Life is a lying dream, he only wakes / Who casts the world aside
(from the Atsumori Noh Play, 15th century)
At birth we woke to dream in this world between. What then shall we say is real?
(Kan’ami Kiyotsugu, 15th century)
Two awakenings and one sleep. This dream of a fleeing world!
(Tokugawa Ieyasu, 1542-1616)
I know not what life is, nor death. Year in year out - all but a dream.
(Uesugi Kenshin, 1530-1578)
...the proud ones are but for a moment, like an evening dream in springtime.
(Heike Monogatari, 14th century)
My life / came like dew / disappears like dew
(Toyotomi Hideyoshi, 1536-1598)
To what shall I compare this life of ours? Even before I can say...it is like a lightning flash or a dewdrop...it is no more.
What is that note, tone, breath, voice, play, word, motion, thought, desire, way artists, seers, filmmakers, musicians, and spiritual practitioners alike speak to when they intone the vowels, the grammar, the logic, the philosophy, the imagination, the language, the creation, the way of dream? Reflecting, ponderous, contemplative in the way and presence of nature, externalized in the wild, flora, fauna, breathtaking skyscapes, landscapes, seascapes and fascinating magic of ecological wonder, all, as is. To create a place, mode or setting, wherein dream is realized, invoked, intoned, imagined and integrated into life, is essentially the role of the artist, visionary, and seer, as spiritual practitioners of harmony, whether harmony of tradition, presence or ideal.
Often, in the way of the artist, to create a work that truly evokes the magic of the innate powers of dreaming, truly inherent in all of creation, is the final meaning of the artist's path to holism, completion and a successful conceptual invigoration of idea into creation. Yet, in such as seers, or spiritual practitioners of a way of being, as the komuso, or "Priest of Emptiness" in Japanese history, who led a life of beggary, without identity, and harmonizing the mind with the suizen practice of blowing through a Shakuhachi - bamboo flute - instrument, dreaming in life is not conceived, or imagined, only led, and lived directly. For komuso life itself is dream, not necessarily solely creative conceptions representing life.
And truly, as the komuso meddled further in the affairs of secular life, navigating rungs of hierarchical power among fellow humankind, corrupting laypeople and spiritual classes alike, the dream fell into the reality, of the fleeting nature of all things. So, could komuso also be aptly translated as "Priests of Dream" who fulfill the order of dream within the waking spheres of existence, so as to harmonize the subconscious palate with a psychic holism of being? Self-prophesied, the world of dream that so invigorated the komuso into a unique way of living, being and harmonizing with creation, woke to the lightning flash wisdom of illumination beyond the forms of all-recognition, even to themselves. Yet, there still may be the spirit of the komuso wandering about, collecting alms from the wordless eye of longing that still beats the hearts of all things in the nameless anomalies of daily, human existence.
The wall cracks, sundered by a voice of thunder. An opaque sky churns, vomiting deep green ire with the blooded spires of lightning streaking the fragile heavens. Fled, spiriting off above the splitting stone, I nearly fracture my hand as the quaking Meleke rock fissures and smokes with the dust of an ancient soul leaving. As one, we are exiled.
|Fragment of wall painting with a flying Eros by Unknown|
Ancient and medieval backdrops gush with flame and flick with the passion of countless ghouls resurrected at the spiritual death of the Unholy Wall. I clamber down and down, past the bustling, oven-hot Arab village of Al-Khalil. Hijabs and jalabiyas wave in the homely, communal air. Into the steep fold, barefoot on the highway teeming with military checkpoints, my heroic blasphemy fumes with the vainglorious ruse of a timeless lie: the first crime of possession: land. Fugitive of an Israelite childhood, my eyes scan the living ground beyond the vicious plain of stone and fire.
