Out beyond ideas
of wrong doing and right doing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down
in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
- even the phrase "each other" -
do not make any sense.
From The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks.
When you do a lot of driving, without a radio or tape player, you either find yourself becoming very, very bored, or you make a meditation of it. I guess, being such a nomad over the years, driving has become my form of meditation, and I do some of my best thinking with the white line unrolling before me. It's a good metaphor, isn't it?
I found the word "raukkadessa" often popped into my mind this summer, and I've made notes for an entry that never seems to be able to be finished. "Raukkadessa" is a shamanic concept, one that I was introduced to in 2004 by singer and songwriter Kathi Huhtaluhta. The word came from a song on her album Beyond Love (Sami Records, 2004). Kathi lived in Finland, where she studied "Yoik" traditions of Sami chanting. But she also became very influenced by Sami folklore and spirituality while there.
Kathy told me her song, Raukkadessa, derived from a word she learned which meant "beyond love". Meaning, beyond the pairs of opposites, beyond loss, conflict, history, the constructs of personality and culture, beyond even our temporal experience of love (or hate)....."there is a field".
And perhaps the purposes of that exchange, or that experience, are unintelligible in temporal terms, lie beneath, or above, the surfaces of our lives............I don't know. I think of my friends song, of "Raukkadesa", and sometimes it has helped me to let go of anger, regret, blame or loss, and accept the mysteries of my life, to appreciate, if not always understand, the evolutionary pattern.
I remember an artist I met in California who told me, quite seriously, that she believed she had been collaborating creatively with a man in New Jersey for 40 years. She said she had never met him, and probably never would.
I've often found that people have given me gifts that take time and maturity to understand.
Recently I had a month of conflict with a roommate, which was, of course, very uncomfortable, and full of the judgemental polarization of "she's wrong, she's crazy" etc. It was exhausting. As it turned out, she really did need her own space, and we were a poor match as roommates. But for me, she provided me with some important growth and self-understanding, because I had to come to grips with ways that I was being unsympathetic, judgemental, possessive about the space, and unkind to someone who, I began to realize, was quite fragile. After all the blustering, I had to take a look at that very uncomfortable place of remorse for my behavior. When I finally got it, I decided I needed to do what I could to put things right, and I helped her in various ways to find a new place. Ultimately, we parted in a friendly manner. And I have some satisfaction that it was a win-win situation in the end. A gift.
What we call "forgiveness", I find, mostly has to do with forgiving myself. It's much easier to forgive others. The word "fore-give" means to give the energy forward, to not constrict oneself in time and place. At some moments, one sees that what happened was a node in the Web, and they were there, co-creators, all the time. The threads others wove for and with me become an important motif in the tapestry of my life. But the pattern is only visible with an overview, if it's ever consciously visible at all. I don't like the term "guidance", I prefer the word "Conversation". Beyond the immediacies of our sequential lives, "there is a field" where the Conversation goes on within the stories of our lives.
I STOOD POISED UPON THE EDGE OF TOWN,
AND HEARD THE BLUE STARS SINGING
Weary ideas rise and fall
into blessed exhaustion.
I touch that essence,
that blood-red honey wine,
this strange distillation.
I entered a lucid dream,
I found a lucid life.
Through my open window, I see
a black, far horizon,
and I hear the blue stars singing
memories of memories
I wish I could tell you
what I have seen
in the homelands.
Perhaps, in that country,
we are of each other at last......
You take my hand, we walk together
in that green and splendid
I offer you a glass,
you raise your cup to mine
a butterfly rises between us,
flies into the morning
from the other side
Through an open window,
I hear the stars singing.......
But I write this in a small, dark room
here, and now,
wishing I could be young again,
wishing I could feel
something other than foolish.
I will always remember you