This here is my vision / What I’m imagining
mysticism / a more real reality
A space to breathe / to keep secret from the world
to safeguard from hurt
To share an inner sanctum / for most unheard
Sara, let us go there
You’ve seen so many temples / so have I
scattered ‘round the globe / or oppressively homegrown
Telling us their answers / what and how to know
Hot to fold our hands / how to think, look, reap or sow
Let’s strive in better spirits / one of our own
Practicing only love
Let’s build the foundation / place the cornerstone
upon which the rest will follow
Or maybe it’s already there / inside our hearts
I choose believing in this / point from where we can depart
Sara, let our journey start / without knowing where
it will take us
Sara, let us go there
To the foot of the mountain
At the steps of the entrance
Let us proper there, aching
Maybe we’re better of practicing
where no one tells us off / telling us to stop
Sara, only love
Let us journey there
One that never ends
This song is a love song written to my wife. There are many ways to think about what a loving relationship is about. In this case, and what I’m trying to encapsulate in this song, is the centre a relation on creating a common spirituality.
We have both been looking around the world and in our local surroundings for deeply spiritual practices and thoughts to carry with us. But there always seems to be either the want for monetizing or stressing exact behaviours and absolute correct beliefs. In a free church setting, like the one I grew up in, it was always said that ‘God is bigger’ than either what we can comprehend or human language. You could refer to this as ‘God the mystery‘. On the other hand you have a historical Jesus, ‘God the historical person‘. The thing is, God the mystery was always brushed over. Even though there was a nod of recognition to the idea that God was bigger than what we could ever express or understand, most people had no problem saying exactly who god was, what he (it was always a he) thought, even down to the last detail, like what kind of clothing people ideally should wear, what they should watch on TV, or exactly when to raise their hands under the music part of the worship at Sunday service.
There simply was no mystery. And many who understand experiences they have had as powerful encounters with the divine, strangely often start building authoritarian and oppressive systems upon that experience. I have had such experiences. They have been life-changing. But what they would never allow, if I take them seriously (as I do) is for me to base any kind of authority on that experience. It would be to negate the whole truth content and quality of the experience. For me the encounter with something that can be described as deep, old, wise, loving … whatever it was that I met was still cloaked, when I encountered it. It wasn’t a gestalt, not a person, it was a force that felt personal, but didn’t take any kind of shape or form. It felt like the closest to truth I have ever been.
First time I encountered this, I was 17. I returned to school not wanting to speak for a week. Looking at all the interactions going on, as so filled with posturing, codes, ways to find approval, ways to express oneself with irony and reservations, as to stand for as little as possible. I have never seen human interaction as so full of bullshit, to be frank. I felt a step of removal from the whole context. The material reality was incompatible with the encounter of the deep structure of reality, of truth.
Many of you know that I am highly postmodern. And as such I have a bit of trouble with words like Truth. Because it often comes with imperatives exactly like those I describe in the song. ‘I have experienced the truth; now you listen to me, stand like this, think like this, pray like this’. But this truth is more like Miles Davis or techno.
An old friend of mine said that techno is often not about what you like, but an absense of what you don’t like. All is good until a midi saxophone comes in – NEXT RECORD! I knew a DJ who for a time would discard any record on the basis of there being a ride cymbal made with the classic Roland TR909 drum machine on there; that was his no-go sound. Kind of similarly, Miles Davis explained his thinking about what notes to play as a case of running through the options in his head and thinking … no, no, no, no, no … yes. He would find the occasional note worth striking, and then he did.
I met a psychologist once that said; once we can account for exactly why we love someone – then love dies. Love in this sense shares in the quality of the mystical experience. It’s not something that we can unmask, and that makes it more true. When the superhero removes the mask s/he is not more true; in fact the opposite. All the heroism is performed by the masked person. The everyday person performs mundane eating cereal and filing tax returns. The masked person is the layer where the important happens. And thus unmasking it is pointless, it doesn’t lead to truth. It leads to a layer where the hero is no longer the hero, a layer where nihilism, codes and posturing happens, not where the truth happens. The lack of that layer is what makes the Miles Davis solo magical, or the techno track worth playing.
I think it’s important to create. I have previously written about the dangers of mainly taking the position of the critic. Being the critic doesn’t actually propel us forward. Deconstruction without reconstruction equals destruction. But in our creation, some boundaries can be in place; some outer limits of what we’re not willing to do. Some notes that we’re not willing to hit at given moments, some sounds that we think it best to exclude.
Love is essentially a part of truth. It has that mystical quality. And for love to remain love, it needs to retain its element of the mystical, it needs to be nurtured and kept alive. The attempt to map out this kind of love/truth is what I try to encapsulate in this song. And no endeavour could be more rewarding or more pressing than trying to hold on to the utter mystery of love/truth, create it, recreate it, sustain and nurture it.
For me that is my hopes for Sara, and myself; temple or no temple.