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Jumping Before, After, and Into Monism

By Billy | July 29, 2008

Okay, universe.  You can slow down any second now.  Great.  I am at the crunch time now: school is right around the corner and work is getting busier.  This means that I don’t relax during the work-day, and have very few days to fill in dinner-dates with so many friends that I’ll not see for a very long time.  Sad face!  D:

That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you, my faithful reader!  (Okay, so maybe there’s two of you) I’ve been outstandingly busy lately, and I’m sorry I’ve neglected you.  I know you’re so interested in what’s happening in my life!  (If you’re not, I’ve included a poem below as a reward/incentive for reading)
I’m still working on reading my first real book about Energy Healing— trying my best to absorb as much as possible about Chakras as I can.  I noticed as I studied Buddhism and Taoism that the first few attempts at reading hardly stuck at all.  I’m certain if I went back and read the Buddhism: Pure and Simple or The Tao of Pooh again, (which is probably a good idea…) I’d learn things that I missed completely upon first reading them.  Such is the way we (I, at least) learn.  As I read more, I hope to pick up on what the common themes are, and it will eventually stick.  As I talk to Lisa, she will casually say, “Oh such and such gets me so charged up! 3rd Chakra energy is quite powerful stuff, isnt it??) and all I can do is hope that someday this Chakra and that Chakra  sort of info will be second nature to me.  I presume it will happen, just as I can relate a Buddhist Sutra (or at least a principle expressed therein) to most conversations—especially one religious in nature.

Well, I don’t suppose this journey I’m on and talking about it entirely interesting to most people, so I’ll cut it out for now.  It is partially for me, since I will enjoy looking over my old posts and seeing where I was compared to where where I am.

Today’s poem is called Jumping Before Trains and has a bit of an explanation afterward, if you care at all to know what I’m actually referring to (at least on some level).

I kill myself each day
but wake up just the same.
With the same old hands
and same old name.

The scars; they go away
when night yields for the day.
the longing
doesn’t sway

I wake up just like every other;
just like you. I am your brother.
I’m your friend
and I’m your lover.
I’m your shield,
I’m your cover

I’m your fiendish adversary
everything that you find scary.
I’m the one from whom you hide
the reasons that you always cried.

Then again, I am the sun,
the moon, the stars,
the sky.
I am Venus. I am Mars.
Never born, I never die.

I’m the north star
and the cross.
I’m the needle
I’m the moss

Just like you; I am all
from salvation to the fall
I’m the burst of inspiration
and that deadly inclination

I’m the knife you’re looking for
I’m the droplets
on the floor.

I’m the ocean,
I’m the boat.
I’m the reason
you can’t float.

I salt the wounds and carry on,
I hum the tunes and sing the song.
I think the thoughts we wish I wouldn’t
do the things we know I shouldn’t

and every morning when I wake
I despise the hell I make.
I wish that I could stay or go
and leave this half-here state I know

I killed myself again last night
but I didn’t do it right
once again I woke to hear
that violent ringing in my ear

demanding that I rise and live.
Understanding this, I give.
I live the day out with the pain
of fighting not to stop the train.

The poem above is clearly a bit different from my previous poems.  My friend Nick, when I posted this over at asked for a bit of clarification, so I’ll leave some comments with you.
This thing is chalked full of metaphors.  I was feeling extremely… something.  I think the best way to describe the thought process is something like monism or pantheism — which was stemming from a thought process that is eerily similar to certain flavors of Hinduism about which I was unaware at the time.  (Don’t you love me for all these links?) (I know.  I hate wikipedia, it’s just a standardized way to convey information that is, for the most part, accurate enough to get the job done)
Right off the bat, I’m not talking about extinguishing my physical self, clearly.  The night, at times, can be the great eraser.  In the morning you are a new person.  Though, ideally, we recognize that things like guilt, pain, anger, etc. are empty, it’s easier to internalize the separateness from oneself after a full night of sleep.

Lines 3 through 9 refer to the unity and sameness of all things.  I suppose we could put it in the Hindu terms of Brahman.  If we are all imagined extensions of an indefinable essence, we all actually theoretically mush together into the same essence.  This means I am you and you are me, and we’re both the table, chairs, computer, oceans, thoughts, concepts, energy, sounds, and everything.  At the same time as all this, we’re nothing.  I feel/sense that way every now and then.    The lines, I’m the north star and the cross.  I’m the needle, I’m the moss, are all alluding to things that help you find your way; North star, southern cross, needle on a compass, moss on the tree.

