“Got up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head… someone spoke and I fell into a dream.” Lennon & McCartney
In the story Starbook, by Ben Okri, a maiden from a tribe of artists falls in love with a dying prince. She has never met him, only dreamt of and so made a wooden sculputure of him. She becomes obsessed with her image of this prince, and dreams each night that he comes to her, stares at her mutely, and eventually goes away again. Again and again she waits for him to speak, to say anything to her in order to know who he is. Yet he can only stare. Eventually,
“the maiden understood the stare of the prince. He was looking at her with complete love, complete adoration, a love without beginning or end, a love greater than humanity, a pure love; but it was a love without knowledge, without understanding. It was a love without mystery. A love too pure for a creator. For it was a love without life, without suffering, without tears, without blood, without pain, without history. It was a love without time, without a story, without a journey, without complications. …In fact, it was a love that did not know itself, that had not grown, had not evolved, had not lost its way, had not stumbled and dwelt in the dark.
It was a love that did not know what it was like to live without love, how hellish, barren, deadly, dry, forlorn, how miserable, cold, lonely, empty, useless, bitter, agonising, tormenting, twisted and how ugly it was to be and live without love.
It was a love that did not know the ecstasy of one who finally comes to know, after all the darkness, what it really means to love, to have love in the heart.”
Sometimes we tend to fantasize about love, to attach a kind of idealistic and other-worldly importance to the concept “Love” which I think is what Ben Okri is warning us against in his story. We throw that word around so often that it is in danger of losing its real meaning. We use slogans like “Be love” and “I am love, you are love” “love is all you need” “love is the only thing which is real,” etc….. but honestly, dear Readers, who of us FULLY understands and knows what love is?
I so appreciate Okri’s passage about the prince who loved the maiden purely and without any knowledge of what love is, without having ever experienced the reality of love from a human perspective. When we come down from our lofty and often careless expressions of it, and feel the real, raw, and often excruciating pain of love from within these bodies, then the word ‘Love’ takes on a very different tone. Okri expresses it so aptly when he compares it with the experience of living without it: how hellish, barren, tormenting and ugly it is to live without love.
And, how hellish and tormenting it can also be to live with love’s pain within the course of a day. I want us to stop sugar-coating all of this feel-good lovey-dovey stuff, and get real about our lives. I, along with many others, can easily fall prey to the ‘just don’t think about anything bad and it refuses to exist’ strategy. Of course I don’t want to look at ugliness and horrors and bad news about what governments are doing to people around the world, to name just one small example. And normally I don’t, I simply do not let that kind of ugliness and horror into my consciousness. But sometimes it comes knocking anyway. Case in point: this morning.
Today my husband and I had planned a bus trip up to a city north of here, a water-town called Holbæk. It is Autumn Holidays week here in Denmark, so all the schools have a week off. It was a humble day trip to shop and do something a little special. All fine, so far. But. At half past 8 o’clock this morning, as I was sipping my morning Earl Grey and attempting to wake up before we got out the door and over to the busstop, my husband decided that I needed to hear yet one more news item about the latest evil wrought upon the American citizenry by Obama, that acolyte of Hitler. Ignoring my pleas and groans and even threats to not join him for our outing if he didn’t stop, he prattled on regardless of my feelings in his rant about the evils of the president and how he is the worst ever, far worse than Mitt Romney, for example, and ranking right up there with the worst fascist dictators the world has ever known. All this while I was attempting to eat my little breakfast and acknowledge a new day of my life! I suppose it is easy to guess how my day progressed after that non-auspicious start. I did accompany him to Holbæk, shopped for our groceries and sundry items, then took a walk along the harbor, which goes out to a fjord and is quite lovely. Yet I fought my own feelings all day long: fear, anxiety, foreboding, anger, frustration, more anger, helplessness. I told myself to focus on love, and peace, and forgiveness. I brought in white light. I sat with my anger and sorrow at the injustices and humiliations of the weak against the powerful darkness. I went through the wringer today, folks.
Of course I forgave my husband for his foolishness and insistence upon thrusting ugliness from the outer world upon my morning. But the damage had been done. And isn’t that really how it is with us humans? We unwittingly, for whatever reasons we can justify in the moment, hurt each other. As Okri writes, a love without life, without suffering, without tears, without blood, without pain, without history. It was a love without time, without a story, without a journey, without complications. …In fact, it was a love that did not know itself, that had not grown, had not evolved, had not lost its way, had not stumbled and dwelt in the dark. This kind of love is not one grounded in experience or the nitty-gritty of living. Let us acknowledge the labyrinth of love’s intricacies and strive to understand as deeply as possible that our questing for human evolution involves suffering, it is messy, it is painful, and sometimes dark and lonely. I read blogs which are so focused on ascension to higher levels of consciousness, and some saying all the time that the Great Moment is nearly Upon Us! When we will all be somehow magically saved, lifted into the higher realms, far away from all this pain and suffering, evil and darkness. When that magic day comes, nobody will ever suffer again, my friends, no! It will be a new Earth, a new Jerusalem, we will have reached some plateau of salvation and all the evildoers will be whisked away into some dark moon planet somewhere and dealt with accordingly. Well that is all well and good enough, but frankly, I don’t think so. I am not trying to be cynical nor skeptical, simply practical. Love isn’t some magic carpet ride to the Pleiades, it just isn’t. (well, okay I admit I don’t know if it is or not…. ) But. If we humans really want to make a better world, a more loving, just and free society of humankind, well then we have to accept that we are all learning how to do it one day, one heartbreak, one mistake at a time.
Will Obama receive his just desserts for signing horrific laws into being which utterly destroy any last vestiges of constitutional rights for Americans? Will Mitt Romney rot in hell for being an utter idiotic fool and puppet for much more darkly intelligent beings than himself? Nobody really knows. Our ideas of justice are a bit, well, in the toilet about now. Face it, we have got a real mess on our hands in the year 2012. Yes, focus on the Light! Absolutely work to bring more light and love to this dark world we are living in. It’s great that the Sun keeps blasting us all with intense rays of electro-magnetism, I say Bring it On! We Need It NOW. Please, send those bloody bastards to the dark moon to rot for eternity, they more than deserve it! Let the prisoners of conscience go free, jail the Wall Street criminals and all those corrupt politicians and lawyers and judges, and follow the lead of Iceland, the most sane society on the planet at the moment. They fired their government, said No Way are we going to pay for your greed and evildoing, and had a revolution. If Iceland can do it, well…..
It has been a long and wearisome day, dear Readers. I love you all, tonight from dark Denmark. Thanks for keeping your lights burning.
- “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” (bloggingonthebrightside.wordpress.com)