Semar Sang Pamomong

 

SEMAR The Goodness Adviser

A wayang kulit puppet theatre performed at the New Zealand School of Music (Victoria University campus) on 21st June 2014 to celebrate 40 years of Gamelan in New Zealand, and the 70th year of Jack Body, who has been such a driving force and inspiration behind it.

SEMAR The Goodness Adviser (Semar Sang Pamomong)

Budi S Putra

Poem (modified) Tachibana Akemi

 

Musical introduction

(Narration)

Sang Hyang Tunggal, king of the heavens, surveys the three worlds. He contemplates the earthly realm, and observes a constant stream of troubles and difficulty.

 

The lesser gods – dewa and dewi, go about their tasks in their inimitable way, and sometimes Sang Hyang Tunggal sighs to himself about the difficulties and disasters that they find themselves in, and how their foolishness brings trouble to all places and beings.

 

He can, without any doubt, see that they need nurturing guidance that will help them find the peace in themselves and do the best for this realm. So thus, he meditates and receives a miraculous egg containing three descendants for his pantheon of gods: his sons Sang Hyang Antaga, Sang Hyang Ismaya and Sang Hyang Manikmaya.

 

Although they have not yet appeared in the world their destiny has been foretold. They will be wise and powerful leaders, and advisor to gods, kings and men alike. They will skilfully guide the inhabitants of the three worlds, and bring peace and prosperity to all. It is an unalterable destiny which they must share and equally bear.

 

    Two of the gods, Antaga and Ismaya, argue about who will rule the kingdom of heaven, Njonggring Salaka. The debate gets increasingly hot, and eventually they finally decide to compete with magic to determine who is most worthy and entitled to become the king of the gods.

 

The battle causes concern for their grandfathers, both Sang Hyang Wenang, who presides over nature, and Sang Hyang Rekatama, who presides over the ocean. The battle of their two grandchildren has had many devastating consequences including damaging the mountains, forests and oceans, as well as other creatures both in their heavenly kingdoms and on the earth.

 

Their father is displeased by their abysmal efforts, and sets them the task of swallowing the Himalaya Mountains to show that they are worthy of ruling over the three worlds.

 

Both want this, and show off their magic, each transforming themselves into a huge giant and scrambling to take hold of a Himalayan mountain, hoping to be able to swallow it.

 

Again, neither of them is the winner, as neither of them are able to swallow the mountains. Eventually Antaga and Ismaya are transformed into the distorted and disfigured Semar and Togog , and their impatience is been replaced by the wisdom that comes from life experience.

Togog and Semar regret their bad behaviour which has resulted in their unfortunate transformation, and lose their right to live in their heavenly kingdom. However, they both realise that they were very stupid, but that there is wisdom to be found in what has happened, and that the mandate given by Sang Hyang Tunggal to be an adviser for goodness in the world is a noble task. Both finally agree to give thanks and to relax and entertain themselves with singing, dancing and humour.

 

(1) – Dream music

 

Miracle egg with two or three Gunungan

Sang Hyang Tunggal (SHT) and two wives walking slowly across screen from right to left

SHT stops on right and wives on the left with the miracle egg in the middle

 

Sang Hyang Tunggal: (almost at the end of Dream music)  Hong Wilaheng awi genam mastu, Oh my lord, my humble obesciences…

The three worlds are under duress and at risk from the constant trouble strife. The inhabitants of these worlds are lacking in the wisdom that will help them to live their lives. All things suffer because of this. Without  self-knowledge, everybody in these worlds will succumb to misfortune and the whole of the three worlds will face chaos and endless trouble.

 

(2) Hatching music

 

It is my most earnest desire that they have a Pamomong – a good and kindly adviser who will embody and show the necessary wisdom required to exist  peacefully in the world. I humbly desire to bring forth from this egg a powerful son who will become a great king and ruler of the three worlds.

 

The three puppets move forward and touch the egg, then disappear (move      backwards towards the light)

 

Rise in volume and intensity with loud bit for egg breaking open.

 

The egg hatches and three gallant and handsome dewa emerge. They look around and then shoot-off in every direction, exploring the world around them before coming together as a group.

Three dewa walking left and right

Gunungan movements – indicate that something is happening

Three dewa together on the left of the screen, and SHT on the right

 

(3) Mysterious interlude

 

SHT: My sons, born of the womb of the universe. You are of divine origin. Great things are foreseen in you. You will bear a great responsibility and face a great many challenges. Your influence will continue without being limited by space or time.

 

One of you majestic dewas is destined to become the king of the three worlds, but which of you it is cannot be known. So it is that you must prepare yourselves, for it may be any one of you…

 

(4) Energetic interlude

 

Antaga moves to follow Sang Hyang Tunggal, but Ismaya forcefully stops him. Agitated conversation.

 

Ismaya:Hey Antaga – hold your horses there ! Don’t assume that it will be you who is chosen to be the new king. There are others who might be better suited to the role. You need to have intelligence to know all that can be known and the wisdom of of the ages. Look – you’ve still got bits of egg-shell stuck to you, and yet you want to rule the universe. I, however, have all of the requisite qualities.

Antaga:No way bro ! I’m way more eligible than you – I was made from the firm shell of the egg, and you were only made from the slimy white part – just in case you hadn’t noticed.

Ismaya:You’re just made of crappy old egg shells – I’m made from the life-giving and nutritious white – the source of biological life !

Manikmaya:Neither of you should be king – you’re both fools. I wouldn’t even want you to be in charge of sorting out the recycling before it is put out in the morning. I’m not interested in this competitive nonsense – no good will come of it. I will leave to your own ends…Manikmaya turns and leaves

 

 

Antaga:It should be me !

 

Ismaya:Me !

 

Members of the gamelan all shouting me ! canon – come shambling rabble

 

(5) Battle music

 

First battle – (Antaga and Ismaya)

 

Forests are destroyed, animals running etcetera

 

SHT appears before them and intervenes, separating them, telling them that:

 

(Narration – in Soft ‘Outro’ part of battle music)

SHT: Battle and warfare hasn’t achieved anything at all – it has only brought harm to the earth and all who dwell in her realm. Look at you both – haggard and worn out from your efforts. Perhaps I should have provided you with some guidance to bring about a clear result. I will set a task for you – whichever of you is able to swallow the Himalayas in one gulp, will be crowned King of the gods of the Suralaya heaven.

 

SHT turns and leaves

 

(6) Second battle music

 

Antaga and Ismaya become Semar and Togog. They move backwards towards each other, bump into each other (bum to bum), and then turn to face each other. (This is the cue for Jasons piece).

 

(7) Clown music

 

(8) Guitar and violin for Semar and Togog dialogue

 

Semar: Hey Togog – We wore ourselves out fighting – for what ! Look at what we have become ! – that was pretty dumb wasn’t it. Nothing was gained – and we lost our good looks – well I lost mine – you seem to have been improved by our transformation. Now we are equals ! Oh well – one shouldn’t dwell in regrets over what has happened in the past.

Togog:Well I’d always wanted to look like a frog so that you didn’t feel alone. I did it for you Semar. Enough of the serious stuff – it’s about time for a song don’t you think ? Do you know any good Justin Bieber songs

Semar:I only know the Beatles, but I know everything that they ever sang.

Togog:How about Swara Suling ?

Semar:I don’t remember the Beatles singing that…

Togog:Of course they did. Let’s play Swara Suling…

 

(9) Swara Suling

 

Semar:Hey Togog – that was nice – much better than Justin Bieber

Togog:Now it is your turn to choose another great Beatles song. Do you know any ?

Semar: How about Praon ?

Togog: Wasn’t that from the famous album “LuMayAn” (sings first part of “LuMayAn” to the tune of “Let It Be”)

Semar:(Whacks Semars ear) – That’s not Praon

Togog: Celine Dion ?

 

(10) Start playing “My heart will go on” with suling part played deliberately badly,Togog sings along with it

 

Semar: Praon – Pih-rah-on

Togog: Don’t you like Celine Dion ?

Semar: Are you deaf ?(Grabs Togogs ear)

Togog: Huh ? Dave ? Dave’s not here.

Semar: Dave ? Who’s Dave ?

Togog: He’s not here !

Semar: (rubs his temples) Oooooo I feel a headache coming on. Pra – on !

Togog: Why don’t you like Celine Dion ?

Semar: Gamelan please play Praon and stop him from spoiling this performance.

 

(11) Proan

 

 

(12) Sendhon Tlutor

 

Semar:It’s time for us to separate and go to our respective worlds. Togog will bring goodness and wisdom to the world of giants, whilst I, Semar will be responsible for the goodness and wisdom of the noble classes. We will be the PAMOMONG (advisors) who have the task of advising, warning and being an embodiment of wisdom and kindness.

 

(1.    Ending – Farewell

 

Semar:It’s time for us to separate and go to our different worlds. Togog will bring goodness and wisdom to the world of giants, whilst I, Semar will be responsible for the goodness and wisdom of the noble classes. We will be the PAMOMONG (advisors) who have the task of advising, warning and instilling kindness, for a peaceful life that embodies peace and wisdom.

 

(Togog and Semar both go their separate way and leave – dancing (Togog to the left and Semar goes to the right) – dancing to Jason and Rupert playing imbalan on Balinese Drums)

 

Semar seems to drift off into the sky.

 

Then there is a tree on one side of the screen. The Jack puppet walks from the other side as if looking for something. He is humming to himself. (A favourite piece ?)  Like looking at the flowers. Semar appears very briefly in the sky, and then disappears.

 

Jack looks up and ums…ahhh…hmmm…ahhh…yes….

 

Sits under the tree and slowly arranges himself. Then he begins to recite…

(Wistful, dreamy, slightly romantic)

What a delight it is

When on the bamboo matting

In my grass-thatched hut

All on my own, I make myself at ease.

 

Ummmms to himself then Ahhhhs too. A wistful sigh.

 

Semar rises from inside of Jack – rotates a few times above him, and then parks in front of him.

 

Jack: What a delight it is

When borrowing

Rare writings from a friend

I open out

The first sheet

(muses)

Or a score

That has never – been read before

 

Semar: A tune that has never been played

Jack: A sound never heard

Semar: A world not yet explored

Jack: Never before -Hooray ! Encore !

Jack: (Looks towards Semar – squints a bit) You look somewhat familiar…

Semar (Disappears)

 

Jack: What a delight is

When, composing a final score,

Finding the sound that I want,

Under a stone.

Or at the butchers shop, or a country fair.

 

Semar: Like tuning all of the instruments to one single note.

Jack: And letting the breath of the sky make them all sing.

(Pause)

Jack: Like looking at a photo of you on the wall.

Semar: And seeing yourself looking back.

(Silence)

 

Jack: What a delight it is

When, after a hundred days

Of racking my brains,

That verse that wouldn’t come

Suddenly turns out well.

