Friday, March 02, 2007
No doubt about it, our world today is struggling between two contradictory views of reality . (Well, actually, more than two, but for purposes of discussion, two are chosen as subject.)
The two I have in mind are: the world and human experience as serious, necessary, and transcendent; and the universe as chaotic, absurd, trivial, and unworthy.
I found illustrations of both in my morning reading. The first is a poem by Rilke, which appeared on Ivan Granger's Poetry Chaikhana (see link):
As once the winged energy of delight
By Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875 - 1926)
English version by Stephen Mitchell
As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.
Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.
Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions. . . For the god
wants to know himself in you.
In this lovely poem, Rilke is telling us that when we were young, it was pure joy, the "winged energy of delight" which enabled us to survive our times of suffering, carried us over "childhood's dark abysses." In adulthood the task is more complex. It is not enough merely to be swept along. He calls on us to take the powers we possess and make of them a kind of bridge to "span the chasm" which confronts us.
The final line is especially moving: "For the god wants to know himself in you."
Here is the second illustration. It appeared in a New York Times review of an exhibition currently showing at MOMA in New York City:
More comic installation than comic abstraction, Juan Muñoz's "Waiting for Jerry" consists of the soundtrack of a "Tom and Jerry" animated cartoon: a cacophony of inferred chases, sneaks, skids, crashes, plops and general hysteria. Emanating from a lighted mouse hole cut in the old-fashioned molding of a small, dark room, it echoes throughout the show.
I think that in our present world, it is getting more and more difficult to discover the "Rilkean sensibility" amidst the Tom and Jerry confusion. True, the unifying myths of the earlier centuries have faded. There is no common, affirming worldview to sustain humanity's sense of connection as the world crumbles around us. As Yeats said, "The center does not hold." Many of us struggle with constant despair when we look closely at the current threats to our planet on many levels.
What does all of this have to do with kundalini? Just this. Once that experience occurs, once one is embraced by the goddess and feels those sweet and thrilling energies flow within in effulgent streams of love --then one is convinced of the reality of the Mystery, the "divine otherness" which is now not other but one's very self. One knows that despite the unsettling confusions and convulsions of our age, there is an abiding and undeniable essence, loving and sustaining, once we open to it. "The god wants to know himself in you," and kundalini is one of the ways this can come to be.
And this, I think, accounts for much of the lostness of the world at present. We as a world population have wandered too far from our sacred source, lost touch with our holy roots. The result is dislocation and despair.
But--there are definite signs of hope. Spritual regeneration is occurring all around. And--in addition--there are more and more reports of uncommon children coming into the world. These are children who seem to have special gifts, remarkable abilities of perception and spiritual awareness.
Indeed, it seems that--amidst the destruction and decay--something quite wonderful is coming into being.