My Student Letter
It hardly seems worth it and at the same time the point of all this really, all this teeming world, to go on about anything in particular what with all this everything we’re continually in the face of, but it may be that someone, somewhere, sometime would find this helpful, and if there is really any reason to write at all, it is for that my heart says write, however much my head says what’s the point. The two often see things differently, but my heart, stuck down there somewhere beating about in the point blank of whatever it is my head can’t seem to get it hands on, is the better pilot, so I let it lead here and listen to it telling me to write, by all means write, whether or not there will ever be anyone who reads this.
We are faced today in the beginning of the twenty-first century with so much information that knowledge, essential vision of the why and how of things, has ceased to be that and has become nothing more than scrapes of information equal in value to any other bit there is so much of it at our fingertips, and wisdom, the crown and cap of knowledge, what knowledge becomes when it transcends itself and is the simple bright knowing of the best way we can use knowledge, best not only for us personally but for all parties, has almost left the field entirely due to it now being considered more a belief than a knowing. In this uncertain field I sit and write, and believe it or not I might have some useful information for you, and before you click on to something more instant, read on, as you could find that to be the case.
Pick us some new Blackberries.
Now who said that?
I’d like to introduce you to the muse, in this case of poetry, which, in its larger context, is part of the inner vision facility, or internal guidance system, or simply the creative reflex as I tend to look at it, since, like dream, which is also part of that matrix, it’s much more creative and spontaneously generating than it is reliably true, maddeningly so. It’s the particular in all this everything I’m writing about, and this is as much a warning as it is an enthusiastic introduction. I have a large volume of such poetry, or two or three smaller ones, depending on the degree to which you divide things, and unfortunately the poetry does not seem to fit either the contemporary literary or spiritual mindset (the religious mind is just too set), even though (more probably because) the poems are all about the very stuff of both as they express themselves today. It’s the particular slant of the muse to be literary spiritual, an oxymoron by today’s standards, and neither milieu has much tolerance for an iconoclast (what a muse poet is you don’t water it down with the good ole boy of the mind). Some, like Emily Dickinson, beat around the bush about the undiscovered continent with the grace of a hummingbird; others, such as William Blake, strip from us our innocence and do that by marrying heaven with hell, and still others, like Rumi, almost come right out and show us this sun in the voice of its handmaid and scribe.
Take the example above of my muse. The poetry, laden with metaphor, word play, ambiguity or resonance, euphony, and the like, as is characteristic of the muse of poetry, naturally since that’s the fountainhead of poetry and its technique, characteristically evolving poetry further in the verse of whatever poet actually literally listens to it (which often times also means the present poetry world of the day won’t listen to those poets), takes over from my prose in which I was saying I might have something useful for you. To understand what the muse is saying, or my creative reflex, to remind you you’re not hearing any ultimate truth but something of truth that has been filtered down through all that is me, certainly not the biggest truth of existence, let me explain that for the longest time on what is known as the spiritual path, to give a name to something that really doesn’t exist in the sense that, that’s what life is pure and simple, the whole point has seemed to be to become somebody spiritually great, some splendid name, that others follow. Just get a little spiritual knowledge, open the hidden wellsprings of the Spirit in yourself just a little bit, and see where you tend to go with it if you don’t believe me. (I’ve had the fortune to have a very ugly disability, and that has kept me from being anything other than a poet, a claim not without its own pretensions, as well has made me dig ever deeper into the why and how of the whole thing, and I mean by that both life and the muse.) On the other end, see what you do if you encounter someone and are pretty sure they’ve gotten something of that knowledge, opened even a trickle of those wellsprings (unless of course they’re offensively ugly). We are apt to venerate them. The verse seems to be saying something new is afoot, something more solution oriented than simply pointing out the hidden spiritual ego in our aim, more evolutionary, as I’m writing not so much to a general audience or even a literary one but more to people on the spiritual path, and what that new something is I hope will become more visible as I write.
