* * * * *

Emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form and form is not other than emptiness. Similarly, feelings, discriminations, compositional factors, and consciousness are also empty.

~ The Heart Sutra

I've glimpsed emptiness. I've felt the purity of that truth. And yet I am always drawn back to the suffering of samsara. How do we attain this clear state when there is so much wounding anchoring us in pain?

I love a women haunted by demons. The demons convince her that she is not worthy of my love, not capable of receiving love.

How can she ever know emptiness?

We all have hungry ghosts, demanding of us attention that is wasted.

She lives, as do most of us, in an in-between place -- not alive, not dead, not fully human. Are we insane? Are we dreaming? Or is all of this a vast nightmare from which we can awaken?

Raven says:
The true bardo is the gap
between each moment.
Explore that gap.

* * * * *

When I was young, I knew that I did not belong. Somehow, I had ended up in the wrong family. Only that knowledge kept me alive when everything went to hell.

Recently, I dreamed that I had stuck a knife into my father's chest, twisted the blade until he fell over, dead. He died of a heart attack. I know where this dream came from. I know now that I blamed myself for my father's death. What child would not feel responsible upon learning that his father intentionally stopped taking the medicines that kept him alive?

What father does that to his children?

* * * * *


What truth is there in the realization that all is an illusion?

When I was in college I had a girlfriend who liked to play child's games. Maybe she was trying to heal her inner child? We often sat on the swings at the park in the middle of the night. But I never really let myself access that child within.

Now he raises his head and demands attention. A hungry ghost, or something more?

The cries for attention haunt me.

He pleads for a tender heart. Someone to hold him and tell him everything will be OK. But will it?

Can there ever be any real healing for those old wounds?

Nice limbo you have here
Nice limbo you have here
Nice field you have on
Baby go back to your womb
Baby go back to your womb

You grow the apples around me
I'll spit the seeds in your grave
Bead me a necklace
A decade I'll wait

Always the waiting . . . . But for what?

Raven says:
They who wait
are never free.

* * * * *

After I killed him, or he left us, nature became my refuge -- the source and destination.

It was only in the wild areas that I could feel at peace. Being alone, with no other people for miles in any direction was bliss. At this point in my life, hell was other people. I always liked Sartre.

It was years before that changed, before the child locked in the inner closet
began to demand contact with other human beings.

Now that child wants more. He want to be free.

But if form is emptiness and emptiness is none other than form, why bother?

Raven says:
Emptiness is the ground,
form is not other than emptiness.
Learn to spread your wings.

* * * * *

When I was five years old, I locked myself in the closet with a box of crayons and drew on the walls. I had a candle for light, and I drew until it burned down. Years later, my younger sister simply drew on the walls in the hallway-- she felt no need to hide.

In high school, I was most likely to die from drugs or alcohol, yet it was my sister who became a crack addict and died in a fire at the age of 36. She left five kids in the world to suffer from her death. My mother died two months later from grief. They said it was the cancer returning, but I know it was the pain of her daughter's death that brought the cancer back, like an invitation.

I'm an orphan. I'll never have answers.

* * * * *

We all have a child living within us that wants to be healed from all the pain it suffered.

What use is emptiness in the face of suffering?

There is no ignorance and no ending of ignorance right through to no aging and death and also no ending of aging and death. In the same way there is no suffering, no cessation, no path, no wisdom, no attainment, and no lack of attainment.

~ The Heart Sutra

Can suffering really be an illusion?

Can you convince my inner child of that? He would claim that until his suffering is recognized and healed, there can be no realization of

Raven says:
How far will you walk
to know that which
you already know?

He is correct.

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

To be continued.

* * * * *

Credits, in order of appeareance:
1. "Pinion," Nine Inch Nails
2. The Heart Sutra
3. Hungry Ghosts
4. Inner Child
4. "Limbo," Throwing Muses
5. Nature
6. "No Exit," Jean-Paul Sartre
7. Inner Child
8. The Heart Sutra
9. Nursery rhyme.

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