Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Leonard Cohen/Grace/Art

I'm becoming more and more convinced that art is an important way for me to find harmony and balance when things get crazy. To help me feel less lost even though I don't know where I am.

Leonard Cohen has helped a lot recently. His artistry gives substance to the ineffable. The previous blog entry has a link to an interview where he talks about grace.

LC: well im bothered when i get up in the morning. my real concern is to discover whether or not if im in a state of grace, and if i make that investigation and discover that im not in a state of grace i try to go to bed.

Host: what do you mean by a state of grace? that's a phrase i never understood.

LC: a state of grace is that kind of balance with which you ride the chaos that you find around you. its not a matter of resolving the chaos as there is something arrogant and war-like about putting the world in order but having that kind of an escape ski, down over a hill, just going through the contours

Host: you have lost me

Here's the link to the video clip

So I write this as an encouragement for me and, perhaps, for you,  to invest more in the production and appreciation of art.

I'm not sure what I'll try to produce. I've written songs in the past. Maybe painting or poetry. This blog rarely approaches artistic expression but I think pushing myself to write on a regular basis will help me become better at expressing myself effectively. 

 In terms of appreciation I've found that memorizing poems and song lyrics can be a great avenue for deeper understanding and engagement.  I think I will commit to learning one Shakespeare sonnet and one Leonard Cohen song during the next week.  I will also explore going to the art museum at Cornell.

One thing I've written lately that I like is a prayer I included in the “psychodoodle” blog a month or so ago.

 Here's what I wrote...

Deep power in which we exist
May your guiding light
Help us grow joyfully in unfolding grace;
Live with an open heart;
Dwell in wise silence;
once again,
Our eternal home.

Works for me.

It's exciting opening up a door and not knowing what's on the other side.  I hope it's not a pit bull.

Beware. Ferd, the artist, is rising.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Retreat Review Review

I'm not happy with my recent blog entry about my not so great retreat experience at Springwater Center.

 I 'm mainly unhappy with thy style but also with some of the content. When I was writing it I felt like I was riding a powerful horse while constantly pulling the reins to keep it in check. Why was I trying to hold it back? What was I afraid of? Loss of control? Anger?  This is complicated.

Lot's of stuff going on. I was embarrassed. My pride was hurt. I felt I had squandered $560 of our limited retirement money. Sure, Springwater shouldn't put unsuspecting people in the situation I experienced, and I think I clearly told them that. But both in the restrained writing and in my ongoing struggle to integrate this experience into my life I feel I'm missing something. There's something going on that keeps me poking at the wound. There's a discomforting restlessness that is demanding attention. I guess that's been a baseline feeling of most of my life but it's been more pronounced since returning from Springwater.

I have a suspicion that the issue beneath the issue may be that the ideas I was exposed to at Springwater represent a fundamental challenge to how I view how I fit in the world...a serious challenge to my assumptions, values and ideals. (I'm not sure these are the right words here but they're in the ball park).

Maybe my ten page tome about Springwater was nothing more than my defensive reaction to the challenge “meditative inquiry.”

To tell an idealist, as Toni Packer does , that “ideals are worthless,dangerous, blinding, hindering. And we constantly build them up and take our refuge in them,” is a challenge of the first order. How could I not be defensive? The trouble is I get her point. It makes sense. But I don't agree with it. I want to live in the moment devoid of conditioning and limiting concepts but I also believe it is important to make my moment to moment decisions about how to live be based on values and ideals not solely on the immediate reaction I'm having to the moment.

So again life raises it's paradoxical head and I'm trying to find my bearings. I'm getting too old for this.