Strange stars appear in our skies

In Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen sings, “At the end of every hard-earned day / people find some reason to believe.” What’s your reason to believe?

I went back to the song itself, to digest the images he has conjured up for us:

  • A man stands on out Highway 31, poking at a dead dog with a stick, as if hoping it will get up and run.
  • A woman loves a man. One day he leaves her. She waits every day at the end of a dirt road, for him to come back.
  • A baby is baptised in the river, and his sin is washed away.
  • An old man dies in a shack, and his body is prayed over in a churchyard.
  • A groom waits by a river for his bride but she doesn’t arrive. The congregation leaves, the sun sets and the groom continues to wait, watching the river rushing by.

So this is about how we are transfixed by love, and continue to love when there is no reason to hope. This is about our sense, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that there is more than there appears to be; that the obvious and the logical need not apply. We assume the baby comes from another place, bringing with it a burden of some kind – whether of sin or ‘clouds of glory’. We assume that the old man has gone to another place, become something else, and therefore it is worth praying for him. The groom senses that in another place – another reality – his bride did arrive – and in yet another reality, might still. The man, puzzled by the dead dog and his inability to will (or poke) it back to life, has been ‘blurred’, momentarily, by a version of reality in which dead dogs do run and death has a different meaning.

And all this comes down to all things being possible, and the sensing of this by some people, even though it makes no sense. It seems to me that reality is a straightjacket; something we have to sew ourselves into, to be able to cope. Most people never feel the straightjacket, but some do – maybe those with a fractionally higher tolerance for uncertainty.

Suffering – because reality, when you do begin to sense it, hurts. It hurts so much. Jung wrote something about the process of individuation which struck a chord with me:

The words “many are called, but few are chosen” are singularly appropriate here, for the development of personality from the germ-state to full consciousness is at once a charisma and a curse, because its first fruit is the conscious and unavoidable segregation of the single individual from the undifferentiated and unconscious herd. This means isolation, and there is no more comforting word for it. Neither family nor society nor position can save him from this fate, nor yet the most successful adaptation to his environment, however smoothly he fits in. The development of personality is a favour that must be paid for dearly. But the people who talk most loudly about developing their personalities are the very ones who are least mindful of the results, which are such to frighten away all weaker spirits.”

I read something in a stranger’s blog yesterday about people who live in two worlds at once. I considered that carefully: it seemed almost right, but too simple, not quite fuzzy enough round the edges. As a child, and then a teenager, I knew that there was another world. It wasn’t a long way away, it wasn’t Up In Heaven – it was here, just not accessible. It was next door. My feeling was of standing next to a threshold: I only had to take one step to the left and I would have crossed the border. I needed to take that step, but I couldn’t work out how. I missed that world – felt a kind of homesickness for it.

I even wrote a poem, all those years ago. Reading that lady’s blog recalled it to me, but I assumed it was lost. I was wondering if I might be able to ‘reconstitute’ it from the few lines I could remember. But no need – here it is. I found it:

WE LIVE ON THE BORDERS

We live on the borders, some of us, / Between the other world and this. / Further out than all of you, / Still we can only peer at distant hills, / Catching whispers in the wind sometimes, / Channelling darkness drifting through, / Weaving the two. Strange stars appear in our skies.

We’d give our breath to breathe that other air, / And sanity to hear the singing truly – / For it is joy and madness both, to be so close / To all that’s dark and dreaming, and yet to have / No hope of homecoming.

Reading back over all the airy-fairy, grasping-at-thistledown stuff in this post I’m not sure it’s going to make sense to anybody. When you attempt to cross, or even approach, the boundary between This and Other, words bleach out; they lose their relevancy. But words are our shield against that Silence, and for the moment we do need that shield. I can only say – that’s what keeps me going. It’s not so much a reason to believe as a sense that I need to keep to my own internal faith however much it costs me. I must keep the channel open so that the music – and the darkness – can drift through.

