26 September 2013

Taoist Tai Chi ~ 7

The Pleasure of Fishes
In my Taoist Tai Chi Larry’s the teacher I gravitated to. I was ready; he appeared; it demonstrates my favorite teaching cliché.
Inside my grief I flinch and reach for a name. Pam? No, I’ve never been sure, it’s the same as the woman’s who cuts my hair, but now, behind fashionable lenses, blue smiling pretty eyes and crowsfeet, and it's not the same woman. She’s smiling in a place I’d’ve never dreamt to bump into her.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you.
“Hey,” I say softly. I reach for a little grace and say, “Well I guess you must’ve cut Larry’s hair?”
Hmmm... I cut his hair that morning.
Yes, the day he….
I’m confused and words ballooning in my brain will not speak their way out. What is this woman’s name! My embarrassment sloshes beside my sadness beside my isolation holding back my black dog. I know this woman and I can not recall her name?
How dyou know him?
“We do, did, Taoist Tai Chi together. I practice, practiced with him; he’s a terrific teacher.” I bounce to and fro in present and past.
Jackie, yes, that’s it, may’ve been the last person to touch his hair…how odd. Cutting hair, just then, seems intimate…. She’d’ve been sure to sense the Tao and to know his ease and spirit within. Jackie’s eyes look in then down. I need more, quickly now it’s a gift.
Sadness flows out in my words,
“Years ago my brother died, suddenly, very quickly, and… and we were shocked; knocked out. His death left a hole. Larry’d filled it. I didn’t know it!” I dissolve and slump shoulders and relax in release. Blue and brown eyes look into one another and Jackie’s palm touches my arm, and we sigh our sadness in the emptiness I offer up in the moment while we stroll to cars. She hadn’t expected that.
Well… See ya’ later.
Is it Pam? Gosh, I can’t recall! We part.
Larry appeared and I learned. I watched the Tao play in his Tai Chi. I imitated practicing his play. We played in momentary movement micro-bits together through time. We were not close in any extended way; we seemed to meet in practice and play of Taoist Tai Chi. It was just bits, something in the open lean easy manner, eyes and wit pointed at me, smiling into me, he invites me into smiling my laughing out loud. Not many have that gift; I look serious and sour.
“Once I tended bar on Saturday mornings,” he said to the mostly male players. “I called it sour hour.”
 “Let’s see if he takes the corner,” to gathered players as I entered late and last. “He did,” he exclaims laughing out loud, all in release and relief. At me, at him, at all of us, with all of us, for all of us who fear the corner. Really, there's nothing to fear at all.
“Lower your elbows.”
“Don’t work to hard.”
“Relax your shoulders.”
Larry appeared. I was ready.
No, not many like Larry Coleman.

17 September 2013

Esse est Percipi

I witnessed the aftermath of a head-on collision, a car with an overpass buttress. The car & driver were in flame. I couldn't take my eyes from inside deep orange flames framed by jet-black smoke; heat pulsed through my open window, wrapped around my face. Miley Cyrus’ MTV spectacle, flacked by media enablers, reminded me of this. Miley is, esse est percipi; she behaves as if she exists only if she’s perceived. Camille Paglia writes Miley’s exhibition was done so poorly, “She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin.” Sounds Episcopalian to me.
Miley Cyrus is educated by and manipulates commercial mass media. She makes big money; that’s the culture she cares about. I say her exhibition was cold, crass and calculating, to say nothing of visually ugly. She seems spiritually empty.
Camille Paglia’s diffuse and technology saturated era observationbe sure to read the review, is spot-on. There is no high-culture artistic establishment now. It's just pandering cash-is-king carnival midway. “High culture” is market culture driving people, via clicks, into balkanized big-data social, political, cultural, medical, scientific, economic and spiritual data defined percentage numbers. American market culture seeks affirmation via desire and impulse to consume stuff.
In much of American religious culture there’s focused homogenous exclusivity; I think the Pharisees were focused; they knew their mission. I think of religion as conscientious truth seeking about ultimate sources of meaning and value. Money is just one tool. It’s not the source of meaning and value; what we do for it and with it has the potential to transform into one embodiment of value. Truth seeking for ultimate sources of meaning and value is a crucial dimension for humanity’s well being and fulfillment. Market culture devalues spirituality religious well being and human fulfillment; it’s an unintended consequence of unconscious thoughtlessness; it’s a “negative externality.” It’s our market's unknown and unidentified carbon footprint. There’s no cost for reverence so to use our resources so that no one... no one… suffers from our abuse of our resources. Our result is consumptive market culture.
Paglia’s criticism applies to neo-seekers trying on mainstream western religious Christian traditions too. The pen and paper was the original hand held device. The printing press came along. Young adults, nurtured with small-screen AV on demand links, rarely have 1st person contact with ancient western european AV traditions based upon the old, old, observant religious practices. The result is a naïve, cringe inducing, flat-footed sensibility. Living into cultivated practice, practice, practice of religious community growing out of the white western European campus-dei tradition is distant. It’s this ancient western European observant religious campus-dei tradition that’s rebellious; it confers real value; it’s hot, Miley’s not.