The Koan of Love

Five fifty PM.

Funny how I realized how much I’ve lost my faith in Christ’s new commandment. Should I go to church to pick Pastor’s brain, or would this do any good at all? I think I just haven’t been hearing him during his sermons the last few times. Like King Midas, I’ve been given donkey’s ears for my deafness to spiritual things. If I did pick his mind, then I’d be misguided because the meaning of religion is not located in the head. It resides in the heart or the soul; anywhere but the reason, logic, or whatever it’s called. Christian love is a simple thing yet unreachable by logical analysis, as Dan has already told me. No amount of reasoning, however much and with what quality, can arrive at a conclusion like Christian love. I guess it’s something you find in your heart… or you don’t. Like the heart of the Grinch, maybe it can grow three sizes bigger. But it can’t be helped along by reason. To a rational mind, it’s the deepest mystery, a baffling phenomenon, and I’m like Mr Spock trying to figure it out— what can’t be figured about. Instead it’s to me what a zen koan is to a Buddhist beginner. Total nonsense. Perhaps if I quit making sense…?

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After the Rain

Quarter of seven.

I saw nothing unusual on my daily trip to market, but in the west there was a passenger jet slowly dissolving in the clouds as I watched from the sidewalk. I kind of wish I could be on a Concorde headed for a place in Europe. I know it’s not realistic. Out on River Road I hear a car drag racing; some maniac driver tempting fate… I just got off the phone with DHS about my food stamps: the people are very reasonable to talk with, but the letters they “generate” tend to be rather menacing and intimidating. The very word “reasonable” makes me want to digress on a little discussion, if it works out that way. I just wonder how reason obtains its quality of humaneness as opposed to being cold calculation. For sure, the French philosophes were more than just robots, purely technical people. Those like Voltaire had warmth and humanity as well as a wicked sense of humor. It seems to me that the rationality of the Enlightenment had as much to do with the heart as the head. It took the math and science of the last century to divest reason of its meaningfulness.

Quarter of eight.

It’s another overcast morning. My dog waits patiently for breakfast time. The neighborhood crows make the accustomed noises in their own language. We made it through the storm. A song by John Coltrane enters my head, called “After the Rain.” The version I heard was recorded by Mark Egan with Steve Khan and Danny Gottlieb for the disc Beyond Words. It is absolutely beautiful.

Sensitivity

Quarter of five. It’s very warm in the house, making it hard to breathe and concentrate on anything, and yet I read a bit more of The Catcher in the Rye. My reading investigations are a mode of self analysis. I’m trying to solve a problem and satisfy my curiosity about what went wrong with my life after my sophomore year in college. Losing my virginity was extremely traumatic at age 20, an event I never did recover from. While I was in love, she used me like a weekend liaison, treated it so casually. I learned that I cannot live that way. The second experience I had with a woman was a mistake because I didn’t love her at all, didn’t allow myself to. I should have let well enough alone. A bug in my ear said it was important to have a relationship. Many years later I read in a self help book that it’s okay to live without romance. I think I hung out with too many guys who made a macho thing out of dating. As if you weren’t a man if you didn’t prove it to everyone. I always thought it was silly, and mostly I avoided entanglements. Some people get married before they ever go to bed together. Maybe this is better, except for legal complications if the marriage doesn’t work out. I don’t feel very sexy anymore, fortunately. After I quit drinking it all went away— except for the mess-up with Sheryl. Finally I’m getting over that trauma as well. I probably will never like therapists again since my bad experience. So I undertake my own psychoanalysis to try to heal myself. The Salinger book was influential for me the year I was hurt in love. Funny how Holden criticizes the world as being phony, as I once did when I was in high school and young and sensitive. I wonder if there’s truth in that perception? How much of human life is purely artificial and fictive, just a matter of conformity to social constructs and conventions? Conversely, how much of life is authentic and genuine? When we are young, perhaps the artifice is easier to spot. As adults, seeing the truth is reserved for the sensitive people who remember, especially writers, musicians, and other artists.

An Old Yes Album

Quarter of midnight 🕛. Slept for four hours. Aesop is giving me the eye 👁. He probably wants to go outside, but I’m putting him off for a while. With the pressure off me a little, the terrible schizophrenic thoughts have died down. I had been thinking that doomsday was near, my own demise imminent. I don’t feel very creative with words right now. I was validated for my music today, and that’s what I’m inclined to keep doing. Playing music with someone else who is good feels a lot better than one hand tapping a smartphone. For a bass player, drummers are the best to jam with…

Accomplishing something today was worth a little pain of anxiety. Of course the world didn’t come to an end. Fear is unreasoning, but the heart says stick it out, and the original word for courage also means heart ❤️. It seems to me the heart is more rational than the mind. When the mind fails me, I ignore it and listen to my heartbeat. If the heart alone did the thinking, good things would get done. It would be our first step toward a better way of living. “As long as we see there’s only us who can change it, only us to rearrange it at the start of a new kind of day.” “Soon we’ll be as he proclaimed in a new way of living. Take the things you need in life but remember the giving.” Both of these songs are on Time and a Word, one of my favorite Yes albums. Listen to it to be eternally young!