|Discussion near a village, from the 43rd maqāmah of the Maqāmāt al-Ḥarīrī|
The smoothing grass, plush and soft with the furs of Mother Earth, trails off into the horizon toward the Far East. Cathartic winds blow my mind to perfect suspension. The gravity of our historic failure and the infamy of its lingering pains are momentarily nonexistent. Across a woody bridge, the babbling brooks of a better world shine in the blending sunlight. Sea salt air flecks the caressing breeze as my nostrils fill with aromas delectable and clean. A teahouse sits nested on a wispy, verdant knoll.
|Haboku-Sansui by Sesshū Tōyō|
My wife, freshened with the familiar hygiene of the opposite sex, touched with the divine hydration of a natural and ecological grace, she breathes, stimulated with a love-crafted green tea. Her palms, supple as the camellia in spring, yet her fingers are as dry as the fermented leaf ready for brewing. Her presence reaches and receives far into the mind’s dan tien of ecstatic enlightening and inner wholeness. Her Taoist eyes free my insides with an internal repose unknown above. On the high flesh of a stone-wrought, deadening life of the destructive West, I have left my name and memory. Here, belief and need see no conflict, and I speak of dreams within dreams, dreamt in the art of peace.
|Camellia and a Lonely Bird by Zhou Shuxi|
Yet, after an eternity of peace and splendor, in the decadent arms of all-embracing Love, I wake, as from a deep vision of suffering. I begin walking. The Earth shudders a breath cold with an early death. The rattle of antlers flutters with the cacophony of nature’s own chaos and war. In a triumph of sight, we lock stares, as antlers, across a dense thicket. Wounded, a stag and doe skip silently, as above a moving fan of grass. As one, we return to the dead old high of the ancient city.
|Wall-paintings of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom on Tangzi Street|
Racing with the elegance of divine creatures, extinct water deer of Mediterranean freshwater clarity. Their bones exposed, as light transfixes through gaping, bloodless wounds. I can see clear through the deer torsos into the waking touch of humid, rolling grassland hills. Through a panoramic eye, a lifeless and incendiary pain wears the sepia-toned horizon into a wrinkle of earthly age. We pass, unseen, through the Golden Gate, and we embody Shekhinah in all of her feminine grace.
|The temple entrance by Aert de Gelder|
An unpleasant, shivering wind casts over the city, clouded with complex overlain imperialistic landmarks of religious dogma and an historic oppression that explodes mercilessly into the present with a daily shade. Spectral, and at once shimmering an illumined field of stares, we glide past world dignitaries in the central spheres of power. Present to mind our fleshly presence is the leader of our Red and White Nation, who seethes through sociopathic eyes a malevolent taste for the darkening wick of livid silence and unrighteous judgment. And in our moment’s passing, the eyes of our contemporaneous leader of Northernmost America tears, heaving with the burdens of a deep shame. Eyes curling under, his heart beats pulsing his entire flesh of white, flaming anger. His throat, rung in fear, is tied to devious perfection in a self-important red knot. Yet born of compassion, we stir past undeceived by his show of destructive emotion, and on to lead a way towards a better future, of gentle humility and thoughtful pace.
|Landing the future (King William I in Scheveningen)|
Bristling with inborn purpose, at once our trio of the living extinct disbands. Our knowledge of the land tested, the White Seers emerge. As ghosts of the sleeping, spectral in the haunting jungles, at home in the phantom light of a dense, forested canopy, they wake, first to our scent. Then, instantaneously, the flat crunch of a skeleton pierces the chilling air. The jaw of a big cat, prehistoric lynxes, tigers of the White North, fanged and cold with searing, yellow eyes, closes again. The deer, devoured.
|A Lion Kills Prasenajit in the Jungle by Unknown|
I smell heart, pouring a continuous stream of hot blood nearby. My fearing hand graces the surface of a puddle of cooling plasma. Hunted, adrenaline affixes my intuition under the glow of the moon, southward. Peering into the pitch flood of night, I stumble and curse. They say a tiger sees a man countless times before the first hint of a presence. ‘Had their fill?’ Wondering, overwhelmed with the emotive stress of emergent trauma, blistering from the inside. And it scythes my torso, felt split nearly in two, as a crushed ember spewing unseen flares of heat and ash. Wounded, immobilized, my dilating pupils scan the dark wood with an unfocused and eyeless rush of mortality.
