Fasting and the Point of Life
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Tons of emails and letters: invitations to meetings, partnerships, presentations, workshops, actions. Donate! We need you! Pay attention, causes, click here to support, take action, join us, volunteer!
It is overwhelming…there is a whole business out there sprouting from the needs and the pain around us…most of these calls are legitimate, each one of them requires serious attention and commitment, but how many causes can we support without absorbing too much, without finally becoming inefficient, ineffective and sick?
And this, on the top of family, work and studies…
“It’s a language invented within the music, inherently, and the words mean more than I can say in English”, she says. “The way I sing is not new; it’s been around since the beginning of time, and it’s something all children are born with. It’s not unique to me, but for some reason I never lost the ability”
~Lisa Gerrard – Dead Can Dance singer and musician
Last Monday was our first Permaculture course day in the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC. The day elapsed between people’s introductions and visits to different locations. At one point we visited an old growth forest of giant yellow cedars. I stood by a gentle giant who may be more than 1,000 year old. Another “Permie” noted it was nursing two tiny mushrooms. It was late and night was falling: the mushrooms looked like small silver tea-spoons in its giant bark. I touched the bark of this wonderful grandpa and almost cried: only a few miles away we had witnessed the massacre of hundreds of its siblings…even us, drove 25 minutes to get there…I felt lonely, powerless, hurt.
When it was my turn to introduce myself, I couldn’t talk. Having a language such as Lisa’s would have helped (but it would have seemed too strange, even for this crowd); instead, a knot started to form in my throat…I wanted to stay in that forest forever. I felt inspired by these fellow travelers joining the course, by a friend’s umbrella following me, caringly, by the task ahead and the beauty of the place…
Misunderstandings are made of layers and layers of pain and detachment. Walls we build to protect ourselves…from ourselves.
“I was frightened, and lonely. Frightened for a future that looks dark, and darker with each passing species, and lonely because for every person actively trying to shut down the timber industry, stop abuse, or otherwise bring about a sustainable and sane way of living, there are thousands who are helping along this not-so-slow train to oblivion. I began to cry.”
“The tears stopped soon enough. I realized we are not so outnumbered. We are not outnumbered at all. I looked closely, and saw one blade of wild grass, and another. I saw the sun reflecting bright off the needles of pine trees, and I heard the hum of flies. I saw ants walking single file file through the dust, and a spider crawling toward the corner of the ceiling. I knew in that moment, as I’ve known ever since, that it is no longer possible to be lonely, that every creature on earth is pulling in the direction of life – every grasshopper, every struggling salmon, every unhatched chick, every cell of every blue whale – and it is only our own fear that sets us apart”
~ Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words, The Safety of the Metaphor (p.75)
I wasn’t looking for the paragraph above, it found me. With age, I am accepting this, I am becoming less and less sceptical…
Later this week, I found myself judging and being judged by people I love. It was painful. Judgement comes from not knowing, not accepting, not experiencing compassion. But we do it all the times: we put a label on peoples and things; we assume things because we have forgotten how to love.
There is a beautiful German movie called “Wings of Desire” by Wim Wenders. It is a movie about an angel who decides to become mortal (fall) as he “falls” in love with a woman (there is an American version of it, but as many American versions, it lacks all the depth of the original)…but it was not this movie what moved me to tears, but its sequence: “Faraway, So Close”. This second movie moved me deeper, because it is not about love to experience what humans do (like the first), but love for life and all in it. Cassiel, the second angel, is dearer to me because of his intense feeling about the world and about humans. He “falls” and becomes human not because of a woman: he falls because he tries to stop a child who is falling from a tall building to her death…
Far Away, So Close: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mso1FzM5Ldc alternative (in German): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5REZpXHwxzk
It is his words when he become human…first of joy (“it is so vivid here, so many colours”), fear (“Can you hear me, Raphaela? Are you still there? Just don’t leave me alone!”)…what made (and still make) me cry…
Later in the movie Cassiel says:
“So this is loneliness, Raphaela. It’s really bad. No one hears what the other feels. No one looks into the other’s heart. Nobody asks anything, not even for directions. What am I doing here?”
“For humans, Raphaela, I think there is no beyond.
Each one creates his own world within his own vision and hearing.
He remains a prisoner in it.
And from his cell
he sees the cells of others.”
Fasting and Yearning
There is a limit on how much we can take. And in the end, the only thing we long for is love and connection…we have built walls, barriers, multiple languages and infinite complications in between…
“What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control? What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects and emotions that we so needlessly fear? What if the point instead is to let go of that control? What if the point of life, the primary reason for existence, is to lie naked with your lover in a shady grove of trees? What if the point is to taste each other’s sweat and feel the delicate pressure of finger on chest, thigh on thigh, lip on cheek? What if the point is to stop, then, in your slow movements together, and listen to the birdsong, to watch the dragonflies hover, to look at your lover’s face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving together in the breeze? What if the point is to invite these others into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them? What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, to experience things on their own terms? What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought? What if the point from the beginning has been to simply be?”
~ Derrick Jensen, A Language Older Than Words, The Goal is the Process, pg. 150
“Earth, my dearest, oh believe me, you no longer need your springtimes to win me over…Unspeakably, I have belonged to you, from the flush.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“Think… of the world you carry within you.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke