"The best of this kind are but shadows..." - Theseus (Midsummer Night's Dream)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A hole in me pocket - The Beatles, EST, The Buddha, the Yellow Submarine


 To act without acting, to fight without hurting, to shout quietly; these are the ways of the Tao, the ways of the Buddha, the ways of the Beatles. It's the Ascension, the 2012 Rise to higher vibrations. Can you feel them buzzing inside you like an interdimensional barber's razor?


Maybe if you are as old as I am you remember the time YELLOW came on TV, a colorful candy cane hallucination of a film that seemed kid friendly until these crazy Blue Meanies with their marching clowns, giant dinosaur mouth bellies, tall men dropping apples, and giant glove came marching, flying, and bombarding the good British music hall loving residents of Pepperland. What they did was put the poor residents to sleep, freeze them, immobilize them in glass bubbles, and thus they did create the need for one of the residents to escape in the Pepperland's only nautical super vehicle, the Yellow Submarine, to seek help. I'm still traumatized by it. The Meanies seemed like beings straight out of my childhood claustrophophobic nightmares, their immobilizing apple suffocation and glass bubbles leaving me gasping for days. The first time it came on, I recall changing the channel before the sub even found the first Beatle. How could one little bandleader effect any sort of rescue against such organized horror?

Yet looking at now it's fascinating that the Blue Meanie's war on Pepperland is-- despite the nature of conflict in and of itself-- non-fatal. No blood is shed in this film; there are no bruises created, not even hurt feelings. The citizens are frozen into--one presumes--a metaphor of the "living easy with eyes closed" unconsciousness of the average adult person with no access to good music. The vanquished (by love!) Blue Meanies are re-introduced into the fold at the end, and merge into the electric whole. The lead Meanie even finds a bosom chum in the Fool on the Hill. This re-merging of enemies into friends is essential for understanding the way of Peace, the way of children, of Gandhi, of MLK and JFK, of the New Deal and the Marshall Plan.

This is the point wherein swords are replaced with pillows; where children and adults wrestle as one in a free nonsexual, pre-oedipal, open-hearted, joyful space of total love/creative force. We may look for an example, and find one in professional wrestling, with its enactment of age-old struggles via big men in tights who telegraph their moves to each other in the locker room beforehand, all with the purpose of a good show, rather than to achieve a victory. There is no anger or animosity between them, just the ceremonial performance of it. This is catharsis and joyful participation in the sorrows of the universe at its best.


Kids see their parents succumb to the weapons of the Blue Meanies all the time: A once joyful dad sits frozen in a fog created by alarmist 24-hour news cycles, bourbon, cigarettes, and workplace stress. The distractions offered by cell phones (glued to ears) and papers and TV football games (glued to eyes) prevent the adult from engaging in wild horseplay with the children, from seeing the world how it really is: electric and candy-colored.

The important thing, which John Lennon--who up to a very late point in the film seems to be the most cranky and judgmental of the Beatles--brings up at the climax, is this: when you choose love and non-violence as your weapons, you are invincible. Love has no opposite. It is beyond duality. Hate isn't its mirror image but a distorted self perception. All hatred is self hatred. All love is selfless love.
John is not afraid to come off cranky if he is feeling that way, as he's cranky with love in his heart. Once Fred brings the Beatles to Pepperland and it's time to face the Meanies, John snaps out of his bitchy snarky funk and points out that all you need is love, and the word "love" appears, candy-colored electric and all-consuming, taking over the screen. The NO of the Meanies is given a K and a W - KNOW, and the answer to all things becomes YES. Duality and its ills melt away in the face of this universal power.