 

Semar: That awkward passage

Jack: That cannot be conceived

Semar: Nor traversed.

Jack: Nor played.

Semar: Unfathomable !

Jack: What a relief it is

Semar: When it comes out well.

Jack: Ahhhh…!

 

(Silence)

 

Jack: What a delight it is

When, skimming through the pages

Of a Book, I discover

A man written of there

Who is just like me

 

Semar: And me

Jack: There is no one like you

Semar:Only you

Jack: And you

 

(Silence)

 

Jack: What a delight it is

When, of a morning,

I get up and go out

To find in full bloom a flower

That yesterday was not there

 

Semar: Such a surprise indeed

Jack: The surprise is when you realise

Semar: That it had been there all along

Jack: Sometimes our eyes let us down (Exaggerated wistfulness and regret)

 

Jack: What a delight it is

When you think that you are alive !

And then you find that you aren’t,

And then are, and then aren’t again

 

Jack: It’s like popping-in – for a bit of spicy – hee hee

Semar: Like having a cup of tea at Taihape !

Jack: A cup of tea at Taihape ! Oh goodness gracious me…

 

(Silence)

 

Jack: What a delight it is

When I blow away the ash

To watch the crimson

Of the glowing fire

And hear the water boil

 

Semar: In my reckoning, boiling water means a cup of tea

Jack: A cup of tea !

Semar: At Taihape…

Semar: So it is that we might drink our tea, and then depart, so fare ye well, and maybe we’ll meet again…

Semar rises, turns a few times and then descends, merging into Jack

 

Jack rises and moves slowly off, as the Kayon are arranged to indicate the end of the performance.

 

Theme from “close to home”

 

Postscript:

What Jack Body has done for us is similar to what SEMAR does as pamomong. Jack fostered the dissemination of gamelan in New Zealand. His dedication and hard work in guarding the success of gamelan in New Zealand is a manifestation of his love for art in his soul.

 

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Fragments from the impressionists chiliocosm – fragment 5

(Note: see the comments for the previous post – fragment 2 – eg: the post that scrolls after this one)

Some time off

A pause to catch the breath and to recuperate after some strenuous efforts. Away and off with Morpheus. Taken away to lands of recovery and discovery. Aemon is sighted – he wears a frown and seems forlorn. He sighs a swirling sigh. There is the rustling of dried leaves. It happens again and again. He looks dazed and dizzy. Perhaps he has a tropical illness – or worse ! There are other beings too. Octavia the emu – who was chased away by emu hunters. Aemon bursts into this dream, and must be evicted. The reason for this is put quite simply – he talks too much.

 

Then two shoes dreaming

An returning incarnated being that is recognised by the footwear. There is the smell of fishiness. A human being damaged by emotional vandalism. The friend dog barking and then yawning. Coughing and moaning. Flat triplets and something from a squashed D-minor. Dreams of fire.

 

The distilled response

A mass called maximus agitato. Energy equals heat of the life of the universe plus or minus two degrees, decibels and declinations. The mass is performed in the snow. Performed in the sea ! Performed in the mist ! A horse running through the scene. A wave poised, about to pounce on the rocks. Somewhere nearby a dancer performs ankle exercises. When they are soft and pliable she will jump and fly.

 

Held up before we start

Here is Sami running to the work-place. Passes a worm going to the beach. Seagulls wheeling overhead. It is morning and some of the creatures still make their night-time noises. It seems that one of my boots is missing. Has it been taken ? Has it been eaten ? Disappeared by some creature of the night. Everything here is covered in dust. There is a rabbit looking on. Yes the stars move, but it is us that moves the most, but with the shortest, most insignificant course.

 

Walking down a path

Is this a dream ? There are sheep on one side and there are cows on the other. By raising our fingers we can make the cows fall asleep. The delusion of power. Occasionally we find a dead and dried lamb. This is the night, and it is the time of the dance of eternity. A man arrives who sits to the right. First he looks to the left – looking this way. As though looking right through us, or at something deep within us. Then to the right, looking just behind his back. A flare falling, a wave crashing. Yes a nice quiet place is this. The dogs live behind fences and gates and bark at visitors. There are wood nymphs too, but they wait just beyond our visible range.

 

Who knows what comes next

Then sitting on the riverbank scratching. What would it be like to be in love. Is it like falling out of a cloud ? Or perhaps falling out of a tree. Could it ever happen. There are crickets calling from the left and the right. Pretend yes maybe. Aim all of ones intentions towards the preferred divinities. Perhaps not eating for some days. There is only fat to lose. He tries to make himself laugh by pinching himself. He manages a slightly strangled giggle, but he is not convinced that it is funny. The locals have a schedule, and stick to it. Stick to it like glue. It is time for a break – click click click – so they will expend their pause by drinking rum.

 

Dogdog star days

Here is a carved stick. On its head is a dogdog. This wood is from the Amazon – it cannot be broken. The dogdog smiles a fearsome smile that brings terror. He is efficient and gets things done. There is a group of people at the end of the road. Why is this group of men milling about ? Have they nothing better to do ? There is a shkk shkk shkk sound and a growing mound. They are digging a hole. We require a meddler to ask them why. Leon wanders off and into the scenery. He carries an instrument – a guitar. The children look on and sing. He carries a guitar – ohh laa laa. He goes off to ask the question, and forgets as soon as he walks around the first corner.

 

No hope – forever

Two people sitting by a tableaux desk. He holds a wad of papers. She wears spectacles. The spectacles make her look like an owl, and she talks mechanically. The result of exhaustive factual analysis. He, an academortician looks at the papers and turns quite white. This could even be a subjective assessment. Tears well up in his eyes, and he drops the whole bundle. Are the seals having fun today – he wonders.

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Fragments from “The impressionists chiliocosm” (#2)

Intro from website:

For a while I have been fiddling around with some old writing of mine. It is old – very old…

My good buddy, writing cohort and literary assessor, Mr Livingstone described it as being “impressionistic”, so I gave the whole body of work the working title ­ ‘From the impressionists chiliocosm’.

In considering posting it I have considered other titles which might prepare the reader for the very loosely defined nature of it.
That being so, I considered some sub-titles that might act somewhat as a guide for how to approach the work, but also as an apology for something so impulsive, discontinuous and unformed.
Some auxillary sub-titles:

In through the prism and out through the kaleidoscope

Outputs from the random event generator

A life of stream of consciousness

 

 

A diffraction, a contraction

A distraction, a contradiction

We have specialist musicians, and we have specialist cooks too. Thank goodness for that, we say. Taking delight in the colours of some culinary creations – see how they glitter and glow. Taking delight in not only the colours but the flavours too, the flavours and fragrant odours, the textures and rambunctious contours. All we need now is dancers and the day will be complete. Dancers are usually quite easily found. When they are not dancing they are usually eating. Scofftroughing on all the fuel that they can find. Here is someone that is for the first time encountering the fruit of the avocado tree. There is a tray of samples of different foods, and he is creating new mixtures and combinations. He insists that all present taste his creations. There are caviars and sardines and figs and nutbutters and plums and yeasts and much much more. A bit of this and a bit of that and a bit of the other. All mixed with a bit of avocado. By this means he might create heaven on earth, and he might create volatile combinations that nobody would want to eat a second time.

 

It makes me mad

This one makes me mad – it makes me so mad. So so so so so mad. The rantings of mister righteous tooth enamel become too much to bear. Will you be like me? Will you be like me? Will you be like me? Will you like me – please. That, and how old are you? He asks this of each and every person that he meets along the way. What are these white dots left behind on the floor ? We will be with you shortly – we will see you in the next compartment – yes/no ? Is a compartment something like a cell ? I would expect so… Or is it merely a frame in time.

You must promise to never go to room number 709… It is – ahh – we have been there and seen strange things. It is a very strange place. I looked through the hallway once -in the door there was a slimy insect dragon-type thing. Something very odd to say the least. In the next room there is some sort of marching happening. It makes the throat itch. One becomes so thirsty that ones only desire is to drink drink drink. It is such a strange place this. There appears a huge tall man. He reaches up so very high. But he is too tall to carry even his own weight, and is slowly collapsing.

 

One last wish

Then some people dragging a huge tree trunk across some mud flats. When they get to the other side it bursts open and thousands of tiny monkeys fly out. The monkeys are hungry and look out for things to eat. See over there – a horse leaning over a fence eating some brocolli. They swarm over the fence and capture the brocolli. They will pulverise it until it submits and becomes soup. The are eager to eat it, and yet still follow the course of proper conduct and offer the brocolli one last wish. It asks for the company of a potato. Why yes – they can grant that wish. They have found a whole nest of potatoes, like little eggs living amongst the compost. They whistle when under pressure, and wail when they see the monkeys swarming around them.

 

Damaged genes

This place here is called Crush Grove. The children here are very cruel. An unfortunate condition that they inherited from their elders. Look – a tree starts itching itself as soon as they pass by. The food bursts into flames when they look this way. This is not entirely unexpected. The atmosphere here is most unusual. They are examples of the efficient mind and body machine – its engine needs fuel and water too. A child dancing away. Its elders will teach it self-consciousness at the first opportunity that arrives. A musician plays in the background. He has become blind, and in his blindness he has found a way to experience it as his great joy. He speaks and his eyes roll back into uncomfortable looking positions. He plays and is able to experience the music with very little interference. Around and about there are other things happening. A man with a suitcase and a box filled with lots of oddities and things. He takes things out and performs tricks with them. Some children watch and point and laugh. He falters, as if though the story that he tells is of riding ones bicycle through a deep pool of mud. It stops and he falls off. After that the bell would not ring anymore. So he must carry his bicycle to safety. He carries it away and is lucky to leave this place.

 

All whilst waiting in the wings

Later in his adobe abode he can hear a throbbing pulsing sound. It is not loud but it is ever present. Perhaps it the sound of a boat or ship. Nearby there are some people singing in a different language to our own. Not being able to decipher the language, instead interpreting the song based on the perception of the feeling. The taste of the tones. Triplets of triols and the escaped daughters of families of priests. Was it her that we saw cooking up the grey potion. Other aspects of this inaccurate interpretation that is our impression of life. The artificarium and various edifices – all a series of white cubes carefully laid about. There is a geomancer who laughs at the seemingly haphazard pattern. There is a sanity and security in such an irregular arrangement. Three songs three trees three dogs. A chinese character that resembles a smiling face. Seeing it and smiling some more. We had gone to sleep here. Remembered an old man calling out his crude interjections – ‘show us some maori magic then…’ Aghast, we realise that he is either drunk or mad. Do you know what it is that you are asking for ? The heavens open up with a solid deluge. Look – your request has arrived. You should have asked for a public holiday instead. He looks most terribly confused – his cigarette has become extinguished.

