Picking Flowers in the Midst of Hell (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 182)

“I try again and again to console my heart and to pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell. I find bliss, and for an hour I forget the horror. But that does not mean that it does not exist.”

“You expressed that very well. So you find yourself surrounded by death and horror in the world, and you escape it into lust. But lust has no duration; it leaves you again and again in the desert.”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“Most people feel that way, but only a few feel it with such sharpness and violence as you do; few feel the need to become aware of these feelings. But tell me: besides this desperate coming and going between lust and horror, besides this seesaw between lust for life and sadness of death—have you tried no other road?”

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930

Anything for Diversion (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 181)

“There are quiet places also in the mind,” he said, meditatively. “But we build bandstands and factories on them. Deliberately—to put a stop to the quietness. We don’t like the quietness. All the thoughts, all the preoccupations in my head—round and round, continually.” He made a circular motion with his hand. “And the jazz bands, the music hall songs, the boys shouting the news. What’s it for, what’s it all for? To put an end to the quiet, to break it up and disperse it, to pretend at any cost it isn’t there. Ah, but it is, it is there, in spite of everything, at the back of everything. Lying awake at night, sometimes—not restlessly, but serenely, waiting for sleep—the quiet re-established itself, piece by piece; all broken bits, all the fragments of it we’ve been so busily dispersing all day long. It re-establishes itself, an inward quiet, like this outward quiet of grass and trees. It fills one, it grows—a crystal quiet, a growing expanding crystal. It grows, it becomes more perfect; it is beautiful and terrifying, yes, terrifying, as well as beautiful. For one’s alone in the crystal and there’s no support from outside, there’s nothing external and important, nothing external and trivial to pull oneself up by or to stand on, superiorly, contemptuously, so that one can look down. There’s nothing to laugh at or feel enthusiastic about. But the quiet grows and grows. Beautifully and unbearably. And at last you are conscious of something approaching; it is almost a faint sound of footsteps. Something inexpressibly lovely and wonderful advances through the crystal, nearer, nearer. And, oh, inexpressibly terrifying. For if it would touch you, if it were to seize and engulf you, you’d die; all the regular, habitual, daily part of you would die. There would be an end of bandstands and whizzing factories, and one would have to begin living arduously in the quiet, arduously in some strange unheard-of manner. Nearer, nearer come the steps; but one can’t face the advancing thing. One daren’t. It’s too terrifying, it’s too painful to die. Quickly, before it’s too late, start the factory wheels, bang the drum, blow the saxophone. Think of the women you’d like to sleep with, the schemes for making money, the gossip about your friends, the last outrage of the politicians. Anything for diversion. Break the silence, smash the crystal to pieces. There, it lies in bits; it is easily broken, hard to build up and easy to break. And the steps? Ah, those have taken themselves off, double quick. Double quick, they were gone at the first flawing of the crystal. And by this time the lovely and terrifying thing is three infinities away, at least. And you lie tranquily on your bed, thinking of what you’d do if you had ten thousand pounds and all of the fornifications you’ll ever commit.” He thought of Rosie’s pink underclothes.

“You make things very complicated,” she said, after a silence.

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley          1923     

Sand Sculpture 4 of 4 – Snoopy

Normally my blog is committed to the written works of both myself and others, but sometimes a little detour in expression and form is a good thing in immeasurable ways for author/artist and audience.

On a recent beach vacation over the holiday weekend of the 4th I had a chance to forget about reality for a while and slide back into some youthful imaginations and creativity that I had let recede into the past. From this hibernation emerged four sand sculptures channelled through an adult Super Nerd Boy. I hope they each stir something within your soul.

All components of the sculpture were taken from the normal beach debris that rested in the near vicinity.

Snoopy1Snoopy2Snoopy3Snoopy4Snoopy5

Sand Sculpture 3 of 4 – Sea Monster

Normally my blog is committed to the written works of both myself and others, but sometimes a little detour in expression and form is a good thing in immeasurable ways for author/artist and audience.