|White Tiger (Bạch hổ) by Unknown|
In the burn of a single firefly, the moon perks of the featureless sky. I can see, I can smell, and I taste the White fur of deathly feline gore. The earth rumbles with each footstep, and the oncoming, clawed pads fill my nerves with lungs of raw energy. Moved with the thundering mammalian outburst of muscular flight, a single punch of stolen force, intervention of the High One, runs the cat’s hipbone straight through its blooded organs of night and flesh.
|The Four Continents by Peter Paul Rubens|
Tangled with auspicious mystery, flattened with the mourning of a proud death, in a sudden rasp and rattle of a whispering cry, the end of the forest canopy floor reached. An open, under stars of mountains and a wealth of ears, insects roar in the funnel of a circular plain. Whirlwinds and dew sneak into my ears like the healing rain of an exiled land, birthing renewed into an Earth of spring. I wade through the sweet water of an alpine marsh, distant clouds ashore on the far horizon move like celestial birds. Light rain begins to fall, shining through incandescent sunrays, refracting like broken glass over ruddy mirrors.
|Wind and Rain by Ma Yuan|
Awoken, by my own breath, his presence is as the light itself. Herbsman! Bearded aglow with holy eyes, smiling wide as the mountain range afar. His words a waterfall, cleansing and purifying constantly, with the movement of natures’ own lifeblood itself. We sit in a glade, I in the deep meadow, and he over a gathering of lime, emerald and olive-shaded bushes of growing herbs, reaching as to his light, and lengthening at his every movement, touch and word. So, as I.
|Hanuman fetches the herb-bearing mountain|
“In the morning, eat of the red corn,” says he, Herbsman. An ear of red corn emerges as with the pleasure of an offering, gift or invocation from the mouth of a ground and tongue of a seed. One kernel, consumed, and my flesh lightens with the bread of fulfillment, and all my wishes humbled with regard to the constant water that flows to the life of all. Cleansed, opened, revived, moved and lifted, I listen with intent respect. “At night, eat of the white corn.” As the morning eye of fire stares into my forehead barely above the horizon, I yet see a vision of the white corn in mind’s eye, unknown on Earth. The Herbsman continues to pour the clear-souled water of natural wisdom through the mystic wine of musical friendship over each and every pour with all movements and messages invoked, intoned, and conveyed with brevity, clarity and unity.
|Indian Corn and Mexican Vase by Cordelia Wilson|
The Herbsman’s voices soothe and mend, teaching of Water, the element Carbon, Life in all varying forms and formless ways; how to purify one’s self through knowledge and action, and reason, in seeing as being, for every portion of ground on which one sits as the Ground of All Being. In earnest repose, he guides my mind as a rudder, and we sail, as with the passing life of Creation. In an earthly tradition, the Old Man is believed to have evoked, “Highly evolved people have their own conscience as pure law.” A vision of wisdom is sent from the Old Ones by way of dreaming. As observes an Italian proverb, "Where the river is deepest, it makes the least noise."
Due to the unplanned nature of returning home in the wake of an unprecedented natural disaster as the solstice floods of Southern Alberta (see previous post: Flood of Creation: A Photo Essay on the Art of a Natural Disaster), I have yet to create space and clear time for an original sound art/musical narrative in concert with the forthcoming, self-published chapbook, "Understanding our Meaning" from the district.Colombia experimental writing gallery. Yet, Kjarvik's experimental galleries are voluminously published for the public eye on Scribd, and previous experimental narrative sound art works are freely shared for listening on Bandcamp.
I look forward to picking up from where I left off with the previous post, The Poetics of Resistance: Myths of India and Freedom, in the meantime, we celebrate a long-awaited peace only known when waking from a deep and fulfilling night rest at home. So, the second collaborative musical offering from a spirited and festive friendship of three, Welcome Home! completes the initial live mix, Let It Go! which has personified the last weeks of precarious mental and environmental stability.