 

Later, in Africa – amongst semi-jungle

Perhaps the soil here may be eaten. But today we have trodden upon it, so might not eat this particular part of it. But today we need no more food anyway. Not now at least, for we have had enough. There are tiny small steps with mud inbetween, and we slip and slide on downward. At the bottom we land, tangled in sixes and nines and threes. We must leave immediately, and it might be a good idea to run very fast. Up a steep bank and into a small building. There is a hole there. Jumping through it becomes another world. Then it melts away to become this world again. Another jungle. There wafts about the sound of an aztec pan flute. Look ! A swarm of monkeys appears. But no ! It is only a swarm of hornets. We must sing to pacify them – it is our only chance for survival.

 

Alive still and very pleased for it

I had a woolley hat that was washed and shrunken to be too small. Perhaps it might suit one of the little monkeys. There are two drunken Samoans going home. They wear identical lavalavas and one wears a yellow hat. They come to the place where they must part. They bow to each other most ceremoniously and exaggeroubuously. Why Whetu ! So you are growing a tail ? Woof woof ! Then running off the other way, laughing maniacally. He he he he hehe he he hehe he he he hehehe… In the morning he is woken by the sound of a whirring kite. It is from his friend. It dives and drops two fish-heads at his feet.

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Blue rosebuds

This face painted-on and stuck in place. One blue rose in a field where all the others are of a different hue. Red roses, pink, yellow, orange, apricot, burgundy and white, but not another one to be seen that is blue. They all stand in line, fading to become a random mixture of colours in the fuzzy distance. Amongst them a solitary blue face. It looks to the sun as much as the others do and the sun dwells in it. But no-one else and nothing else sees it. It is as if it isn’t.

Standing in rows, the roses have roots instead of boots, their movement is very slow and inconspicuous. Dancing when the wind blows, they sag when they are sad. When the sun shines they cannot contain their excitement. They wear a big smile on their face and follow its passage through the day.

There is so much effort put into these flowers. They are built in their entirety whilst hidden inside a bud, surrounded by leaves, and then unveiled to the world. They open and the hearts of the world open too. Open for all to see, but once opened there is no return to how things were. No more being closed and protected. By itself it must fulfill the complete course of life, with the only thing guaranteed being that dissolution will eventually come. Separation from the branch that has borne it and provided it with its happy sappy life blood. Separation and decay, as the host lives on and on.

The host must go on – it cannot stop its growing to look at what has passed. Instead maintaining a steady flow of life. From within the earth it draws its nutrients and they rise upwards towards the sun and the sky. Then taking them back down to its roots. Living in this one place, contained in its own little world of awareness. Like the awareness of the stones, the sky, the soil. The sun and the stars and the salty sea. The feeling of caves and trees and boulders and all parts of the whole of the local landscape. A little part of each and all. And all a part of each little bit.

There it stands-out on its own, the one blue rose. The others all refuse to believe that it is real. Just how can one be sure ? Perhaps it is a demented form of red, a lost relative of the yellow, an unusual variety of brown, a fallen representative of the purples and burgunds. We had heard rumour of its existence, but no-one had ever seen it.

But watch ! – as the wind blows and all the others sway. The blue rose sways as much as it feels it wants too. Perhaps a bit of dancing before the swimming season. Why not, we might exclaim – why not ! It may dance its most passionate dance, but none will see it, because it appears to be standing still. None will see it, for it is as if it is not there.

Not just dancing though, for there it is, singing and laughing and expressing all of the stories of life. Expressing them on the outside, expressing them on the inside. Like a physician drawing noxious airs and foul fluids and exposing them to the light of the day. Expressing it all until the body falls dead calm and everything that arises is met with clarity. With unflinching nerves and a steady temperament. Meeting every moment with a ready agreement. For it is as it is, and that is that, and all is okay.

Time spent amongst the roses will stand one in good stead. There are indeed times when it is not recommended to get near and close to them. With a developed skill it is possible to move with ease in their prickly realm. There in the moment that is calm, unchanging even as storms and tempests appear from behind the horizon and march across this scene. If the surrounding scenery is calm, then one can be sure that the next storm is not far off.

But what would the roses care about anything beyond their little patch of garden. The soil at their feet with the worms working away within. The compost lying around, the sun and rain, the bugs and critters following their daily schedule. Do they care for the magnolia ? – its branch broken and decaying. The weta living within its wound ? The forget-me-nots huddled together on the ground after the rain. Or the daphne alongside it, leaves fallen off after a windy day. Do the roses care more for these or any others in particular. They do care. They care for all of these and more. Anything that appears as manifest – they care for it. But sometimes they feel that there is but a little that they can do for them all. Little more than extend the best of their good feelings that way and for any other that needs it.

The blue rose simply awaits its day. On the earth all are looking but they are not able to see it. They are looking in the wrong place and looking for the wrong thing. But most of all they don’t know what they are looking for. The other roses are tortured in the hope that they will reveal themselves as having a blue rose on the inside. It is thought that if they are flogged and punished enough, they will have a blue offspring. Looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place.

Instead there is a realm of possibilities. Perhaps traveling there as if to the library. A great place to look for anything at all. All the things that we we can imagine and the things that we couldn’t imagine too. Or just didn’t bother considering as a possibility. Looking at that place, for it is sure to be there. There in the world of possibilities. Do remember though, that there are some things that never leave that place, that will only be found there.

The other roses all huddled in their bands and brigades of uniformity. They cannot find their way even as it leans on them and pushes. They cannot find it even as they are rooted in the middle of it. Not until they break from their ranks and jump in quite entirely.

