Exploring the Farthest Reaches of YOU

15 10 2010

There is a theory, an idea, a belief, an understanding that some people have that every individual human is God.  That the whole making man in the image of Himself thing isn’t about physicality, but is an indication that as the ultimate creative force in the universe, God split off billions of Gods, billions of ultimate creative forces.  Us.  And others.  The reason that we don’t know how to fly through the center of the Earth or give rise to awesome T-Rex Whales who levitate and sing like Pavarotti through the gentle warble of kitten purr is because we have forgotten our true natures, having been bound by the incredibly narrow band of experience that our five senses afford us.

The point, then, is to thwart an admittedly rather human-sounding ailment:  loneliness.  God planned to let these Gods run free over the whole created universe and experience it, to develop independent perspectives about it, enjoy it, and alter it.  In time, each God-soul would rise back to their God-mind and rejoin all of the other Gods, each having experienced life and creation in unique ways.  A fantastical diversity plan designed to foster so much newness that loneliness was basically out the window.

For those of you wondering how I feel about this:  I like it.  It makes at least as much sense as anything else I’ve heard, and might feel even better.  Not just because one day I might get out of my own head and be able to safely greet you by chopping off my foot and making a strawberry-scented rainbow fur hand emerge.  Shake on it.

So.  If we are creative beings, meaning that our highest function is to create, and the means by which we attain the ability to use our highest function is to forget the limitations we’ve placed on ourselves (preventing our creative abilities from creating), then can one look at the body as though it is a collection of different kinds of creative functions (which, when all fully functioning are powerful enough to create any and all worlds around it, create the rules and the possibilities of the self and the environment), then it is very interesting to think about how creatively skilled certain people are at certain things and wonder if that aspect of their selves is possibly truly completely unblocked.  And to wonder if they’re on to unblocking the next thing.  And to wonder how close any of us are likely to become a wholly creative being again.

I know that from the time I was very young, my voice is one aspect of my self that I have noticed being sometimes weak.  When I was in trouble with an adult, or talking to someone who was acting aggressively, or giving some stupid talk to the class about something for which I’d inadequately prepared, my voice would always shrink, and most often would close up, leaving my mouth open but without words issuing.  Any time I felt weak or frightened, my throat would immediately constrict and feel so tight that my attention would be completely drawn to it.  I couldn’t not notice how my throat reacted.  It was serious.

I worked on feeling comfortable in threatening situations, and surely through the years, my problem has far improved.  I still feel my throat tighten and my voice shrink when I’m alarmed or nervous, but others may not notice it so much, and it is certainly much less likely to paralyze me.  I’ve given 45-minute talks to crowds of around a hundred, talked down an angry and aggressive fella at a bar, and have given a wedding toast or three with genuine confidence, maybe one even with aplomb.  My voice problem is largely gone, though it still arises to varying extents on occasion.

A couple of years ago, when I undertook my 10-day Vipassana meditation, we learned how to turn our awareness inwards to a point that, when things were going well, we could feel the least likely things in our bodies:  the pulse within the little toe; subtle tinglings on the backs of the hands; even the tiny touches of six distinct legs of an ant crawling up the leg.  One day, I was able to push my attention even deeper within myself so that I was sensing the general pulse of the inner workings of my body.  I was honestly intoxicated as I sensed the fast but not frenetic activity through my spine.  I passed my attention straight through the center of my body, and it was exhilarating, but I received a surprise when I reached my throat.

All of the rhythmic pulsation and vibrant energetic activity of the rest of my journey nearly deadened within my throat.  Right at the voice box.  It felt muffled, wire-crossed, and as though it was shorting out continuously.  I was instantly thrown from my meditation, and I realized that this energetic mangling represented my occasional vocal incapacity.  It seemed that it was either the cause of my lack of creative power or that my lack of creative power caused it.  I don’t know which one—I’m pretty slack on learning my metaphysics, okay?

It was a shocking realization, and one which gives me plenty of cause for consideration when thinking about the connection our minds and bodies share.  Is there a weakness in my body at the center of the weakness I feel when in hostile environments?  If we are creative beings, is this why I feel this fear?  So that I will intentionally try to improve my abilities, shed my fears, and so strengthen this weakened part of my (spiritual or emotional or physical) body?  It’s a crazy thought, possibly.  Either that, or it is SO SANE that it boggles the mind.

