The Four Directions of Light

comments 28
Poetry

The limited
predictive intelligence
of nuance
can sometimes
permit the obfuscation
of the glaringly obvious.

Said another way:
forecasts
predicated on the data
typically accrued
during the life span
of a single human being
are known to be
astoundingly flawed.

This may explain
why Hafiz and Rumi
stare at me like a pair
of dispassionate fieldstones
on the verge of sprouting horns
when I wax extemporaneously
about the day’s events—
as if my mouth is moving,
but only strange runes
and soap bubbles
are coming out,
as if they’re waiting patiently
for what I’ve just described
to be translated through
three different languages
bridging the perceptual gaps
between nine different realms
before they can even attempt
to make sense of it,
by which point what I’ve said
has become the sound
of a chestnut dropped onto a car hood
in plain sight of a convenience store.

In attempts to compensate
for the pitiful audacity
of my conclusions,
I’ve found probing
the extremes can often help
reveal the trends
subtlety obscures.

Consider:
if you take your life up
into the hands
of your mind,
gently,
as if you were gathering
the folds of a great,
rainbow-colored tunic
and folding them into
a living rose,
and then you picture
how that beautiful life
might have transpired
had you been
the only human on the earth—
e.g. truly alone—
if you’re honest
in your entertainment
of such a position,
I think you’ll
soon see the reality
of what a “self” really is,
as I did in one such simulation,
wherein I witnessed
the inevitability of my
wandering destitute
across the landscape,
mumbling strange things
to myself and
my adopted family of pine cones,
pigeon feathers
and sea glass bits,
my form decorated
with a legion
of home-crafted
talismans and trinkets
designed to keep
the bad things away.

Eschewing nuance,
I was able to see:
my personal magnificence
was tawdry.

And:
we need each other
with sublime urgency.

I was stunned speechless
by the impact of this insight
upon my forehead,
which was like that of a chestnut
dropped quite precisely
out of a clear blue sky.
Overwhelmed with gratitude
for every last detail
of existence,
I lost all recourse to language
and hand signals,
at which time
Rumi and Hafiz simply nodded,
shrugging their shoulders
in acknowledgment of the obvious,
having just heard the sound
of several fine oxen debating
the benefits of a stomach
with four compartments,
one for each direction
of Light.

28 Comments

    • Thank you, Dennis! This piece began the evening as something half-baked. Work has been super busy and so I knew I wanted to shift gears and do something creative, but was struggling to find my way into it, then I saw this one half-written. Added a little Rumi and Hafiz. Works like a charm…! Thanks for your response… It is a blessing every time your presence appears here…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Uhh, no idea, Linda… Ha! 🙂

      I think about it sometimes, but rap usually doesn’t come to mind. I discovered Rumi at a conference probably fifteen years ago now where Gabrielle Young was performing. She was reciting Sufi poems to music, and it was absolutely enchanting. I’m afraid I might sound like I was reading stereo instructions… 🙂

      But seriously, great question. Would be intriguing to think about adding a dimension to the offering…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, Tiramit. It kind of all comes back to that, doesn’t it? Periodically, that feeling returns: I’m in a mindset again, and it’s got nothing to do with what’s really going on…! 🙂

      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It is an interesting thought experiment Michael, to wonder whether our self-entity forms in relation to non-human animals, or even insentient phenomena, should other humans not exist. I imagine it would over time, given a mysterious procreative lineage in which ‘I’ am superseded periodically. [We have to leave scientific understanding out of this, naturally enough!] I think the self, as self-considered, could be merely an evolutionary artefact, and cannot see that it would not similarly obtain in the world of the thought experiment, just as part of an overarching developmental story.

    I speculate that we humans amount to no more than an interim phase in the development of a universe which ultimately comes to know itself. The self, as reflectively (egoically) self-considered, as well as humans too, are mere staging posts along the way, perhaps representing the 10th. mile of a trillion mile journey. Best not take ourselves too seriously: write poetry, drink sherry, speculate wildly, learn to love and be compassionate, then hand the baton on to other worlds. Perhaps we are being observed right now, and laughed at too one suspects: those apes with their big ideas.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I enjoyed your speculation, Hariod, and speculate, too, that in such a trillion year march each mile is of equal and paramount depth and value.