Once in there finding blue roses everywhere. Finding that all roses are actually blue from the start. Finding that the blue roses are made of empty space mixed together with a bit of imagination, and that the red ones are too. So too the peach, amber, pink burgundy and champagne coloured roses. A bit of imagination, a few volts of concentration and the desire to see it thus, that wells from the centre of everything.

The moon rises full and shines on the white roses in the garden. On this day you will be silver – and a little bit blue too. They laugh shyly at such a weak trick. Looking to the world of possibilities, but waiting with a quiet heart. Eventually the blue rose will reveal itself, and all of the others will finally agree and see it too.

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Walking on the swamp monsters back

It is a difficult way to travel, tromping through the swamp. Probing the ground ahead with a long pole. Like looking for the truth amongst patches of unnecessary filling. Probing the ideas that might be found in the marshy depths. It is a precarious enterprise. But it is there to be found. Found by anybody who is prepared relinquish any and every thing to find it.

Hidden amid the marshiness and boggyness are patches of quicksand where you can sink and disappear before you know what is happening. Equally dangerous are the legends of scary things. Reported to be there even though you can’t see them. Even if no-one has ever seen them. Legends of monsters that will take your leg and pull you in, and colonies of poisonous bugs and slime that will eat you from the outside in. The legends create a pall of fear which causes misfortune from which few will escape. A sick idea that catches and infects its host. There are as many legends as there are places that the imagination may travel to. Shrugging off the legends as soon as we hear them. Shrugging them off and moving on. The search for truth is a serious undertaking and requires a constant vigilance. Unnecessary distractions are to be quickly and efficiently discarded. It is indeed a demanding task – and we must devote the best of our time and effort to its completion if we are to be successful at it.

Poking our probe into the slushy mush. What will we find here ? A sac of foul gas that erupts through the hole ? Perhaps it will be something semi-solid and unknown that we pierce ? On the path to truth we will have many opportunities to be surprised with what we find. Poking with our pokey stick, finding a path that traverses the densest matter and the thinnest and most vacant nebulae. Not knowing what we have found, knowing only that it is not what we thought that we were looking for. Eventually we will understand that we might never find what we thought that we were looking for. We will always find something different.

Prodding away at the ground before us. What thoughts and ideas dwell here. What ideas are this place made of. What ideas create this scene. What ideas make the trees and plants grow, and what ideas give off that foul gas that makes us wheeze. What ideas create the water of life and bring it to good use.

Prodding away at the earth, seeing what ideas it might yield. But there are those that extend beyond the earths realm. There are those that dwell in the sky. They travel lightly and lean on people as they pass. They are so light that their presence is often missed. There are others – finer still. They dwell beyond our regular sky, out in the depths of the distant night. In the depths of the galaxy. In the depths of beingness, where time has never intruded.

Poking and prodding amongst the ideas as they lay in terra and the firmament. Probing as we make our way through them. So many of them just don’t hold the right consistency. Too hard – too hard, they become like rock and will not flex to fit with life. Will not flex to fit the reality as it presents itself. Too soft – too soft, like jelly they are flabby and falter when tested. Will not take the shape of anything unless they are poured into a container of some sort. Instead of holding firm they collapse when most needed.

If that weren’t enough, there are other oddities by which we may be inconvenienced. So many of them are things that we would prefer not to encounter. Things that are oddly shaped and fit only for some perverse use. Flaccid, crisp or brittle, or otherwise of no use. Repellant and/or cloying. Lumpy as though filled with nails. Perhaps leading to harm and away from the truth. With so many faulty ideas, it becomes apparent how few of them are actually of any use. Even the good ones can bring harm if not well tempered.

Indeed how few of these ideas can match the simplicity and sure vision of the heart. The direct penetration of the source. How it is that the heart guides with certainty and the utmost skill, even in the most complex of situations. With the heart there is no random probing. No poking about here and there, looking to see what one finds. When probing with the heart just one look is enough. Right into the centre of it all. All of reality is pierced. Right into the crux of it all.

One can be sure that blood and tears will well up. As if rupturing an artery of it. As if pumping seeming endless amounts of fluid from deep within the earths bowels. Blood and tears squirting up and out, covering everything, there for all to see. Blood and tears and the truth behind everything that we have ever done. All that we have experienced. The truth behind everything that ever happened. The gritty grist of the mill of life. The truth behind all of the convenient explanations that the mind has ever produced. The truth behind the endless misinterpretations that have caused life to become a struggle. That have created pain and drama from otherwise innocuous events. The truth behind the moments moment, and the feeling that holds it all together and causes it all to eventually dissolve.

Belching forth like toxic gases, like flames leaping up and enveloping the self. Belching forth the ideas that we hold so dearly. Staying the course, holding firm the heart. Being steady and still, despite the urge to run. For there is nowhere to run to. Running would only lead to more time spent navigating the swampy marshes, and we have had enough of that. Oh how the heart desires to have solid earth beneath the feet, and yet to be surrounded by space. Never more than when knee deep in the gloop and goo of some boggy swamp. Never more than when surrounded by the ill conceived and unconsidered words of the world. Of all things informed by fear and unrequited pain and all of their various offspring.

Indeed to feel the solid earth beneath ones feet and be surrounded by space. To forget the earth and feel the space above and below, within and without, with no differentiation. On that day the swamp and all of its contents becomes but a memory. Consigned to the realm of the undifferentiated. Something that we once were concerned with, but now seems to strike no resonance.

