Workout Log 26 Aug 2012: Ko Samui Day 3: and the stillness the dancing
Up at 6:30 at Kamalaya in Koh Samui: 10 minutes dancing with weights and 20 minutes on that Stairmaster step Chinese water wheel thing. Good aerobic as opposed to anaerobic workout with no resultant hip pain was experienced today.
Then I attended Rejesh’s meditation class. Breathing focus. Break up the breath into the intake, the hold and the uptake, lengthen each phase and then do this consistently to set up a peaceful rhythm. Rejesh confirms what monk Rinpoche says: don’t worry about doing it right or losing focus. Makes sense, for the thought “omigod me losing focus” is precisely a loss of focus. Monk Rinpoche says think of a cow that moves along when it will. Indeed, a cow blocked my pickup truck in Idaho on a narrow country road when I lived in Idaho and I simply waited for the cow to move on.
A strange coincidence happened on day in Kamalaya’s library. I was only mildly frustrated by the fact that most of the medical textbooks were for some reason under lock and key, for I am now a medical nerd, reading everything I can find, but other books were not.
I found a Springer Verlag title and am always awed by the imprint, hey they are now the publisher of my computer book…having been bought out last year.
Strange: for it as an official scientific text of the 1980s nonetheless took a contrarian stance as regards “cranial osteology” (the medicine of the skull) which of course my Dad was also into as a brain surgeon, and the skull more or less being in his way.
Strangely it said that the seams we see in the skull between the different plates are not fused in adults, they are not just traces or lines, a memory of a more “open-minded” childhood if we may deliberately confuse “brain” and “mind”.
My kid did that once…he fell down and said “I hurt my mind”. He was good!
According to the respectable medical scientists of the book, and my father of that time, the plates of the skull are “tectonic” (even as the discovery of seismic plates only occurred fifty years ago) and the entire skull system moves…at optimal, usually higher, speeds, and not at all in illness or dysfunction!
In walks a speaker for the evening, whom I didn’t expect, I didn’t know there’d be a talk, and get this, she gave a talk as in a dream about the subject of the book! Pat Thummanond didn’t know of the book and said that it was (of course) probably just a little out of date compared to what’s now available on the Internet pro and con.
But the fact that the book joined two aspects of medicine, the holistic and the Western-scientific, was most interesting to me, for the book pointed out that families with children with crania sacral difficulties in the form of asymmetry of the skull or lack of cranial “motility” (ability to move) are often negative and fearful families, you know, the ones where omigod something BAD’s gonna happen all the time.
Such as my family of origin in spite of, o yes in spite of, the better angels of its nature. Such as my family.
There’s a Chicago phrase. Bent outa shape. We’re all of us bent outa shape. Now I am not convinced that cranio-sacral massage and stretching will always work but it certainly sounds like a good idea.
As an artist I always found the asymmetry especially of a portrait to be a source of both trouble and beauty. Leonardo da Vinci recommended holding up drawings to the mirror in order to spot flaws you won’t see otherwise, yet all faces are asymmetric, in particular and in my experience the face of Aung San Syu Kyi as in my grisaille here.
Edward G Nilges, Portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi. Copyright 2012 EGN. Moral rights asserted.
Which means that we can be somewhat bent out of shape.
Anyway it was quite a “coincidence”. Perhaps my Father communicates from the grave. Of course, I believe along with my usual fat pal Adorno that the “occult” trivializes and reifies a mystery much more spectacular than bending spoons.
“Acceptance is the key to all my problems”. That is, das ist: acceptance stops the monkey brain from wondering what’s gonna happen and collapses it into the meta-possibility expressed in prayer FOR SOME and meditation for others (fiat voluntas tua, thy will be done, or if you prefer, I’m easy, “let it be” in the sense of “I am powerless”, it IS.)
The soldiers on the troopship in Malick’s The Thin Red Line want to know if the landing will be opposed by the “Japs”. No, they want to know if they will be killed. Or injured. Or will the landing be unopposed? The Marines encountered resistance, previous Army troops had not. So wtf?
In this context, the tautology, and right action, is your answer. “Tell me nothin'”, and go over into the landing craft behind the other guy. This was the message I got 25 May. The prognosis is a range of years to live: a cure is ruled out but not a virtual cure in the sense of remission. And the cure is ruled out at the current state of scientific knowledge, but it is the crudest form of Positivism to make the claim that “the current state of scientific knowledge” is a Given, for that itself is an empirical claim, oops.
In simpler terms, I’m on the landing craft heading towards the beach, I am climbing Mount Fologorito with Edward Joseph Nilges and the 442 Regimental Combat Team (Nisei) in April of 1945, and I always was: Madre de Dios we did “duck and cover” in 1961 during the Berlin crisis as schoolchildren and in ’62 during the Cuban crisis. In the middle of life we are in death.
Gestures we make as workers and entrepreneurs have in Adorno’s words to be quick, precise, brutal. Which generates fast-food religion (Fundamentalism): precise and brutal. But in actuality the “union” of religions in syncretism can be just as precise, if not more, and the syncretism doesn’t create OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).
In Acceptance, you no longer have to switch gears. Schrodinger’s cat, in a famous thought experiment in physics, is in a state, alive or dead, that’s to quantum physicists (a barking mad crew) one clear and distinct state.
That is (das IST): we have to climb the mountain, like Doctor King said. He said I may not get there with ya. But: like Moses Doctor King took the big view, *sub specie aeternitatis* (under the aspect of eternity). Some Israelis interpret The Promise as specific groves flowing with milk and honey with tragic and evil results, even as some Muslims interpret the jihad as specifically taking down Apache helicopters or the World Trade Center. Well, we don’t have to use such narrow hermeneutics.
The Jews could have (and many do) interpret The Promise as a contract not only with Jahweh but also, based on the actual sayings of their actual Prophets, the Other (noting that the Jewish-origin philosopher Levinas said that the face of the Other is the face of God withdrawn from the world). The Islamists could have and many do interpret jihad as self conquest like their brothers the Hindus interpret the Bhagavad Gita but all good men are these days shouted down by daemons maddened by money and power, who use religion as a tool to rule, aren’t they.
As Spinoza pointed out, the simple man is specific about wanting a land flowing with milk and honey and complementary to his reified hope is his equally reified fear of eternal punishment as a Christian but not as a Jew. The wise man is not so specific and is passionately in love with the will of God: the God of his understanding or even gods.
Oh, and by the way, if (they) God(s) transcend(s) our understanding then absolute religious tolerance must be the law. A marvelous lemma results from the Unknowability of God: absolute compassion for the man who believes differently. Multiculturalism up the ass, as experienced in Britain and the more civilized parts of the United States and France.
“I may survive or not as the case may be. I can like Sarastro in the Magic Flute be a ruler and a healer, a self-ruler and a self-healer. But either way it’s gonna happen, what’s gonna happen. I said to my soul, be still.”
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away-
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing-
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
TS Eliot: East Coker
George Tooker, Sleepers