Thursday, September 4, 2008
12:15:19 AM EDT
The beauties that we know, an amazing sunset, the taste of ripe fruit, the warm breeze of a Spring day, a painting by Van Gogh, the music of Mozart; these things are not complete. They are merely hints of the real beauty that is.
DB - The Vagabond
Years ago there was a BBC TV program called "The Long Search." In it a British anthropologist went all around the world interview devout people of all the world's religions. He was attempting to discover what made a person religions and what kept them in a permanent state of faith.
I remember many of those interviews, but the one that stands out to me the most was with a Hindu gentleman. He was saying that Hinduism was a very non-materialistic religion. The interviewer asked how he could say that when all around them there were idols. The Hindu agreed that there idols but he explained that he looked on them as so many fingers pointing to an invisible world of Spirit. He said that one could spend a lifetime looking at the finger until one day he begins to look at where the finger is pointing.
I was in rehearsal for a play and having a difficult time with my role. The character seemed to be so challenging and argumentative with the other characters, and I was portraying him with a heavy hand (as usual) which I knew was wrong. One day, during a break, the director, who was a very incisive and gifted director in his idiosyncratic way, walked past me, tapped me on the shoulder and said "Prometheus, my boy." and walked on. That set my head spinning and sent me to the dictionary. Prometheus, the mythical hero who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humanity. Thinking about that legend helped me to understand my role, not as an angry, unharmonious debater but as the one voice of reason who could enlighten the scene. That changed my approach to the role and it worked.
I can tell from some of the comments and emails I get in response to the things I write, that there are people capable of and who do often look behind the veil, see the unseeable and examine the unexaminable. As I said in my last entry there are people whose thinking is not all that clear, who are trying to correct my thinking. Prometheus was punished by being chained to a rock by Zeus for a long time. When I come upon the rock that says "There are certain things we are not supposed to know" or that says "It's just an apple. Don't try to read anything else into it." that is the very rock I refuse to be chained to.
The veil of the temple has been spilt in two, the sanctum sanctorum is open for all, not just the high priest. We are capable of knowing the unknowable, of completing the sunset, of handling the fire, as long as we stop staring at the finger and begin looking to where it points.
DB - Vagabond Journeys