As the poem concludes, I’m referring to the inability to do anything about the theoretical/mystical understanding of the universe and the actual, nominal existence we’re stuck with.  There is a similar conflict facing us from a Buddhist point of view, in that the world is both empty of form and at the same time is ultimately there.  We start out and the mountain is there, we study emptiness and the mountain is empty and therefore not there.  Post-enlightenment/realization of Buddha-nature, we internalize the fact that the mountain is both there and not there at the same time.  Looking at it now, I guess you can say that this is an unwitting expression of my frustrations at my own deluded nature.  Hmm… Being frustrated about not being enlightened is one of the more foolish things you can do..

The last 4 verses talk about the drudge of following the path I’m on, while at the same time wishing I was some-one/where/thing else.  The violent ringing refers to the lovely alarm clock I have… demanding that I get up and start the day.

Hmmm.  That’s about all I care to elaborate on at this moment.  I have a tendency to be very cryptic in my writing, so if some things are still unclear, please let me know and I’ll do my best to explain.
Thanks for reading, and may your life go well!

Topics: Philosophy | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Jumping Before, After, and Into Monism”

  1. Lisa Says:
    July 29th, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Well, I love it. It had a resonance to me so even if you didn’t explain it, it had meaning on a level I can understand. Loved it. You write musically, if that makes any sense.

    As re: chakra speak – hahah I feel that way at the seminary when they all get into astrology – for example, someone will say “Well, I’m a double Leo with Sag rising” and everyone will nod accordingly. I feel like they are speaking a completely different language (and I’ve even taken an Astrology class!). Soon enough, it will all make sense to you.

    (PSST: Third chakra: it’s all about personal power, baybee!)

  2. Billy Says:
    July 30th, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Thanks! Yes, I’ve been told I write what would be good lyrics. I usually don’t have a song in my head, but do occasionally. Poe’s “The Raven” is in my mind the PERFECT piece of poetry, and I try and use that meter as my model. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    I’m trying my best to keep track of which energy is associated with which Chakra. I’ll get the hang of it, someday. 😀 Thanks again for reading!

  3. xclite Says:
    July 31st, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Yeah I definitely agree, for the most part your writings seem like songs to me more than simple prose. I liked it.

  4. Brannon Says:
    August 1st, 2008 at 9:17 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed your poem, Billy. I’m learning that writing is another one of your talents. Do you every read your poems that coffeehouses or anything? I can tell you have a very creative mind. I thought the poem had a nice flow to it, although I must admit I had to read it a few times. I interpreted it for myself first before I read your explanations.
    Of course the title of a poem is very important. I’m still a little unclear as what the poem’s title symbolizes.
    Another stanza stands out in my mind, “I’m the ocean,
    I’m the boat. I’m the reason you can’t float.” I love that line. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around what that means though. Also, I agree with what you said about after sleeping for the night, the next morning you feel like a new person. In this way sleeping is very therapeutic. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Billy Says:
    August 1st, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Wooo! I’m a celebrity! What, with 4 readers!
    Thanks for your comments, guys.
    I haven’t ever read before an audience other than the high school poetry club and my creative writing class. That’s a good idea to read it a few times before reading the explanation. Reading other people’s work is a good chance to explore what has significance in your own world.

    As far as being the ocean, boat, AND reason for not floating goes… This stanza is expressing a very stoic concept. If we compare our human selves to a boat in the ocean; let’s say we happen to have some problem that could be comparable to a hole in the hull. We’re sinking and we feel that it’s totally not our fault. Bailing the water out isn’t working fast enough.
    From the stoic point of view, we are completely in control of ourselves. This means we can be crippled by a drunk driver, but the only way we’ll truly be crippled is if we allow it — if we let our spirits become crippled.
    In reality, the physical world is only as we allow ourselves to interpret it. We can look at that driver as a curse from god, bad luck, karma, coincidence, etc. In reality, it was solely one machine slamming into another based on an intricate chain of events. This ‘accident’ is actually just atoms and energy interacting, nothing more. Anything else we take from that has been our own addition. That the incident was a “car crash” is a construct of our minds. In the same way that I’m the car crash (I made up the “car crash”), “I’m the ocean.”
    The ocean represents a problem in this stanza. Floating seems ideal, but that’s only because we make floating more important than sinking. Really, it’s just what happens. Any fish we caught while on the boat will see this as a fortunate change of events. Acknowledging that I’m the reason I can’t float is me saying, “I’m attached to this need to float, instead of going with the flow. Fighting the inevitable won’t help much, so I better come to terms with it.”

    Being the reason I can’t float is an undesirable position. The alternative, desirable and admirable, position would be, “I’m the reason I sink so gracefully.”