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Oops – somebody pulled the plug out (The pirates would retire and instead grow cabbages)

 

Exploring the vast ocean floor. Sunken ships, and boats and tubs of every sort. There are some that have been snapped in two, run through in bouts of conflict and contest. Punctured by other brutes in boats and their bombs. Battered by the weather, burst and busted by rocks hidden under the waters surface. Swamped by the seas waves and sunk by cannonballs and rocks falling from the sky. They have holes in them and the currents pass through them as they lie on the sea bed. A hole in one or both of the sides, if not in the bottom. Though most have a hole or two, some have no hole in them at all. They lie sunken and yet intact. In the boats lie lost treasures, and treasures surround them too.

Sunken whether intacto or unintacto, they have been forgotten by the waves of time. Forgotten by the sailors and civilians all. Lost to the centuries. Lost to all relations, memories, and even historical books. But the sky remembers. The sky and the sea. They hold these secrets quietly in their depths, for it is their way to make no fuss nor ado about such things. It is their way to tend to their business irrespective of external influence.

The fluidity and weight of the water has its own pace. The winds, the passing of the clouds, the sun and the moon – all have their schedule. If they all seem a little anxious and harried, then there is the turning of the galaxy and the procession of the equinoxes with which to reckon the passage of time. These measures should endow anybody with a thoughtful perspective in all events.

With that the races and civilisations too rise and fall with the tides, each generation passing their memories and stories to the next generation. With songs and dances and tangled strings and knotty sticks, the details gather like the sands of the beach. Reality molds itself into myth to better reflect its truth. Only the most subtle of hearts and minds can mine the stories from the aether and the sky where they are stored in the great treasure house. There for anyone who cares to find it.

The sea and the sky by themselves remember. They remember everything. The old boats become treasurehouses in a world full of treasurehouses. Creatures of the undersea worlds will visit these wrecks and many will make this place their home. They move amongst decaying relics of the past every day, and touched by familiarity begin to forget where they are. They begin to not notice that the wreck is there. They are instead consumed by their own habits and pressing needs.

Time passes by, and for those whose memory is short, life on the seafloor becomes the normal and unquestioned shape of life. On the seafloor there are also swarms of phantom pirates. A legion of the undead. captain, crew and all. Occasionally the head pirate will make his presence felt along with his ghoulish followers. He will lead a charge of fear upon unwitting and unaware travelers. So too the royal king and prince and their coterie of sycophants. They too, when amongst the ranks of the unalive, will create as much fear as any other. One group has a shadow that points away from the sun and one group has a shadow that points towards the sun. When they encounter their shadows merge. Then there are those who fall into neither camp, whose shadows are quiet and who go about their ways unobtrusively. Amongst them, piratical, royalist and others who are either, neither, anti and non.

Yet on the seafloor lies treasures unclaimed. Forgotten, ignored and remaining unseen. Above the seafloor is the place where treasure all seems to come from. The treasure factory, the shining gems and metals, glinting. But in the true fire of life there is only one treasure, one moment, and that is where all other treasures come from is made.

The sea gets darker by degrees, pirates appear and disappear following nothing but their whim and despicable pursuits. The Royal Navy follows them about, never quite close enough to act. When they meet new ghosts are created and set up their own permanent base. They can be called upon to remember when no-one else will.

And so it is… So it is…Many a good sea captain has found his vessel punctured by pirates in the middle of their voyage, or sunken against the odds, even when guided by justice and good temperament. For they set their course, and held it fast as the sun and the stars revolved around them. The crew worked long and hard and complete their role as best they could. Yet in the field of birth and death there are no guarantees that things will follow their course as planned or hoped. Everybody finds themselves in unfamiliar and sometimes hostile territory. Or even that the territory might be quite amenable, but the circumstance tainted with unfavourable elements.,

Whatever the cause, eventually the water gets into the ships hollow hold. If there is no hole for it to get in from below then it might come in from the sides or even from above. Perhaps it has been raining misfortune, or perhaps it is merely the exhaustion of their earthly time. But the hold fills with water and the body in its turn fills with fear. Filled with fear it flushes and founders and finds its way to the seabed. The hold filled with water, all of the underwater world becomes a complete and enveloping world. Surrounded by the eyes of fishes and squids. Sunken wishes and damp squibs.

They move slowly and let the feeling of the place flow into their bodies. Becoming filled with the life of the place. Eventually they will gain familiarity and make the sunken hulk their home. Not going anywhere else, taking the fullness of this place this moment as home, the repository of comfort and ease. So at last the true treasure is revealed. In front of the nose, behind the nose, above and below and to either side. The true treasure hunter finds the treasure every here, every there, everywhere. Leaving it where is found for there is no taking it away, and there is always always more when needed.

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The beginning at the end of the end

They stand proudly surveying their creation. A monster born of the human mind. A group of men have built a huge machine on the top of a hill. It looks like a something covered with beady eyes, all looking up into the sky. The people who made this thing have few friends, and have constructed this monstrosity in secret. What the machine does is unknown to outsiders, and why it was built is equally mysterious.

There are technicians and engineers with sheets of notes and numbers and construction instructions. Then there are those who designed this behemoth. They dwell in the far end of the world of physical sciences, and there are few people with whom they can talk about what they are doing.

They have decided that the machine is ready to operate, and shortly it will burst into life. When operating it will crush the known laws of physics. It will bend space and time into any shape desired. It will undo the glue that holds everything together. It will climb into the furtherest reaches of the imagination, and manifest all and any possibilities found there. Finally it will prove conclusively that we know very little about the world that surrounds us. Undoubtedly it will cause a disturbance, which will require others to interrupt their regular tasks to rectify.

