Saturday, June 13, 2015

2015.06.13 — A Drivel of Small June Fushigis*

Hello. It has been long since I’ve blogged. At last I have a few free moments, which has become a rare thing. Well, define ‘free’ of course! I have several letters I’d like to write. And a ‘humorous’ essay, that I began a few months ago, that examines the subversive nature of humour. And it is still unfinished, even though the idea of it and ideas for it are constantly running through my mind. (The synopsis: I think that what is subversive about humour is that the outward humour of comics pointing to our naked emperors does not change the society, but allows it to continue as it is regardless the inequality that may be extant. But that when someone moves from being angry to inwardly laughing at their friable humanity, that is when the transformation of the world begins.) [[Odd! As I'm writing this, Laurie Brown on CBC Radio is quoting someone's opinion on the nature of what it takes to write about what is close to the heart and soul.]]

My life is filled with strange tiny fushigis. Here is a quick sampler:

I learned from one of my sisters that a sister I haven’t seen or talked to since 1979 scanned and uploaded old family pictures for me. As i have been estranged from my family, I haven’t seen any of them for more than 35 years. I struggled to remember the names of some of my old elementary and school class mates. I struggled to remember the name of one in particular. The following morning I heard on the radio her name, well almost her name: Anitra is what I heard, Anita was her name.

Yesterday I asked a young woman* in a clothing store what the text in her tattoo said. She answered ‘There are no coincidences’ (I think — or something like that.) So I told her about this blog, with its fushigis and my old black books filled with small fushigis. And then I told her “I don’t usually ask people about their tattoos, and so isn’t it odd that I would ask you about yours?” And now I am smiling, because the last time I asked a person about their tattoo, that had fushigi elements in it. It was a quotation from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, now forgotten, about being true to one’s self, I seem to remember.

*[Addendum 2015.08.23. I was once again asked by ML to pick-up clothes for her from the clothing store. And this same young woman happened to be there and be available to serve me because the CSR who was helping someone chose not to help me when she was done. After our ‘Hellos’ she smiled and mentioned the following fushigi. It was she whom ML had called to place the clothing order a few days earlier and shortly after that call Michell (I asked her her name) found the note I’d left her with my blog’s url. So she was curious to see if I’d blogged this incident, and smiled to see that I had.]

Yesterday morning before going to work I gave to ML ‘my’ pair of scissors from upstairs because she had misplaced her downstairs pair over a week ago. (She is largely confined to a wheel chair and is physically unable to get upstairs.) As she is very hard on scissors, dulling them quickly by using them on things like trimming plants, I planned to replace ‘mine’ with a new pair. Well, yesterday afternoon, shortly before it was time for me to shut down the office computer at work, I visited the WSS word association game thread — it is one of the few things I seem to have time to ‘write’ these days — and was amused to read Leslie’s word: scissors. And so yes, the universe helped me to remember to pick them up on the way home from work. And, as I’m writing this, I just realized that I had those scissors with me when I asked the customer service rep about her tattoo, because I bought them while on my way to pick up some clothes ML had ordered.

Today I planned to make chocolate chip cookies. (Sigh. Didn’t get to it before the day ran out.) But while standing in line at Galloways, I engaged in conversation about the store with a blind man and his severely vision impaired wife. When it came time to get our stuff, she asked for chocolate chips, because she was going to make chocolate chip cookies. ‘She makes the world’s best,’ her husband said. And then, after they had gone, and I was paying for my order, the woman behind them set her stuff on the counter. And I recognized couscous, and I was thus reminded by the universe that I had indeed forgotten that I needed couscous! So I apologized to the customer service rep, and rushed off to get the couscous. Now it gets strange. I thanked the woman for reminding me that I’d forgotten something. She asked me what she had that had helped me. I pointed to the bag of couscous. ‘Oh!’ she said with some excitement. ‘Do you know how to cook it? I’ve never cooked it before.’ And so then I gave her quick cooking instructions.

