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Friday, September 24, 2010

As The Geese Fly: Discussions of Mortality

(click on highlighted text and photograph.)

The title is from a poem I began as many as 5 years ago, maybe even more. The poem has changed over the years. However the idea or concept that made it appear did not change, it was refined to this point. It is representative of a theme I contemplate.

I tried to put all the images that affected me into the composition. The geese I understood to be a symbol of eternal return. I recognized an association with the 'Tao'.

Time is the medium in which we experience things in the face of certain mortality. This adds a Zen / Taoist capricious melancholy when it has wine added to it. Li Po 701-762 AD Tang Dynasty. At the link is a brief look at his life and delightful poetry.

I chose some rock songs that describe the human condition in a way that reflected reality and yet find hope.

As much as I like the Doors for their celebration of the human condition. Representing a unique way of thinking that appeared briefly and blossomed in the late 1960's and early 70's. The Doors expressed an irrepressible, lustful out of control way of engaging life in the moment through their music that was representative of the life around them . Many others at the time were baptized with the same spirit expressing it in their own particular way.

But 40 years hence my priority is to be left the fuck alone. The power is there, avoid the power. You are either free or not free. Because this is what we're dealing with. A great song by Robin Trower on this horrid condition of life

A wise man in the bible had these words of advice:

"saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."
"Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity."

The Preacher comes to terms with his existence in the book of Ecclesiastes. This is similar to the literature in the book of Job.

Both men, the Preacher and the writer of Job attempted to take on some way of understanding life. While completely different in content and approach, both old testament books speak directly to the topic of how to relate to being alive without delving in a unrealistic supernatural state of relating to what is in front of his eyes. That way of thinking just complicates the process of dying. Ain't that right Ma?

it's inevitable. All you can do is play the game the best you can and try not to worry about it.

In Krishna's well known dialogue with Arjuna in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita the heart of the human condition is explained. "The soul that with a strong and constant calm Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently, Lives in the life undying! That which is Can never cease to be; that which is not Will not exist. To see this truth of both Is theirs who part essence from accident, Substance from shadow. Indestructible, Learn thou! the Life is, spreading life through all; It cannot anywhere, by any means, Be anywise diminished, stayed, or changed. But for these fleeting frames which it informs With spirit deathless, endless, infinite, They perish. Let them perish, Prince! and fight!" Krishna speaking to Arjuna who is questioning the value of fighting if it results in killing members of his own family. Krishna's response is not the usual response a westerner hears to such a situation.

When you take it all into account, all human experience we are victim of the fury who are always trying to break on through to the other side.

This goes to underscore the underlying human predicament: "What do you do about dying while you're alive?"

Photography and poem by David H. Roche Copyright 2010

The only image that is mine is the initial photograph.

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A practitioner of the art of living with the intent of learning how to die without fear.