Monday, June 8, 2009

Walking Lines

Unnamed and!

I apprehended myself being unaware.

With the roar of a lion, I stormed out of my body, and whimpered

as duckweed welcomed.

Twas radiation from beyond the stars and reflection from my eyes

which twice tatooed my soul.


  1. DAY FOUR June 8, 2009

    To tell you the truth, this feels tedious having to recount what brought me to the line. My walk was rather late but I had done the study in advance, some time yesterday to let it sink in. As I referred back and forth to the sources, it felt discombobulated and nothing was creating a feeling of unity with the previous days lines. There was a general building of momentum from the exercise but it felt as if the poem was stuck.

    (Right now it is morning of Day Five, June 9 and I’m going for coffee….) By the way I had an excellent set of Yoga this morning and it is a beautiful summer day. Darby and her cousin Blake are heading to the pool and even though I should feel the pressure of all that needs to be done over these next few days, that summer feeling mixed with the smell of freshly smeared sun block is quite delicious.

    The first thing to read of course, since the exercise was loosely built around it is the fourth line of the hundred character tablet from Ancestor Lu. It is:

    There is no thing; whom else do you seek?

    The problem this left me with is that it have been well covered in my first three lines. It doesn’t seem to progress at all. But I went on to Emerson. In chapter two on Chapter Two on Commodity and in the beginning of Chapter Three on Beauty, it reminded me what it is about this essay which has always fallen apart for me. He also seems to loose momentum from the powerful start which was so juicy in the parts leading up to and in Chapter One.

    But anyway, here are some lines which stood out from yesterday’s reading:

    • Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only the material, but is also the process and the result.
    • A man is fed, not that he may be fed, but that he may work.
    • A nobler WANT of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty.
    • The eye is the best of artists.
    • Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.

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  3. The fourth chapter of the Tao te Ching is short, so I’ll drop it all here:

    The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used, but never filled.
    Oh, unfathomable source of ten thousand things!
    Blunt the sharpness,
    Untangle the knot,
    Soften the glare,
    Merge with dust.
    Oh, hidden deep but ever present!
    I do not know from whence it comes.
    It is the forefather of the emperors.

    Again, I was left with the feeling that I couldn’t progress at the same pace my poem seemed to be pulling me to and where I was on the material. I was being torn between editorializing and letting my creative instincts drive the program, or conforming or molding my feelings around the material.

    I thought about the trigrams, this part of the exercise giving me quite a bit of flexibility because it is pure instinct which drives me to which hexagram to end up with for the day. Although I wanted a pattern to reveal itself, based on what had built from the first three days and also where it felt like the chi would move between yin and yang under the pattern which was being established.

    I decided it would be water over water or what I called Double Stream, Hexagram 29. I’ll go to photoshop now to create it…

    By the way the Ritsema and Karcher translation refers to the hexagram as Gorge. In this translation I will summarize it as movement possesses honor. It describes the situation as dangerous because of the flowing stream into another flowing stream, as it is precarious. You can't avoid the situation so you must “move with the flow,” but it requires holding fast to principles.

    Tom Cleary’s translation calls it double pitfall and his brief summary is “in mastering pitfalls there is truthfulness; thus the mind develops. There is excellence in practice."

    The cool thing about writing this the next day and going back and reading my line and the developing poem will be to see if there is a hidden current that flowed subconsciously, that I recognize now but didn’t at the moment…

    Cleary calls it the presence of white within black. The yang (white) is trapped in yin (black). In short, as he says, believing there is danger requires one to practice so as to get out of danger; believing but not practicing is like not believing. Once one can believe and can practice, without hypocrisy or deception, practicing truly, one improves daily with daily practice, rising from lowliness to loftiness, gradually learning a state of exalted illumination, developing one’s nature to the fullest extent and realizing one’s purpose in life, returning to the fundamental, without difficulty.

    At this point I returned to Ancestor Lu again to feel the line.

    Then later I took my walk and let everything sort of ferment. When I came back I was refreshed and stimulated. Before I went on my walk I was quite fatigued. I did a search for an image which was coming to me, which was about duality and found one which quite well captured duality:

    though I wasn’t sure it exactly fit my feeling. But still I let the line come, which didn’t seem to go together that well with the material but felt pretty good in the poem.