Outside of the small group of people involved in this project, there are very few who have any inkling that anything unusual is happening. Between their everyday busy-ness, their favourite distractions and the general malaise of disinterest, they cannot muster much concern for the furtive activities of a group of scientific misfits and boffins.

They come and go, dressed in their white coats and jerseys with holes in the elbows. One day they decide to start their machine, and immediately they do, the sky falls down. Everyone everywhere looks up, startled, and wonder aloud – what happened ? With it, their world, and everything that held it in place begins to collapse. They mutter to themselves and cling to whatever they most dearly believe-in, even as it fails them. Again and again this might happen. Doing so and becoming further and further adrift from life.

Navigating their way around the fallen sky, they ask themselves what went wrong with their plan ? Why did this happen and what can be done about it. The larger mass of folk loudly lament that things will never be the same again. Things will never be as they were. We can’t even be sure that things are as they are. A smaller group of folk quietly find what they need and a new way of doing things. A whole new approach to life. They always knew that things would never be the same as they were before, and that they just appeared as if they would do so. Now they know that things aren’t as they thought that they would be either. As if somehow they knew about the monstrous machine.

There is a shambolic scene surrounds them. The sky has fallen, and there is a big hole in the ground where the machine was. Its makers wring their hands in disappointment and impotence. Their moment of glory has been snatched from them, and a moment of truth that they would prefer not to encounter has taken its place.

They will return to their burrows and bunkers to reassess their plan, and the execution thereof. The plan itself seems sound, though none seem to notice that the paradigm that supports it is faulty. It looks good from some vantage points, but not from all. It helps some things but harms many more. It appears as being well conceived, and yet on closer examination is seen to be lacking in a basic understanding of life.

Their paradigm crumbles as they steadfastly ignore its demise, instead making even more grandiose plans. The paradigm finally collapses, and the shell of their ideas and ideals shatters with it, becoming a big heap of rubble and carnage.

Curiously, for many the ability to see things as they are returns. No longer is the idea and the imagined ideal paramount. Sadly this ability is not claimed by all, and some of the boffins and their followers still bump around clumsily, led by the head.

There will always be a retrogressive group that hangs around long after a notable event. Holding to the event in the hope that it once again delivers its spark of inspiration. Picking up the pieces of their failed endeavours, even if for no purpose other than to gather the memories together and remember how things once were. Bring them back into the heart. Sadly it was so often in the moment of anticipation of the greatest success that the greatest collapse came.

They one day stop what they are doing and wonder. Wonder about nothing in particular. The whole edifice of thought has collapsed. The constructs in their head have been deconstructed. Their great project had failed, and they will stop and wonder. Why why why why why ? If their great project had succeeded and razed the world and all life on it, they would have also stopped and wondered. Why why why why why ? They stop and wonder, and everything seems to come to a halt around them.

They stop and wonder about how much of what is happening here on earth is absolutely necessary. The brutality and callousness. The pain and the suffering. How much is needed at all. The monster machine was to be their savior. They had given up waiting for the other saviors, because they had failed to appear. If they appeared they failed to be noticed. If they were noticed they failed to be recognised. If they were recognised they failed to explain things clearly. If they explained things clearly, they failed to be believed. So some clever minds from near and from far would gather together to make a machine that would do all of the saving that was necessary. Yet with all of the saving that the machine was expected to offer, there is something that it seems miss. Amiss it is.

They wait by their fallen fantasy in the hope that it can be resurrected. Alas it might be a long wait, to see it restored and operating. There are others who watch over this scene from afar. They watch in wonder, and marvel in the fact that life seems to be able to produce so much variation in this species. So many preposterous prepositions and ridiculous rationales. Those watching simply wait in quiet space and bide their time.

The boffins have a practiced manner for their moments of failure, as they occur with great regularity. Usually they stiffen themselves and reapply the same plan or a variation of it. Sometimes they see through the problem and throw away the plan and put their efforts into the paradigm, even as it crumbles before their eyes.

Again and again they follow this course, and again and again the results remain the same. They hear very few voices from outside their tight community, and steadfastly ignore most of what they do hear. Of the remainder, they discard because they cause irritation when introduced to their favoured beliefs.

If they don’t fail then they grotesquely succeed, and with every trick that defeats the course of nature their goal becomes more faint. More engines and circuits that need maintenance, eventually to be discarded with everything else that anybody ever made.

Those who watch over this scene might eventually resign from their watching and go home. If they didn’t know the futility of it, they would be exasperated. They do and they are anyway. The other inhabitants who remained so studiously ignorant of the furtive activities might remain so. They do not become any wiser from what they chose not to see.

Stalemate it is. All have applied their regular way of doing things, and all find themselves exactly as they were when they began. A repeating episode of life. The sky and the stars watch on from in their own cycles of time. In millions and billions of years it would seem that change has been manifest. Generally in the pattern of one step forward and two steps back. Stumbling across the goal by accident. Stumbling across the goal after walking around the planet backwards. Stumbling across the goal after having completely forgotten about it.

Eventually weeds and trees will grow and cover their folly. Rocks and dust will rain upon it and shield it from discovery. A great forest will cover it, and volcanoes will throw rocks all over it. It will disappear, to never be seen again. Those with a clear eye who chose to pay full attention to what was happening will have long since left, leaving only stories and legends of their deeds. Those who couldn’t be bothered seeing must wait until the day when they finally begin to care.

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