8 thoughts on “Strange stars appear in our skies

  1. Hi I dont think its airy fairy at all. I think of it like when dogs can hear sounds we cant, and birds can see colours we cant. In the same way the ‘other world’ is right here, we just dont have the acuity of senses to perceive it with. x

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  2. I liked your turn of phrase: “reality is a straitjacket”. Quite accurate in some way, I’d say! And the lengths to which we go in order to escape said straitjacket are equally intense.

    Also, the quote from Jung reminds me of a thought I had the other day but forgot to note down, and here it is for your pleasure: have you noticed that once you are struck by a realisation, it’s incredibly difficult to ‘unrealise’ it? What is that all about??? (example: once you become aware a person uses a certain phrase all the time, how do you ‘stop’ noticing?)

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    1. Hmm… if the something you’ve realised is something that irritates or bewilders you, you’ll notice more and more and more until you notice nothing else. I suppose you’d need to choose – confront the source, somehow rise above it or remove yourself from it. I’d always remove myself. But I’ve found it is possible to realise something really important – meaning of life stuff, even – and nevertheless manage to – if not exactly ‘forget’ it – lose it temporarily in a confusion of other ideas. I think maybe the thing you realised comes back to stay, finally, when you’ve become capable of integrating it or making use of it. Some realisations maybe need to come back lifetime after lifetime. Oh, by the way, thank you for following. Rosie 🙂

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      1. Very true! It just makes me think that maybe when humans first became aware of their consciousness (or sense of self? what would we call it???) they were unable to go back, as it’s difficult to ‘unlearn’ something that influences behaviour so radically!

        My pleasure! Thank you for the interesting blog post! (And the follow back! 🙂 )

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I missed this one the first time around, Rosie (find it hard to pick up every day, yet wish I could) but there it was waiting for me, and conveying just what you were telling me in your comment yesterday.

    I’ve watched Will slip between these worlds for many years now – missed him when he leaves this one and becomes unreachable, feared for him when he strays too far in there and struggles to return and pitied him when he’s back here and wading through the mire of our heavy physical planet, so that every step is such great effort.

    He tried, once, as a teenager, to take me there, but suddenly stopped and shook his head sadly.
    “I forgot. You won’t be able to go there. And I can’t tell you about it because there are no words.”
    He looked so crestfallen.

    And so we continue to meet briefly – via electronic devices only for now – and there are moments of connection when he finds a few words that will help me to see, or I find an article or an idea which will show him I partly understand. The best I can do is to tell him I believe in his otherworld, that there are others like him who visit it too and that maybe, if I keep trying, I’ll be able to raise my own vibration sufficiently to catch the odd rare glimpse.

    That hope keeps me going, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan

      I’m glad you found that post – when I was ‘talking’ to you before, it was that poem, about living on the borders, that I was trying to think of – but I couldn’t remember where I’d ‘put’ it. I miss out on posts too – you’d need to be reading all day to keep up with everything every one of your followed bloggers wrote. I find it a bit easier now I’ve got the Kindle Fire and can carry it around with me.

      Poor Will. It is a privilege, but it is a curse. Everything has a cost. I am most of the way through your eBook/his thoughts by the way. I did hope to finish them last night but it got to 1 am and I thought – maybe I ought to save some till tomorrow!

      He is very interesting. I couldn’t argue with anything he says – in parts, he got so clever he lost me – I hadn’t realised there was such a thing as a fourth dimension, ie that mathematicians would take seriously, and couldn’t get my head round all the diagrams in Wikipedia! Maybe that is the dimension we go to between lives – it ties in with the feeling of time not really existing, everything existing around one simultaneously. Being above time, for a while.

      I hope you will be able to continue your friendship with William, as it seems to be to your mutual benefit – and that he will be able to pass on to you more of his thoughts in the future. All power to him that he is trying to communicate the uncommunicable (if there is such a word) and to you, that you are willing to listen to him. Rosie

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