And, if we are indeed fully creative beings, only trying to forget the limitations our physical bodies place on us, is someone who is a wonderful and expressive singer someone who is my energetic opposite?  You’ve heard certain singers described as “other worldly”—maybe they actually are, having attained such a high level of creative ability in that energetic center that they have progressed beyond the normal physical restrictions of the human voice.  And perhaps my issue is what it is because I am meant to continuously improve and grow my weakened creative powers there.

Maybe it’s not a mistake that when I started learning guitar as a teenager, I never got interested in the technical mastery of playing lead, but was constantly drawn towards learning to play and sing well simultaneously, a pursuit that appeals to me to this day.  I realized it again today as I was driving home, listening to a John Vanderslice song and deciding I was going to learn how to play it.  “If I Live or if I Die” is a musically very simple song, but I’m way into the lyrics and the melody.  And that means what I’m actually interested in is expressing well vocally, as JV does in the song.

And I didn’t decide to look up tab when I got home last night after listening to the phenomenal guitaring Slash provided for “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” did I?

Whatever your drive is, whatever your perceived weakness, physical or creative or otherwise, I say go with it.  Can you really afford not to, if the prize at the end is ultimate creative ability?  Do you even realize that then you’ll be able to open a beer with your mind, and then not have to drink it to be suddenly drunk*?  Come on man!

*Please create instantaneous drunken states responsibly.





Autumn: The Silent Killer

8 10 2010

My problem with Fall, as a season, is my problem with its function.  Of course, all anything is is its function, so I suppose that sentence is useless, rendering this one equally without worth.  I’ll start from zero, then.

Fall approaches from out of nowhere like an old friend whom you’ve been wishing to see for some time but of whom you had completely lost track.  You’re caught in the long, hot days of summer and the frantic daily routines that accompany—for in summer, much can be done with the added daylight and freedom from worry about frostbite—and one day, without warning, you walk outside in your short sleeves and are taken aback by a chill you’d forgotten was possible.  You hop back inside and pick up a hoodie; Fall has arrived!  And what a wonderful surprise it is.  You get to wear warmer, but still light, clothing that had been in the back of the closet for ages.  You can go for a jog without concern over heat exhaustion.  The crisp night air feels amazing in your lungs, and you are able to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities that only days before seemed like a terrible chore requiring a shower immediately following.

And so we count our blessings to have run into Fall again.  The pretty leaves and dry armpits delight us.  We are so glad to be free from the tyranny of the full brunt of the sun!

But Fall makes me nervous.  I fully partake of the joys of the season, and there are many, but no time of the year wears a better mask for the devil within.  Spring slaps you in the face with emergence.  It’s something from nothing.  It’s magic and life and wind and allergies.  Summer beats you down with its relentless heat.  Winter lowers a curtain over the life of our world and keeps us isolated indoors from its quiet, dry, frigid air.  But Fall.  Fall approaches with the promise of reprieve.  It slides its arms around us, rubs our shoulders and promises that everything is going to be okay.  And it slowly, nimbly, cunningly tightens its grip until it is choking the life out of everything around us and we are in the sleeperhold of (seasonal) impotence.

The leaves, once so alluring and beautiful at the hands of Fall, tumble and cover the ground, blocking the weakened sunlight from the grass, and stay there, rotting.  The brisk air is suddenly heavy and biting.  The reprieve from excessive sweating morphs into a need to constantly apply moisturizer as the air robs our skin of its vitality.  And when it has finished slowly sucking the life out of the world, Fall leaves us in the unforgiving, steely arms of its hidden employer, Winter.

If I sound like I may be giving too harsh a review, let me say this:  Fall murders everything with a friendly smile on its face.  Now it should be clear that I’m blatantly decrying the name of the rudest of the seasons.

In full disclosure, I’ll admit that I love Fall.  It feels great.  It is a terrific break from the heat of summer.  I get extremely excited to be able to enjoy hot cocoa again.  But Fall is the most fickle of the seasons.  It inevitably breaks my heart and leaves me in the care of the dead season.  In short, Fall is the best season, the easiest to love, but while you’re appreciating it, it is speeding you through its pleasures without allowing your relationship to blossom.  It always lets you down too soon.  Its ephemerality is its true character.  If you can enjoy Fall without learning to count on it, you’re in good shape.

Autumn.  I hate you for the same reason I love you.