Sunday, October 19, 2008

Spiritual phenomenology, 3

And finally this phenomenology, one I would call transmigrational. It is a complement to Things You Will Hear, which I posted here on Oct. 12, 2008.

Energies I Followed. Places I Became.

...Then I became two seagulls
Spiralling their sex dance,
In helices,
Three gulls becoming
Fighting for a clam,
And then the flock itself,
A body of many bodies.

I became the moon,
Not more than a crescent,
My face turned down
With tears in my eyes
Like Hamlet's Ophelia
Despair as I follow the sun.
Ribbons fallen from my hair
Into a hundred reflections in a bay,
A red haze along the horizon.

Became a grain of sand
Jostled by the onrush,
A grain of quartz
Abandoned on a sandbar,
A grain of mica
Beneath the froth and hiss.

Become the ripples of a wave
     notes of a chord
In a larger wave
     in a turbulent fugue
In a willless undulation

And rising from Ophelia
In an arc across Orion
I will become a great blue phoenix
Looking down on Ertha
As she whirls,
Hands thrown out!
Head thrown back!
In a dizzying spin of despair.
I will rise from her
And watch her drift into the waves.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Spiritual phenomenology, 2

This phenomenology describes a stepwise emotional transition, as it is experienced moving in opposite directions. I'm particularly fond of the symmetry.

Two Cuts of a Melody

The higher music creates order
But letting go to the lower music:

Lost in the Angers
And becoming angry.
Devoured by the Fears
And living in fear.
Absorbed into Noise
And reverbing noise.

Only following Orders!

The Higher Order creates music.
But only following music

And reverbing noise.
Absorbed by the Noise

And living in fear.
Lost in the Fears

And becoming angry.
Devoured by the Angers

And letting go to the lower orders.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spiritual phenomenology

As I was editing my personal narratives this Yom Kippur, I thought of the various markers in my spiritual/religious journey. That path, looking back, seems rather like a direct line, a search that slowly, inevitably led to Judaism from a general or universal or nondescript spirituality. But, of course, it was not a direct line. Neither was it a product of any conscious pursuit, especially during the period of 1968 to 1989.

In 1968, as an 18 year old, I was a confirmed (devout?) atheist with a deep disdain for religion. However, I couldn’t avoid the incessant incursions of thoughts, impressions, and experiences that insisted there was a higher self or higher state of being “beyond.” Over time I acknowledged the reality of these experiences, not as aberrations or weaknesses or regressions in my “progress out of superstition,” but as insights at the horizon of my consciousness.

As I attempted to expand my consciousness, what was once on the horizon came nearer. Still, at the horizon a greater being/light continued to shine and draw me out. I have tried to name both the experience and the “thing” that I was experiencing. A Divine Imperative is one way of describing them both in a single term. The more personal term for the thing experienced is, of course, God.

I wanted to upload a particular one of those markers on my path, a poem entitled, “Hu Iz Like Yu?” What a crooked road we walk! As I was searching for it, I discovered in my archives three other poems.

Every poem is a marker, but unlike “Hu Is Like Yu?,” I do not think of these three as important turning points. Nonetheless, I was very glad to excavate them and bring them to bloglite. As you will see they are a very different kind of poem from the work I am now doing. I would call them spiritual phenomenologies. This first poem, below, and the next few that I intend to upload, date from the early 1980's.

Things You Will Hear

Above all, the ocean
Waves crashing and the low pitch,
                                        Waves crashing
Moving up the scale
To the high hiss,

You will hear it again
As the light breaks,
                                        And the high vibrato,
On your Etheric Body.
A distant memory.

                                        And yet again
Then the rhythmic scales
Will merge into a heartbeat.
Diastole. Systole.
Diastole. Systole.
                                        The rhythmic scales
                                        But you can't remember where,
The rumble and the hiss,
And all will be forgotten.

No, a vague recollection
Will come and go,
You cannot hold it,
                                        Waves crashing
And you will continue
Changing bodies.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Consciousness and personal narratives

Phenomenological observations:

In the eleven hours of intense prayer/introspection of Yom Kippur, I found myself contemplating, and critiquing, the narrative (narratives) that I have constructed to give shape, identity, and meaning to my life. In other words, I was researching, editing and rewriting my past.

Everyone does this, altho it seems many or most people do it quite unconsciously. So let me amplify: Our personal (and public) narratives are not just a compendium of all our experiences. Our narratives are constructed with much effort, however unconsciously. We include and exclude events from the sum of our experiences. But the process is not merely a winnowing. We edit, revise, distort, deny, and create ex nihilo, our past as we manage our narratives.

This process is not just limited to people in therapy. It is a day to day part of every human life. Going on a diet, managing anger, engaging in a rant, building a relationship, unraveling a relationship, going to work, staying home from work. These all involve building and editing our personal and public narratives. Indeed, everything we do is grist for the mill of our narrative building. And to observe ourselves doing this is what we call phenomenology.

To say this differently, we not only think our thoughts and do what we do. We also watch ourselves thinking our thoughts and doing what we do. And, as we watch ourselves doing what we do, we edit what and how we remember it. Problem is, what we leave out is not simply gone. What we edit and distort does not simply replace what actually happened. What we create does not simply take its place in the narrative without trace.

Our minds are compendiums of all that we experience, of all that we perceive and all that we misperceive, and all that we distort. The more inaccurate, distorted, and imaginary our narratives, the more limited and burdened and blind we become. The more static and bounded our narrative, the more constrained and choked our lives become.

Thus the process of narrative-editing is an existential necessity, if we are to change, grow, and renew ourselves. We read about this in various holy texts. It is true. The blind can regain sight. The troubled and the burdened can become free (or, more accurately, freer).A moral imperative can emerge in a hedonistic or cynical or sociopathic life.