You can practice this anytime in your own life - it's easy - all you need is to recuse yourself from the bench. Cease all judgement. Stop labeling things as bad as you go through life. You were not appointed by god to vote on a reality-judging reality show panel. Surrender the power to loudly "not" like things; try what is offered, let go of old tapes. My mantra for this is "retired from the bench" - "Erich can't judge this as good or bad, he is retired from the bench. He has recused himself because he's too close to the problem." How can you judge something honestly when it's a part of you? That's what 'recused' or 'retired from the bench' is all about - if it's too close to see objectively, it's too close to judge; and things too far away are even harder to see clearly, so just love all things and people as if they were your own children, i.e. unconditionally. When the world and everything in it becomes your child, your love, your family, life gets 100% better almost instantly.

Maybe it started with you as it did with me, as a child. Maybe as a child you wanted to be different, to pull away from the herd, so one day you said you didn't like coconut when some ugly snot-nosed kid shared it at the cafeteria. Five years later you're allergic to coconut; today just the thought of it makes you ill. If a cute girl offered you the coconut instead of that kid you judged as snot-nosed, way back then, maybe you'd love it and not be allergic today. This is how arbitrary judgments today constrict tomorrow's bliss. Sooooo: Recuse yourself, now, for 2012. Let go of that original childhood decision against coconut and you're free. Allow the changes and impermanence of all things to overtake you. Allow the scissors of spiritual death to slice your old skin down the middle and burst you from your own chest anew. There is, after all, nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.


Ommm

When John Lennon does go up against the big Blue Meanie with the power of love it's through touching him or gesturing in nonviolent, nonsexual, nonthreatening movements that cause the Meanie to break out in flowers. Wherever Lennon points, flowers erupt. The Meanie can't stand it because he has suppressed this childhood joy, has denied himself this simple open-handed nonviolent letting in, and now his own venomous distrust turns against him, as it always secretly has and will. The loop of karmic ill will is revealed and, in shame, he collapses. Fear breathes and lives inside him (and us) like a hateful worm, controlling our emotions and reactions in ways we feel we must own, as somewhere in the past we defined these ills as 'us'.

This is not really who we are! We forgot and turned our back on our true friends; we choose the side of the mean girls. But judging others in that us vs. them dichotomy is a spiraling addiction: you know the minute you stop pointing your finger at others, the fingers of the other pointers will turn to thee, so now you have to keep pointing! We get bluer and meaner with every gesture.

But when you point at John Lennon, he will come at you with the one thing that finger pointers can't stand, love love love - and absolute forgiveness. The pointing stops there.

But that is not the end, Lennon says to the defeated Meanie: "Hey Blue Meanies, join us." - the other Beatles echo, "Yeah, join us," and the Nowhere Man and the Flower Meanie form a special bond. This is what sets the film in such a sacred space.

The Nowhere Man, we should note, represents the academic, the aesthete, the last stop to dharma consciousness before the opening of the soul. He lingers on the threshold of the cliff of selflessness, collecting bottlecaps and volumes. "Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen" - and this is how most of us blue staters are -- we know where we're supposed to be, what we're supposed to do-- we try to be positive, but we don't feel it because we still have that core of fear and doubt, the insecurity, the loneliness, the existentialism, the longing for some golden elixir, some perfect sexual encounter or gold watch or jet ski that will complete us, the Christmas present that will erase all hurt.

Let it go... let it go....throw the jet ski over the side and join with the saints. Join with Nina Simone. Join with the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Dr. John, The Meters.. Join with the Love Supreme, the Sky Church music, the Coltranes Alice and John, the Lennon reborn as the saint within, endlessly opening flowers where once were gunshot wounds.

All that was hurt, frozen, and lost is restored.

It's not WAR

Let us call it, for lack of a better word SWAR.
Because it is war without edges, punches without fists, motion without speed.
It is the release of aggression and the resolution of conflict without bloodshed.
And if the conflict is not resolved it is, at the very least, brought up from its repressed boil simmer and performed, exercised on the stage.

....and this is how our problems will be resolved.

