It seems a little early in the morning for Thomas Tallis…
(We are rifling through my CD collection. My inner Monkey seems far more ‘precious’ and intellectual than me. I’m not at all sure I like him.)
I’ve been reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer – a New York Times Best Seller in 2007.
You always get them late…
I am thinking this is going to be…
…a really useful book, mostly because it’s in such brutally plain English it’s almost scary. I read a lot of stuff about Zen back in… oh, who knows? Particularly the splendidly named Christmas Humphreys, though he wasn’t much help. I recall a lot of stuff about monkey-mind, fingers pointing at the moon; bullocks, or maybe oxen, pulling carts; monks carrying beautiful ladies across raging rivers but scarcely noticing; people who went around saying “Mu” a lot; people who somehow ‘saw’ flowers in a way that lonely housewives from Kent could not ‘see’ flowers, and the Sound of One Hand Clapping. Now what’s that all about? That One Hand thing, it’s bothered me ever since.
But then of course, since it’s a Koan, it’s meant to bother you. It’s meant to explode your mind into some higher consciousness…
Why hasn’t it, then?
Maybe some Jackson Browne? Blast from the past? That rather lovely picture of him emerging from the river – or possibly just the local swimming pool. Kate used to like him, didn’t she? She had that polaroid photo of the two of them together blu-tacked up on her notice board at work. Taken at some concert in London. Treasuring it into her old age. She looked so young then, with that sixties hairdo and all the kohl eye-liner…
Who exactly are you telling to shut up? I am not you, remember? I am a figment, a chimera, an ostrobogulation… and yet I am you – whatever you might actually be – attempting to control the outside world, manufacturing an illusion that it’s not as real and random as it truly is…
Good one for WordsWithFriends. Daisy’ll never have heard of that one.
That’s because it doesn’t exist, you…Monkey!
Look it up.
It doesn’t… Good God, there is such a word as ostrobogulation.
Slightly risqué, indecent, bizarre, interesting, unusual..
Why would there even need to be such a word?
I don’t think I ever ‘got religion’ though Ex informed everyone I had. That was around the time I left him, and shortly after the time of reading Christmas Humphreys.
You can see how he conflated the two concepts. And it would have made sense of it for him – exchanging his Godlike self for another.
If only I could have got religion, life would have been so much simpler. How very much I would have liked to be sure that Jesus would save me if only I was good…
…as in Norman Greenbaum: Prepare yourself you know it’s a must / Gotta have a friend in Jesus / So you know that when you die / He’s gonna recommend you to the spirit in the sky…
You’re even heckling me with forward-slashes now?
… but I could never narrow myself down to that.
I remember being temporarily impressed by something a visiting Methodist preacher said, about all the leaves, and all the tiny veins on the leaves, and… because where else did all this come from, if there wasn’t a Great Designer?
Ah, the old Argument From Design; but leaves-and-such – an intellectual argument, and not satisfying. And you didn’t know about evolution then. Not that it negates evolution. Actually, if I was God I’d use evolution because after all I’d have invented evolution. So elegant, so subtle, so classy…
Actually, how am going to think if I can’t talk to myself? It is possible to reason at all without words?
Is that the same Monkey, or another Monkey?
Many Monkeys. Mind full of Monkeys…
Even as a child, leaves, planets, the vast unfathomable reaches of space… none of that was enough. What was enough was the harum-scarum flight It took me on one stormy afternoon, over fields and walls and fences, to a field with one great tree in it. Enough was when It told me that It loved me and wanted me back. Nothing else, but that stormy day, the pink light, the thunder and the lightning flashes, the falling of raindrops on laurel leaves…
Nothing else but that solitary, magical, childhood flight has been enough.
You’re the colour of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You’re the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain
You’re the hidden cost and the thing that’s lost
In everything I do… *
*Sky Blue and Black: Jackson Browne