Before I go on let me, for the purposes of this writing, differentiate between the terms religion and spirituality, which are often used interchangeably. Now, I’m no one to define anything as great as what these things mean, so let me also add that much greater people than I have made the same distinction. Of course it should also be noted that there aren’t cut and dried borders between things in the inner world as our mind likes to divide things in the outer, and so any definition is apt to be a least a little arbitrary at best. Spirituality refers to the direct, personal, inner experience of what’s higher, as opposed to horizontal experiences such as E.S.P., lucid dreaming and dream travel, voices and visions (the creative reflex), out of body and near death experiences (unless of course in any of these you have a spiritual experience, which I define below), and experiences of the lower, which would include anything of the former if the experience has taken you down into the lower worlds or given you contact with them. Such horizontal and lower experiences are often confused with spiritual experiences, since they are inner experience, but in a spiritual experience you’ve had a direct contact with what is higher than the world of the human ego, not, and here’s the tricky part, just seen it or heard it as something outside of you in your inner world, but, for however long the experience lasts, you’ve risen up there with the very stuff of your identity, and you are not exactly the same person when you return because, whether you want to be or not, you’ve become a spiritual aspirant, and you move your whole life in the direction of getting back up there.
On the other hand, religion refers to the beliefs, cult, and ritual practices concerning or directed towards the higher and is more often than not a result of a seer’s (someone who sees the unseen) or a group of seers’ spiritual experiences along a certain distinguishable line of the higher, a seer or group usually but not always long departed. In this sense, spirituality gives birth to religion but not usually the other way around, unless there are people (seers) in a religion having direct, personal, inner contact with that line of the higher in the same concrete way its founders had, and the religion is ever changing and adapting to the new revelation and not calling it heresy as is usually the case. Wide-open investigative spirituality not at least partially under the roof of some religion or spiritual system is a rare bird, not so much because we as humans are by our nature herd sour (we are), but more because if you are having or have had direct, personal, inner experience of the higher you need a reference point and guidance; otherwise you’re for all intents and purposes dead meat, since the difficulties on the way at its razor path pitches far exceed mere human capacities.
I have a teacher (departed and dual, a man and a woman, since when I encounter one there the other is also) and operate within the confines of a particular school of the science of Indian yoga, a spiritual system and not a religion per se, but it does have its beliefs, cult, and ritual practices that certainly make it resemble one, only, the whole point of yoga, if it’s not merely the exercise variety, is to have direct experience of the higher to the point you realize some status of that, become yoked to it as in union, but I’m putting the cart before the horse, where I’m going with this writing before I write the effort to get there, a common mistake on the spiritual path in general.
Will you tell me what the red solution to the world is?
Think of this as our people.
All medium rare.
From a certain perspective, and many put forth this perspective nowadays, there is no search necessary since we are all (underneath it all) enlightened, realized, divine, or whatever you care to call it. There’s a catch though: it’s not manifested is it? If you can admit that to yourself (if you can’t click on to something more instant) then you have to point your pilgrim feet in some direction or another to get that to manifest. But what direction, i.e. what must I do and not do? Is there anyone that can teach me? There’s a popular saying on the path that I don’t think most realize is a profound truth: when the student is ready the teacher will come, or, if I may amplify it and bring out some of its hidden meaning: when you have searched the high and low of yourself and have come to that wild place where your trials and errors are making a disturbing racket on the inner planes and are threatening to add only more confusion to the outer world than there already is, some teacher will have compassion on you and come and help, and (adding an add on) with an everything falls into heart-felt place shock you realize they’d been there secretly all along, and that’s how you know they’re your teacher. If they don’t have the capacity to come to you both from your inner world and outer life, then they aren’t a teacher in the true meaning of that word. If you haven’t opened your inner consciousness to the point you can hear and see them on the inside when they do come, then you simply aren’t ready yet. And if, when they do come and you hear their arrival in the beats of your heart and see it in the stars in the sky, they want you to exalt their name and spread it to the ends of the earth, then tell them to get lost. A true teacher will help you connect to your own inner teacher, get you more and more to stand on your own two feet, rather than want you to carry them around all the time. Most people today, and many of their teachers, would not fit into the inner criteria and might even be hard pressed to know what exactly I’m talking about.