On a recent beach vacation over the holiday weekend of the 4th I had a chance to forget about reality for a while and slide back into some youthful imaginations and creativity that I had let recede into the past. From this hibernation emerged four sand sculptures channelled through an adult Super Nerd Boy. I hope they each stir something within your soul.

Octo1Octo2Octo3Octo4Octo5

Sand Sculpture 2 of 4 – Crouching Sea Lion

Normally my blog is committed to the written works of both myself and others, but sometimes a little detour in expression and form is a good thing in immeasurable ways for author/artist and audience.

On a recent beach vacation over the holiday weekend of the 4th I had a chance to forget about reality for a while and slide back into some youthful imaginations and creativity that I had let recede into the past. From this hibernation emerged four sand sculptures channelled through an adult Super Nerd Boy. I hope they each stir something within your soul.

The mane and tail fluff are made of seaweed. Everything used in the sculpture was found on the beach in the near vicinity.

lion1Lion3Lion4Lion5Lion6Lion7Lion8lion9

Sand Sculpture 1 of 4 – Sea Dragon

Normally my blog is committed to the written works of both myself and others, but sometimes a little detour in expression and form is a good thing in immeasurable ways for author/artist and audience.

On a recent beach vacation over the holiday weekend of the 4th I had a chance to forget about reality for a while and slide back into some youthful imaginations and creativity that I had let recede into the past. From this hibernation emerged four sand sculptures channelled through an adult Super Nerd Boy. I hope they each stir something within your soul.

Dragon1Dragon2Dragon3Dragon4Dragon5Dragon6

The White Nightgown Mindset (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 180)

William James warned his students that a certain kind of mindset was approaching the West—it could hardly be called a way of thought—in which no physical details are noticed. Fingernails are not noticed, trees in the plural are mentioned, but no particular tree is ever loved, nor where it stands; the hair of the ear is not noticed. We now see this mindset spread all over freshman English papers, which American students can now write quickly, on utterly generalized subjects; the nouns are usually plurals, and the feelings are all ones it would be nice to have. The same mindset turns up on the Watergate tapes, and working now with more elaborate generalizations, in graduate seminars in English, in which all the details in Yeats’s poems turn out to be archetypes or Irish Renaissance themes. It is the lingua franca, replacing Latin. The mindset could be described as the ability to talk of Africa without visualizing the hair in the baboon’s ear, or even a baboon. Instead the mindset reports “wild animals.” Since the immense range of color belongs to physical detail—the thatness—of the universe, it is the inability to see color. People with this mindset have minds that resemble white nightgowns. For people of this mindset, there’s not much difference between 3 and 742; the count of something is a detail. In fact the number they are most interested in, as James noted, is one. That’s a number without physical detail.

WIlliam James observed this approaching mindset and associated out from it sideways. He noticed the mindset resembled the upper class of Boston. They too disliked the sordid details—the hair in the ear of religion, the smells of the Irish entryway—and preferred the religion of the One. Naturally, they became Unitarians. If the “cultured people” move into this mindset, a curious thing happens; the upper (spiritual) half of life and the lower (sensual) half of life begin to part company. One part ascends; the other part, no longer connected to the high, sinks. The gaps between grom wider and wider. The educated class has the Pure One, the working class people are left with nothing but the crude physical details of their lives—the husband’s old pipe and the spit knocked out of it, the washing tub, the water and slush from the children’s boots on the entry floor, the corns on the feet, the mess of dishes in the sink, the secular love-making in the cold room. These physical details are now, in the twentieth century, not only unpenetrated by religion, but they somehow prove to the unconscious that “religion is a nullity.” James emphasized that perception, and Stevens grieved over the insight all his life. For the working class there’s nothing left but the Emperor of Ice Cream. The middle class is now the working class, and so the majority of people in the West are worse off than they were in the Middle Ages.

A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Robert Bly          1988