Envy (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 186)

“You envy the leaves and the grass because the rain wets them, and you want to be the grass and the leaves and the rain too. But I am content to enjoy them and everything else in the world that is good and young and happy.”

Happy Ever After

Leo Tolstoy          1859

But It’s Here Now (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 184)

“Some people think that it’s only possible to be happy if one makes noise,” she said, after a pause. “I find it’s too delicate and melancholy for noise. Being happy is rather melancholy—like the most beautiful landscape, like those trees and the grass and the clouds and the sunshine today.”

“From the outside,” said Gumbril, “it even looks rather dull.” They stumbled up the dark staircase to his rooms. Gumbril lit a pair of candles and put the kettle on the gas ring. They sat together on the divan sipping tea. In the rich, soft light of the candles she looked different, more beautiful. The silk of her dress seemed wonderfully rich and glossy, like the petals of a tulip, and on her face, on her bare arms and neck the light seemed to spread an impalpable bright bloom. On the wall behind them, their shadows ran up towards the ceiling, enormous and profoundly black.

“How unreal it is,” Gumbril whispered. “Not true. This remote secret room. These lights and shadows out of another time. And you out of nowhere and I, out of a past utterly remote from yours, sitting together here, together—and being happy. That’s the strangest thing of all. Being quite senselessly happy. It’s unreal, unreal.”

“But why,” said Emily, “why? It’s here and happening now. It is real.”

“It all might vanish, at any moment,” he said.

Emily smiled rather sadly. “It’ll vanish in due time,” she said. “Quite naturally, not by magic; it’ll vanish the way everything else vanishes and changes. But it’s here now.

They gave themselves up to the enchantment. The candles burned, two shining eyes of flame, without a wink, minute after minute. But for them were no longer any minutes. Emily leaned against him, her body held in the crook of his arm, her head resting on his shoulder. He caressed his cheek against her hair; sometimes, very gently, he kissed her forehead or her closed eyes.

“If I had know you years ago . . .” she sighed. “But I was a silly little idiot then. I shouldn’t have notice any difference between you and anybody else.”

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley          1923

 

 

 

 

Taking Someone Along in Your Soul (Love vs Sex 245)

He knew nothing of the figure’s origin; Goldmund had never told him Lydia’s story. But he felt everything; he saw that the girl’s form had long lived in Goldmund’s heart. Perhaps he had seduced her, perhaps betrayed and left her. But, truer than the most faithful of husband, he had taken her along in his soul, preserving her image until finally, perhaps after many years in which he had never seen her again, he had fashioned this beautiful, touching statue of a girl and captured in her face, her bearing, her hands all the tenderness, admiration, and longing of their love.

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930

Attempting to Serve as a Healing Hand of God (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 183)

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From an involved surgery from last week.

Balancing life in your hands, knowing exactly how delicate, remarkable, and interdependent, such a force happens to be, is grace, a blessing, and also a curse to those with a comprehensive awareness of the responsibility of their involvement and intervention when attempting to serve as a healing hand of God.

Are you good enough? Are you deceiving yourself in your own perceptions and/or your own capability? Are you being too meticulous and tedious or perhaps, not enough? Can the fear of failure or mistake be kept at respectful bay? And in the end, no matter the reality and the truth, will you be judged an unquestionable hero or incompetent charlatan by those in the periphery of the act? Is it enough or too much to be the only one who might know the truth either way?

It is a supreme honor to be sincerely entrusted with such responsibility and faith. It touches my soul and lifts me up more than you know. I hate to fail a patient, a client. . .and even myself, but nothing is ever guaranteed, no matter the intent and no matter the skill. This is the burden that weighs upon the true healers and that you might not ever see. These are the thoughts that linger and dwell throughout their daily lives, in between their every breath. These are the demons they (we) must fight alone, for themselves (ourselves) as much as for what we may do for you and yours.

This surgery actually went as well as it possibly could have and the patient is recovering in good fashion, but he will be on my mind day and night, 24/7, for the next 11 days, that is until he has passed out of the real post-op risk period. I’m hoping for my hospital, my staff, and myself, that once again we will all be heroes. . .for Sampson and his mommy.

Wish us all luck if you will.

Dr. Cribb

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     

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