Mainstream contemporary Western spirituality, it in itself apart from religious spirituality and its esoteric traditions, would I imagine hold as a sublime truth the Buddhist teaching story of a monk meditating and excitedly telling his master a golden Buddha is appearing before him. “Ignore it, and it’ll go away,” the master replies, and in that reply shows you how to turn off, how everybody turns off, the inner teacher’s PA system, i.e. the muse, by not giving it any attention. I doubt there’s a person on the planet that has not heard at least once the inner voice or, apart from the total immersion of a dream, seen a vision as they wake up or go to sleep. Like the master in the story, modern society on the whole puts no value on such things and so ignores them. Fortunately that inner guide has other means at its disposal we are apt to pay more attention to because they’re harder to ignore: lucid dreams or any dream that just wops you over the head, synchronicities of your inner world with your outer life, out of body and near death experiences, and other manifestations of the inner consciousness that have such an impact on your outer life you begin to suspect from that inner the outer arises and not the other way around as we are all led to believe by the rather dominating position the outer world has on our attention.
Returning to the story, which most probably is not a true story but was made up to make a point, and consequently the golden Buddha wouldn’t be an inner symbol in the truth sense of one, allow me to interpret it as if it were a vision a meditating monk had, since even in fiction the maker of all stories has a hand, and some symbol of something true can be seen, as in that story of stories, the outer world, if you can follow me here. Say that monk had finally gotten to that place of quiet in his mind where he was no longer following his thoughts, and they were beginning to subside like a retreating sea, though they still lolled in muffled trains on the tracks of his mind but without any engineer to give them a destiny, a place from where he could see far off in the distance of mind-space the shivering entrance to the tunnel of Silence, a place in years and years of meditation he’d never gotten to before, and since there he was finally behind his thinking mind the inner guide could give him some encouragement in the form of the appearance of a Buddha of gold, as if to say, “That’s right. Keep going. You’re on the right track.” But he was a rather dull monk and had no mind for symbolism or any knowledge whatsoever of either the inner teacher or the representative way it teaches with a master equally dull and ignorant, and so the meaning of the golden Buddha was lost, and it only served to be the distraction both made it. I’m speaking from experience here, since I do every so often reach that clear space on the spiritual path where what I’m walking towards becomes more real to me than the road and all this world I’m walking on, and I’ll have a vision of the sun bursting through the clouds or a mountain looming up out of mist and know, for the moment at least, all is well with my soul.
Seen from afar, an occasional uttering of words that, however ridiculous it sounds, seems to mean something or another, and a rare sight of scenes moving or still that, however strange they appear, show something or another, or the two combined, often oddly, coming from the inner consciousness not from a dream, just look to be like dream does some bizarre firing off of your mind bound to occur as you unconsciously chew on the world and all the sights and sounds that have flooded your senses recently. When you see it up close, however, you stagger backwards in disbelief, as what you’re looking at is the universe stealing in through your back door. It’s not such a clear picture from dream so filled dream is with personal subconscious things much of the time (or at least the part of the night many are likely to remember any from, which is just after falling asleep and right before waking), and dream is the most basic, standard, no frills attached, no effort required model of the inner vision facility or creative reflex, unless you develop dream, which is where I started, since it’s the most visible entrance into the inner consciousness, or to the universe, depending on how look at it, but when you do develop dream other portals become visible, and the creative reflex flowers proportionately.
Now, I cannot prove to you by argument the cosmos is your backyard, but if you turn your attention and concentration one hundred and eighty degrees around from where people normally put it, which is the outer world, and spend several eye-opening years exploring your inner life, making sure you continue to give equal time to your outer life (that is very important), you and the universe are bound to collide, and you’ll come to realize that, while your front faces the world of daily affairs, your back is secretly open to infinity. When you’re on the spiritual path that is all well and good and needful to know, but you aren’t interested in an out of body guide to the galaxy, how many space aliens can dance on the tip of your pen, or the coming earth changes from the soon to occur passing of mega-planet X, or even of finally being recognized as the messiah or at least a prophet of such grace and power that even the atheist, on hearing your words, would say in their heart there is a God (who on the path hasn’t let one of those thoughts slip in?). It’s guidance you want pure and simple.
