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of Kindness, Love & Grace
Like You Wouldn't Believe
Call For A Cease Fire In The Ancient Forest Wars
On Bruce Cockburn's "Trouble With Normal"
(Fin-de-Siècle . . . )
Your Own Way Out
Before I continue, I should clarify the nature of the vocabulary Im using: Existential Paté, Outright Intensity, Hum of Transformation, Collective Being, Cosmic Recipe. Next, youll be expecting me to ask to have my Crystals aligned. If you know me, NEW AGE is not the label that first comes to mind. These capitalized phrases do not point to some ultimate, absolute realities. Im a firm and jaded disbeliever in such declarations. Not because they dont exist, but because of the silliness they induce in their promoters.
These phrases are only placeholderssymbolic markers for experiences nearly impossible to talk about. Experience of Outright Intensity is disruptive enough; attempting to explain it can drive you stark raving mad. Thats why those familiar with living this Intensity resort to Mantra, Yantra, Dadameans of expression that transcend the limiting structures of logic, language, culture, and sanity. Dont try this at home folks. Theyll call the Cops! Or worse, you might end up in the care of your friendly neighborhood Shrink who makes a living pushing drugs more shamelessly than a pool hall hustler.
Theres absolutely nothing special about this disappearance act. Really. It only shows that the transformative experience were all seeking doesnt wait for us in some Himalayan Temple, or up a flight of steps in Machu Picchu. Its waiting for us here, all the time, right where we live. Waiting for us to truly inhabit the self we hardly know because its not there, in ways we find difficult to understand. Any awakening, any revolution, any transformation that begins from somewhere else, doesnt begin at all. Pure Outright Intensity, born of a neurotic, insecure, insensitive slacker! Will Wonders Never Cease?!
Paul Gauguin kept a most remarkable journal during his stay on Tahiti at the fin-de-siècle of the last century. The pages of NOA NOA burn with the experience of Outright Intensity. The nearly naked man was wielding with both hands a heavy axe that left, at the top of the stroke, its blue imprint on the silvery sky and, as it came down, its incision on the dead tree, which would instantly live once more a moment of flamesage-old heat, treasured up each day. On the ground purple with long serpentine copper-coloured leaves, [there lay] a whole Oriental vocabularyletters (it seemed to me) of an unknown, mysterious language.
If this potential to transform is always so close at hand why dont we experience it more often? A simple question with a not so simple answer. Or maybe the answer is so damn simple its difficult to find the courage to act upon it. Sometimes, I feel I know how to make this Outright Intensity happen. Not in the sense of being its author. More in the sense of surrendering into its presence. If its always there the question becomes, Where are We?
The remedy most commonly offered to alleviate this dilemma is to find the Right Path, the Right Teaching, the Right Teacher. While sounding simple enough, its easier said than done. Even those absolutely sure theyve found The PATH, often report years later less than fruitful results. Does this mean they made the wrong choice? Didnt follow through? Had unrealistic goals? Whos to decide? Compare these to the few who find the Perfect Path, make the Perfect Effort, and Graduate with Highest Honors, and you still may not have an example of Perfect Liberation. After seeing a few of these Graduates, I sometimes wonder whos better off.