In becoming free we give up the right to judge even ourselves, even those who judge us.
We surrender all resistance and refusal, even violence and pestilence and death,
we accept it all in full open kindness.
Even the smelliest crap and lowliest worm,
the vilest homeless monster crouching behind the Mulholland diner,
even the brown toxic cloud and the corporate monsters spewing it --we love them all.

To get here we must flow like honey from a jar, unceasing and unresistant,
into the open mouth of Death's golden honey badger.
We are swallowed and digested into the belly of the beast, the whale, the valley of death, the dark night of the soul.
We are absorbed, transmuted, ejected
erected, emitted.
We are placed, enlightened the way a candle is lit
and placed in a window to illuminate the path.
The moths may come
too close
we will try to not burn them with our radiant love
but let this be known:
we always and eternal, burn. The lighthouse consumes us
and is us.

Now free, our muscles feel looser.
Someone's loosened our tightly wound strings.
Now the sad and closed lonely people do look blue, half-strangled,
shoulders slumped and heads lowered down into the streets.
We want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them, straighten them and
give them a gentle push into the light,
but they'd think
we're crazy.

The fear-cursed lad on the shore who gazes into the waves, afraid to surf lest he should drown,
becomes a man with no roots, no nourishment from ground or sky,
existing only for the illusive past and future -- golden memories, alive in dead photos
and anticipations of future vacations...
He dreads that, on the week he takes off from work to plan a trip to the beach, it might rain.
$299 a night he should pay for sitting inside with the rain? Aye yi yi.
He can already feel the sting of his wife's rapprochement.
Why he did not check the weather, three months in advance?
His stomach is already knotted from the anticipation of being sequestered with those monsters, the $299 a night view showing only thundering rainy pounding surf.

But the sky above him pounds on his hair like a flurry of saxophones, seeking entrance to his brain.
The ground below pulses and spins, seeking to flow its energy through his veins, nerves, fibers.
The air around him is a crowded happy party watching its lonesome guest.
In the corner he looks at books on the bookshelf, hoping someone will talk to him,
but it has to be the right someone, a pretty, smart, sensational, well-connected someone.
Not just anyone.
In his fickle judgments, his island shrinks
until he's shark-surrounded,
choking on his own chum.

The anointed air makes no distinctions in its breathers.
Monsters, saints, dogs and devils all inhale it.
The clouds are not selective as to on whom they rain.
The floods do not choose the poor over the rich.
It's all location location location,
and we have one location,
which is here,
which is now.

And here they come, the angels from Arcrturus,
from the Pleiades, from Neptune and the Great Blue Ocean, vibrating in the inner circlets of our air.
Here come the Humpback whales, the seals, the singers, the gospel choirs and kindergarten theater troupes, the Harpo Marxes, the French, the Indians, The Native Americans, the artists in Portland, the artists in Tokyo, the ones not haunted by the rays of the screen.

And then, even the haunted, and even their ghosts.

Here come the waves, the blue and red waves, the morphing figures, the dancing shiva flames of acceptance, tolerance, the removal of all fear and soot from our body chimneys.
Now are we made whole.
Those of us with glasses will suddenly need weaker prescriptions.
We will want to work longer hours, spend more time with our kids, somehow now ewe find ample time for both, without a worry of where time goes. We will
eat better, stop swearing, refrain from ejaculation during sex to preserve and increase our stores of prana for the job ahead. We will avoid meat.

When the patient is healed, he must cast off his crutch and stand, or be forever unable to walk.
The reborn lazy will shun their beds, their TVs, their junk food, in the same way...
the cheap thrills, escapism, idolatry, negativity and anger will be dropped
effortlessly, barely noticed,
the way a leaf drops from a tree in autumn
or a magazine from your lap at the doctor's office
when your name is called.

Your name is called.
MEDSITATION!

4 comments:

  1. I honestly respect your writing and your opinion. I've stated so many times on this site.

    I had originally written this long-ass thing, since I'm a scholar of Japanese Buddhist theology and history, whose also done work in Indic Buddhist theology, theory and Hindu ritual and theology. Long story short, I think the Beatles just went to India to get high and write songs, and John Lennon didn't care about anyone but himself. I find him to be a repulsive individual who abandoned his family and his activism to be very self-promotional and self-satisfying.