When you stand back and look at everything, especially when you try and write about anything, pen something down as it were, particulars blur into relativity there is so much interconnectivity between particulars. Take the creative reflex I’m trying to describe (and at the same time give you some sense of how to fashion out of it spiritual guidance). On our highest tops with it we are directing into place all the forms that rise pellmell from the sleep of our lowest bottom, the mysterious Void, in effect creating the world, so it’s not so easy to pen down. To get some vague notion of that, think about the ever changing world of any dream. It’s something so common I don’t think many of us appreciate the magnitude of creation a simple dream entails: a sunrise or flood for example, a city and all its business of detail, the body you have and all the other bodies you encounter, and I could go on for infinity. Are those things made of atoms? Anyway, that same creative reflex creating the world of dream can also be harnessed to create art, fine tuned into the muse, what inspiration is at its wellspring. Inspiration is not a popular notion in art today, downright heresy actually, due to the sometimes heroic, sometimes cowardly struggle art has had in trying to divorce itself from religion, particularly in the West, as the very notion of inspiration suggests something higher than us inspiring us. We would not be able to placate those aesthetic egos by saying that the something higher is none other than us beyond Space and Time inspiring the creation of all of existence. Such would only dig the hole deeper than it already is I’m afraid, offending even most religious sensibilities.
So let’s just admit (shall we?) that down here in the relativity of it all, in the bowels of one of these phenomenal worlds, there are higher beings than us around to help and inspire us (call them teachers, gods and their scribe angels, or whatever you’d like –God himself being a being a bit big for us to hear or see not dressed as one or more of his living attributes, who will always call themselves God since to the limits of our understanding they are; just be careful because you’re on holy ground around here and not on a pedestal), and not only that, their help has nothing to do with aggrandizing our ego, making it successful or anything like that, or of even giving our ego fine aesthetic taste, but has everything to do with getting us beyond all ego and become what we are in our essence, underneath it all, which, if you’re on the spiritual path, whatever you call it, you wouldn’t call it Ode to Ego Methinks I Am.
That those divine muses do this in such a bottoms up way our own essence becomes the generating matrix for the guidance, or the creation of our art, depending upon whether or not you’ve been following all I’ve been saying and are now ready to reunite art with the search for truth, poetry with the soul (or at least let them be friends again in print, paint, film, music or whatever medium), is I think the greatest miracle of all because the guidance you end of getting in all that divine alchemy is from none other than who you are in truth, and no one knows you better and what you need than your own soul, or the suchness in yourself, if you’re uncomfortable with the notion of any reality in all this relativity, although I would strongly suggest first going all the way down (via dream or other portal) to the deepest most hidden part of yourself and personally encounter your soul before you adopt the belief that it doesn’t exist, or even before you believe surely that it does, since it in itself is liable to be quite different than your adopted belief about it, and to get that really good bottoms up guidance, bottom in the sense of the soul not the Void, it helps to have taken your bucket (your conscious) all the way down to the well of soul if you want the water drawn from there, living water fresh with this moment in your life right now.
So, to cut to the chase: if you want to make out of your creative reflex a vehicle of guidance I’m afraid there’s no short cut. You’ll have to have opened your inner consciousness to the point the inner voice becomes often audible, vision often visible, and the best place to begin is where most people hear and see such things: as they wake up and go to sleep. You have to prolong those times, keeping your consciousness focused on the inside, the land below the waves the ancients called it, and not allow your thinking mind to kick in and bring you out of the water of the inner being into the state of being fully awake or allow yourself to loss consciousness and go to sleep, no small feat, since it involves keeping yourself from thinking thoughts as much as possible, a passivity of mind few can maintain for long unless they are all the way in the Silence where there is no longer an I to follow them and no effort needed to keep them at bay, a state you do sometimes approach like a high flying pilot getting a sudden view of Space. (When and if that happens drop what you’re doing and go for the Silence, since that’s where the guidance is taking you if it’s worth its salt –even further if it’s worth gold–, not an easy target by any means no matter how close you are, how many stars you can count.) People on the spiritual path who meditate know that the concentration required to keep yourself from following your thoughts is difficult to maintain, but as you practice it gets much easier, since you learn eventually to go inside, below the waves of the waking mind as it were, where your body feels heavy or is buzzing if you feel it at all, and your consciousness feels like it’s being pulled or held inside, a place you can learn to fall into anytime you lay back in yourself a little bit, and in the inner consciousness you can hear and see its voices and visions, something I suspect a lot more people on the path know about than talk about, use and never let on they do.