And while I walked back to the car, I reflected on how the universe was helping me along in these tiny little ways. And I realized that for the universe to help me I had to be present, in the moment aware of my surroundings and the people. This is relatively new territory for me, as I have spent most of my life being unaware of my body and its presence in life, and mostly oblivious to everyone around me. And I realized that the yoga has been making very interesting changes to my presence of mind in the here and now. For example, I have become aware of my clothes, how they look on me and on them getting dirty by life. Again, yesterday: for the first time in my life I became aware of how I splashed water on my clothes while washing my hands. For years ML has complained about that, and I have never noticed nor cared. And today, while shopping, I was aware that I did not want to brush my light coloured clothes against my dirty car. In the past I would not have noticed that I had dirtied my clothes until ML, with frustration, castigated me on having gotten dirty. I am definitely more present. Funny, I was going to include that changed awareness of my physical self in a blog about how much I’ve changed.

Well, there is more. But time to stop. It is time to do my daily meditation exercise. Yes. That is another change. Six weeks ago I attended a meditation class, and have, since then incorporated twice daily meditation practice in my life. That is another blog, as I am seeing huge changes in my physical and emotional states of being. Hmmm. Is my changed state of awareness, just discussed, related to it? Interesting timing, to say the least.

But before I go, maybe another small fushigi. A few weeks ago a young friend, who just happens to be burdened with a philosophical turn of mind and with whom I’ve been exchanging e.letters, expressed her puzzlement over what Chuang-Tzu meant by ‘good’. This brought a huge smile to my face, and I jumped in with a Taoist take on age old problem of ‘Good and Evil.’ I cited different translations of Chapter 8 in Lao-Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. While writing that I have been reading The Inner World of Trauma by Donald Kalsched that has been blowing my mind and connecting things up. It is completing and connecting things between my unconscious and mind in a complementary way with what yoga has been doing with my body and spirit. Anyway, a key part of Kalsched’s discussion is about the good/bad dyad, which he has called the persecutor- protector duplex. Fascinating discussion, and explains much of my own experience. Anyway, as I was reading this and writing about the age old problem of ‘good and evil’ to my friend, I did not see the connection. Amazing, even as I am discussing becoming aware, how much I keep myself unaware of. In fact I did not see the connection until I followed my intuition and answered the call of a book I purchased several months ago, and opened it at random June 8, 5 days ago. Wow! This is what I read:

… [T]he prince asked the master again, ‘Venerable Teacher, if good men and women are motivated to attain correct awareness in order to restore their integral nature, how can they maintain the awareness and subdue the delusive activity of the mind?’

The master replied, ‘Kind prince, good people who are motivated to attain the correct awareness of an integral being should dissolve all conceptions of duality. With integral awareness of their moral responsibility, they will be able to help all people to eliminate the darkness of the dichotomous mind and the delusions stemming from concepts of existence and non-existence so that they can finally attain the essence of the integral subtle transcendence. When this has been achieved, the one who renders service to others discovers that, in truth, there is no one being served; he no longer perceives other lives as external to himself, nor does he perceive his own existence as separate and individual. If integral beings still held any concepts of self and others, longevity and brevity, life and death, [good and bad,] then they would not be beings of true integral awareness.

‘Kind Prince, what do you think? Did I attain awareness of the integral nature of the universe through the use of any special esoteric method [such as science or other religious practices]?’

‘No, Venerable Teacher,’ replied the prince, ‘As I understand, what you teach us is not something that can be obtained thought the practice of any esoteric method, for there is no specific device that can uplift one to the higher realms. Once something is labeled as the ultimate method or device, it has already become a hindrance to one’s attainment of integral awareness. Therefore, to an integral being, any external, established means is not the Integral Way.’

‘You are right, kind prince. There truly is no way for an Integral One to separate his being from the nature of the universe. If I had used any particular way to attain awareness of the integral nature of the universe, then the masters who live in the deep central realm of one great life would not have recognized me as an integral being. They refer to me, however, as a cosmic person who lives in all times and all places, and this is what an integral being should be.

‘If there is someone who states that an Integral One has attained the correct awareness of the integral nature of the universe by means of any specific way, then he is simply mistaken. There is no relative, specific way in which one can achieve awareness of the integral truth. The integral nature of the universe cannot be distinguished through a dualistic mode of perception. … What are labelled as methods of achieving enlightenment and uplifting one to the higher realms, wise prince, do not exist in the integral realm (114-5).

The Complete Works of Lao Tzu Translated by Hua-Ching Ni.
Well it is now indeed time to go. And I apologize for this being all words. I want to post this, and so am doing so before I my day runs out, and that precludes pictures. Good night.