Need I mention that a significant rethinking of one’s narrative is rarely fast, easy, or pleasant?

Turning back to the phenomenological process itself, we come to realize that we have multiple threads of thought concurrently ongoing in our consciousness. These layers include the obvious intellectual, emotional, and sensory layers. But we also think on supra-rational and supra-sensual (extrasensory) layers, as well as instinctual and autonomic layers. And at the same time we have multiple layers of self-observation overseeing all these processes.

Jung and others have lumped much of this multi-tiered thinking into 2 categories, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. I am trying here to be more precise than that. Being more precise, we can shed light on these “unconscious” realms, and we can more carefully, accurately, and responsibly edit our personal narratives. And thus we might increase our mental and moral development, our sensitivity to and respect for earth and the life it contains, and our awareness of a partnership with the Divine to create a world of kindness.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A poem for Yom Kippur

This poem was 'given' to me on Shabbat Shuvah, Oct 7, 2000; in the Hebrew calendar, Tishray 8, 5760. ('Given,' which is to say, I was both the recipient and the one who, by taking action, recovered what was else still waiting to be heard/experienced.) It is a poem appropriate to the Days of Awe, the 10 days that include the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement. Indeed, today, October 4, 2008, is also Shabbat Shuva. At the end of the poem, you can find a glossary of the Hebrew, and otherwise obscure, terms.

Riten and Seelenz in the Bouk

Owwer Parent, owwer Ruler
     Yu hav rememberd Yur chieldz.
El Shaddiy, Uddoniy,
     Yu ar bownd and we ar bienden.
On Roesh HaShunna it iz ritten.
     On Yoem Keepor it iz seeld.
Avvenu, Malkanu,
     Yu ar the Juj.
Owwer Parent, owwer Powwer,
     Yu ar the hope.

On November 9, 1938
     Yur day ov jujjen began.
On 5 Eyar, 5708
     Yur 10 day ov wayingz ended
     And we wer seeld for a yeer tu make life.

On November 9, 1938
     We began tu kry owt
     Asking a forgiv.
Forgiv Avvenu, forgive Malkanu
     For we hav bowd down tu owwer thots, owwer idelz.
     hen Babballon roze and began tu punnish.
Mersee El Shaddiy, mersee HaMakkoem,
     For we dessenden tu baesless haetred,
          Az enliten Jewz abbuezd the piyus
          Hu held owwer senter ov tradditten;
          And observen Jews kurst at thoze
          Hu sot tu restor ower Proffettek Speer.
     Then Rome reerd up and a sekkend punnish men.
Kompashen Father, kompashen muther,
     For we hav ternd awway frum Yur Proffets and Vizhenz,
     Frum Hertzel hu fortoeld ov owwer redeemen,
          Hume the piyus kondammd,
          And enliten men abbuezd,
          But thay hu lissend, thay bekum holee.
Yu jujjd Avvenu, Yu jujjd Malkanu,
     And all owwer praer,
     And all owwer lerningz,
     And all owwer deedz
     Ternd bak a werld destrukten!
Oenlee on Yur skaelz, oh God, owwer God!
Oenlee on Yur skaelz
     Du praerz and lerning and kiendness hav wate.

On 5 Eyar, 5708 Yu seeld the Bouk
     That Yur Proffets and Yur Preesthoud woud liv.

Avvenu, Malkanu,
     Hu nercherz and sustaenz,
On November 9, 1938
     Yu began tu juj the nashenz ov the werld.
     Thay hu kryd owt:
          We ar the streng!
          We ar the godz!
          We ar the jujjez ov the werl!
El Shaddiy, Elloheem
     On 5 Eyar, 5708
     Wut nashenz did yu seel with deth?

1. El Shaddiy: a name of God, implying the nurturing aspect.
2. Uddoniy: another name of God, implying mercy and universality. "Uddoniy" (usually spelled "Adonai") means "The Master" and as a spoken/read word, has no relationship to the 4 Hebrew letters on the page - Yud Hay Vav Hay. This separation of the written and spoken Name acknowledges that God's true Name is too holy to literally pronounce.
3. Yoem Keepor: accent on last syllable (KeePOR).
4. Avvenu: Hebrew for "our father."
5. Malkanu: Hebrew for "our king."
6. Avvenu Malkanu: this phrase is repeated in supplication numerous times on Yom Kippur.
7. November 9, 1938: the night of Kristallnacht, a state-orchestrated pogrom in Germany, often thought of as the beginning of the Shoah, the Holocaust.
8. 5 Eyar, 5708: the date in the Jewish calendar when Israel declared itself as a nation; May 14, 1948.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

More on incantational poetry

The incantational form from Bouk 3 of The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, appears again in Bouk 5, The Fawl ov Helloweez.

Livving in Multapul Moments

O, I hav bin a messijjer;
I travveld varee far.
O, I hav bin a messijjer;
My home beyond the star.

Sing yur mornfull plaents
     Oh Aenjelz in the star ringz.
Let yur kurrij waver
     Oh yu advokats still in hevven.
Chant yur plodding dirjez
     Oh ellemmentel sperets.
I had 5 dimmenshenz, I had 1000 vertasseez.
Oh mennee-boddeed Aenjelz, despaer for me.

The messij wuz my purpos;
The Lor gave the kommand.
Kompelld, I went tu Ertha;
Her Life wuz in my hand.

Sing yur mornfull plaents
     For me hu krosst the border.
Let awl yu kno be douted
     Oh yu hu sing the werlz.
Sing yur dreeree dirjez
     Till yur werdz tern intu dust.
I had a vizhen and 1000 sensez.
Oh Moment ov Bliss, sing owt tu me.