    I'm just sick to death of the Beatles being championed as messianic symbols of "peace, love, and understanding" when I've nothing they produced has caused political action or awareness in the long run. The generation weened on the teet of their musical offerings has descended into ultimate bourgeois malaise, inaction, and complicit self-satisfaction. Their supposed unquestioned status as icons is also infuriating. Personally, I think the story of fellow British band Amebix and their music to much more compelling.

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  2. Thanks for your honesty, Ido. I will check out Amebix. I would say this, to counteract your spin of the wheel against Lennon et al, judging a spiritual seeker one way or the other becomes the judger more than the judge. Lennon later saw his error, his blind spot, re - the suffering he caused Julian and his mom and made amends. He even forgave and understood the Maharashi after their break with him over the 'event' with Mia Farrow. For me, and it took me a long time to understand this, if a figure is embraced in a particular point in time as a representation of nonviolent open-hearted intention ala the Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, King, even Michael Jackson, the Pope -- the need of the unenlightened mind to find fault with them increases in ways they can't comprehend. Rumors begin to swirl and murder plots form and erupt. King slept with white women, pope shields pedophiles, Jackson sleeps with kids, Jesus lies about who is god, etc. -- unless, as Whoopi often says, we were there at the time, we don't know the truth. But we can see that the reaction against someone offering this message is automatic in those who have not surrendered: String 'em up!! It's as natural as it is for one to recoil from violence, it is the 'douche chill' it is the fear that one's own inner fear feels when seeing its evictor heading towards it from without. Sorry if this sounds trite or overly pretentious! As I check out Amebix on my behalf, I'd wonder if you'd look within and see just what inside you recoils from the simple openness (and I used to recoil from it myself, believe me, so I sympathize and do not judge in the least) of such a message. Is there something inside you, a quieter voice, that can stand outside the hate-fear reaction (Lennon was really mean and lazy so I hate that people think he's positive) and examine why it feels it needs to be so prominent? (no one will be harmed, most likely, by believing his message of openness is/was sincere, etc.) Again, no worries either way, darling Ido. As a Pisces I agree 100% with all you say and appreciate your comments, but I am also trying out this new idea, giving it an open and fair shot, just to see what happens.... and invite you to come along if only for a few extended cleansing Omm Omm breaths. xooxx

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  3. It's easy to dismiss the Sixties head trips as being shallow or fake or insincere. And certainly, there is an element of... exploitation about the psychedelic movement. Jim Morrison DID do a quick robbery of Huxley, who in turn had done the same to Blake...

    But what is amazing is that the popular culture at that moment took a look into the mystic. It might not have been to Teresa of Avila's 7th Mansion or Leary's 8th Circuit of Consciousness, but it was a moment.

    And the Beatles were at the center of that moment. Looking at this from the era of Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj, it's almost unbelievable!

    I know a Catholic monk who says the Beatles got him interested in religion. I know a lawyer who credits the Beatles for a lifelong interest in Buddhism.

    Pink Floyd was recording their first album, "Piper at the Gates of Dawn," down the hall from the Beatles at Abbey Road Studios while "Sgt. Pepper" was being recorded. They stopped in and heard some of the Beatles new stuff and they say they were overjoyed. The Beatles had gone full-fledged psychedelic! Because they knew what that meant: The reach it would have.

    The Beatles were the gateway drug.

    And besides, few saints, gurus, or wise men have ever said it better than, "Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream."

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  4. Hey Erich! I'm late in coming to this post but happened to be running the YELLOW SUBMARINE blu-ray and it's still pretty wonderful. Beyond My childhood fascination with this film,the love and yes elements are strongly balanced with the utter terror of the Meanies and their minions. A period piece that seems to fit most of my periods.

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