      I don’t know whether a self would obtain in such a world as I have described, but I think I have found in my own experiences that such a world as I have described does obtain when the world is experienced through the lens of a “self”. I think such a world as I have described turns out to be the nature of the self– the true and harrowing content of the experience of being separate. We are ways out for one another, at least so teaches the various Courses I have a tendency to reference here. This is because from the experience of separation, we are perpetually in one another’s way– the evidence of why fear is rational, the evidence that there is something set against us, the evidence that we have to take care of ourselves as no one else will, and so on and so forth. The experience of other beings changes, as perception is healed, and so we are to one another conduits of realization.

      And in a very real sense, our wholeness is a distributive property of beings. It is spread across us all, and though we are each all of it in a way, there is also I think something missing when any one of us goes wandering into Separateville. When other beings are the enemy, or the obstacle, we are fractured within. When other beings are the evidence of grace and goodness, we are whole within– and without.

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you Michael; your responses are always of value to me, and I take note of them whether they appear here or on others’ sites – I was just this moment reading your thoughts over at Meg’s place. H ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • Likewise, my friend. Thank you for your continued presence here… It is one of the great joys of the day to connect with you.

          Michael

          Like

  2. Michael…you brought me to tears…they welled up from that place deep inside…the soul knows when it sees something that is TRUTH and it celebrates with powerful feeling!!!

    Yesterday was one of great struggle for me as I had numerous conflicted communications. It put a damper on most of my day, unfortunately. This morning I read your words and I am grateful for each and every one of those communications…and I realize that “I” put the damper on my day!! Today, I celebrate life…and connection! And I am grateful…Blessitude!! Thank you dear friend for your powerful teaching!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lorrie!

      I’m sorry to hear about the conflicted communications. I’ve had one or two bushels of those myself of late. Moments when the engine backfires, when circumstances stack up and block the horizon, when every interaction involves an awkward corner. We do the best we can in the moment, and our capacity to hold experience increases as we move through I think. I think presence accrues with interest… 🙂 Thank you for your kind words, and hopefully the tears were cleansing.

      Thank you for sharing. Blessings! Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh Michael ! Ahhhhhhh …so so beautiful this poetry …” As if you were gathering the folds of a great rainbow- colored tunic and folding them into a living rose ” …touches me so deep that the scent of that Rose reaches me from across the planet . . . Thank you ….p.s. I’m about to post and hope it’s alright to mention your site as a part of the story …love , meg

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Meg. I very much appreciate your reading of those phrases. Work has been pretty challenging this week, and it is hard some nights to get out of my head. That is the moment in writing this one where I felt a few layers melt and fall away… I have absolutely no issue with appearing in your writing. I am honored, my friend… Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes I get so taken with your phrases, that I dwell in a single spot for so long that I lose the thread overall. I am cinematically watching you wander the wide world with your talisman, listening to your strange mutterings. That is my chestnut falling – you words that transcend their more normal uses, creating a landscape for me to step into…
    (A tangent: With you as the only human, I see some of your trinkets and sea glass collectables perhaps coming from the birds: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31604026)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I loved that link, M. There is so much intelligence all around us… Except for the crocodiles. They’re just fully automated trash compactors… 🙂

      Thanks for your words, too. They are a gift… This type of seeing is the type of experience that shatters the void an isolated self would fashion for itself…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Perfect, Meredith! There was this one really lovely pine cone I liked to keep close… It was always broadcasting perfectly beautiful sentiments… I think it was a radio receiver tuned to the world seen through your eyes…

      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ellen. I’m quite humbled actually, to read what you have written– to realize how our efforts to communicate and share what lies within us can impact one another in an uplifting way. It is healing, in a way, and I thank you for sharing your experience…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

    • Thank you, John! You’re right, my friend, life ain’t really of this world!

      Well, what’s it of then?

      (Moment where the brain divides by zero)

      (Joyous expansion)

      Michael

      Like

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