Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Initiation - Reprise

I read the Bible a long time ago. Frankly it was hard for me, and not much I read applied to my life as I saw it then. However, I came across in a few places how dangerous it was to see God, just see Him, and I thought, Uh huh.

The Greeks had that attitude too, with some demonic divinities turning people to stone if the people who encountered them did not use some trick. The gods and goddesses were known to visit the planet for a variety of reasons, often because they were attracted to someone extraordinary among the mortals. Most gods and goddesses came to the planet in disguise. I would assume the gods and goddesses took on disguises not just to be incognito, but further because many mortals would be at least injured by the sight of Divinity, so unprepared to encounter a god they would be.

In the Eastern approaches to Divinity disciples are expected to enter a practice under guidance of a master. Through long training and disciplines of living and spiritual work they may actually arrive in the Divine Presence. In the mideast there are the Jewish and Muslim sacrificial practices and the dances of joyful sacrifice such as the Sufis do.

There are the sacrificial practices of so many spiritual walks.

All this points to the trouble that might come to someone unprepared, the trouble of an "accidental meeting". The most common practices of those desiring to "see God" found all across the world entail most probably a long period of rigorous living and perhaps also a sacrifice of something dear. Perhaps the sacrifice is as dear as one's own son. Or as Christians assert, the Son of God Himself, the source of salvation and protection for all believers who wish to approach God safely at some point.

Thus the accomplishment of spiritual freedom is quite like the freedom to play that musicians gain through all those hours of practice and discipline, like the freedom gained in any sufficiently complex endeavor we may contemplate. They say we require something like ten thousand hours of practice, and the only question may be how compressed the actual hours of practice are in the longer spans of living. Two hours a week? Two hours a day? More hours a day? Even then we may need God's protection on top of it all.

Or here is another meeting that can cause trouble. Let us say that a person is somehow essential to God's plan or otherwise extraordinarily worth saving from the Divine point of view. God has to come near to effect this work. It would be accidental on the human side if not on the Divine side. "See the face of God and die". Wow - here there is no preparation at all. This is something like a triage, a rough and ready intervention with the materials at hand to change one's life in a radical way. Even God is limited in this case, if you or I are unprepared. What would be the aftermath of this kind of encounter?

This poem takes place in that neighborhood.


When you touched me so,
Changed that single wild moment
To a timeless one,
I had to somehow
Accommodate your presence
In my aimless life.

Do you realize how close
Terror is to joy, despair?

Ever since, I'm tasked
With somehow measuring up
To you this moment.
But first I fell far,
Landed hard, had to pick up
All my damn marbles.

Written December 12, 2008
First published March 3, 2009
Major expansions of the introduction today.


  1. the same conversations arise over and over again the last few years. language has been key for me, language and poetry. last night in bed it rushed at me, a truth like a wind over a field of wheat: everything is translation, not just the word, but language itself. we think of translation as being between two languages or in terms of poetry, as translating an experience in a particular way that does not anchor it to the word but by some form of alchemy the words recreate an experience which reveals yet another truth, a truer truth behind it. everything is translation, even the experience itself. this came to me. i hold it loosely in my mind today somewhat understanding what was revelation last night. if everything is translation then there is a necessary distance between us, we small humans, and that other thing, that which we must be held away from and spoken too (more distance) with experience and language and through time (another crucial distance) otherwise we would see we are directly inside the crucible of god, a flare of magnesium, a tongue of instant fire, born and consumed, our individual identities almost imperceptible flickers.



    1. Thank you for sharing your vision. I rely on you in some strange way I don't quite understand. You are quite right if not quite using the best language for me. For example, time. We are literally on "translated" timing. We have two systems of process, the body mind and the cerebral mind. The first is a little slower than the second because the processes are physical/chemical (hormonal and immune system distribution) with farther distances to travel (the whole body) in the first case and electro-chemical (neurons) with only the brain to travel in the second case. Both processes are responsive if they are at all connected to the real world and they lag behind all that happens in measurable ways. We are in a perpetual game of catching up to what happens by fractions of a second. This is not usually much of a problem, though we actually do have contests to determine who is more tightly tied to reality. When someone is truly in synch we often think he or she is psychic. Most athletes are as good as they are in part because the lag times are shaved a bit in their fit with reality. Far from sharing a common time frame, we are all fuzzy with each other due to this constant lagging behind by slightly different rates that is our normal consciousness.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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