Wednesday, July 20, 2005

But Wait--It Gets Weirder...

Or maybe not...this is the post where I try to tie it all together, a patently artificial act but one seemingly demanded by--the blog form? The basic rules of spiritual narratives? The entropic direction of the universe?

I forgot to mention the pyramid-sales people; they were hangin' out in the hotel, too, with their name tags and the white ring binders with the klunky, desktop-published logo on the front. So you had your get-rich-quick dreamers, your make-schools-safe
hopefuls, your Win the War on Terror fantasists, and your god-wishers, all in one suburban enclave. A little cross-section of the USA--the capitalist, bureaucratic, patrio-militarist, and theo-bamboozle parts, anyway--all sipping their lattés and checking their voice mail. This is how I would have seen it, were I not so invested in one of those groups, were the stories I tell myself about myself not so laden with metaphors from one of those lexicons.

Art used to be my Big Story, even back when I was trying and failing (yes, quite miserably) to be a Christian, and especially later when I'd given up and started building my heaven drug by drug and pose by pose. Were I still a member of the church of art, I would have fancied myself at the very tabernacle one day in DC, as I stood in one little room in the National Gallery and gazed on four or five works that changed everything for me when I was a teen art geek, most importantly The Human Condition by Réné Magritte. It struck me that this painting "said" exactly what Amma had been saying in her talks: we inherit a story about the world, call it "the world," and slumber contentedly away.

Knocking over the easel is the hard part. Once that's done you have to either open the window or--it's best not to think about it. On looking at the Magritte painting I felt surrounded by Kali's caring and felt my past perceptions fall away--never had this painting looked so cartoonish, yet never so eloquent. I felt led by Her as I meandered into a gallery radiating so much shakti it felt as though I were back at Amma's feet. On one wall shimmered and echoed Something so magnificent--terrible and beautiful, and mesmerizing and repellent--a portrait of my Divine Mother, yet so imprisoned was I by my knowledge of the painter's work that I first assumed it was a commentary on World War II (!).

Next: Absolutely the Last Amma Post

1 comment:

  1. "Zim Zum" is extraordinary. I'm sure the photo doesn't do it justice.

    I loved Magritte's work, too. Used to have a poster of "The Surprise Answer"
    It's interesting what personal context can do. I'd always seen "Surprise" as a wondrous, welcoming invitation into the unknown (psychospiritual and otherwise), whereas someone I knew thought the painting was very frightening.

    Inheriting a story about the world: a friend sent me a copy of Daniel Quinn's Ishmael, which includes a fascinating interpretation of the story of Cain and Abel as it relates to worldview. The book also addresses ways in which we inherit and perpetuate stories that then govern our perceptions.

    Looking forward to more....