Are you just so dumb you wear wars?
Responding me to Nature’s call.
Well you got it.
I had a dream before dawn this morning where I was in a gym/science class, a strange combination of things common to dream. Going on a break I went off and left my electric typewriter in the classroom (in waking life I don’t use one but compose prose on a PC and poetry with a pen and flashlight). Realizing my mistake I quickly went back to the classroom but found the typewriter missing. I went and got my parents, screaming that someone had stolen it, and returned to the classroom with them, which had suddenly become my teacher’s office –another common feature of dream: shape shifting. I think it was my mom who looked under the desk and found it safe in its case, and as she handed it to me she told me I shouldn’t get so upset because it hadn’t been stolen after all. Then I looked at my teacher’s typewriter, identical to mine in every detail except it wasn’t made of plastic like mine but of metal, but I knew if I did all my homework and passed the class I’d eventually have a metal one too, and to interpret that let’s just say I realized a student is not greater than his master, not by a long shot, but if you do humble yourself and submit to being taught and at the same time go for what your master got, the whole point of having one to begin with, you’ll eventually get it if grace is present, something you draw to you more the more sincere you are.
To interpret the dream, only generally for the sake of brevity, specifically the main storyline of my typewriter appearing to be stolen, I should tell you you’re fortunate to be reading this, or I am to continue writing it, depending on if you will ever read it and feel lucky in the least, because during the writing of the above poetry unfortunate things happened in my life, not the least of which was facing possible eviction for failure to pay rent three months running. The goings on as a writer writes: they would prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt there is more than a casual connection between a work of writing and the writer’s personal life. Struggling in the midst of all that upset to get quiet, hear my muse, and have faith, not only in the higher but in myself, which at that moment was really waning, the rent got paid (by a friend that had suddenly gotten a tax windfall of the amount of my back rent), and as happens when something like that happens I took heart and carried on, and the poetry that came out of that is more down to earth and real that it would’ve been if all that daily life interference hadn’t happened.
That do it.
Opening the inner consciousness even specifically for guidance is a bit like going at night into some inner-city neighborhood loaded in dough with a neon sign on your back that reads kick me. You’re being up against someone ironclad who wants you to channel their teaching for the new millennium, Look At All These Lies, to the world, or what comes to you from your inner world will be so dark and depressing you just want to kill yourself. These are the first depths, and they snare many if not most. The second depths, a bit more illuminated, shine the light more on you like a spotlight does than the way stadium lights show you you and the entire field, equally, and so you’re also kept in the dark about what matters most: your game, since that spotlight tends to make you appear rather big and important and doesn’t show you your shadows and shades, but in these deeps you’re very good at pointing those out in others. In the third depths you meet the outer world again like you’ve taken a journey in a straight line out from yourself and followed the curve of Space all the way back to where you started, only now you know you are the world as is everybody and everything in it, a rather sobering humbling experience because you see you really are no different than anyone else, every bit as messed up, but you do see and feel sometimes close, sometimes far a presence in the world, call it God or the Relative Absolute, that has made the world for you anything but mundane and business as usual, and this feeling has gotten all the way down to your feet and has quickened them on the spiritual path to realize that presence as something more than fleeting. Here in these deeper depths the guidance you get gets good, though sometimes a bit hard to take because it’s so spot on on what you need to work on (like the unflattering way your mom would tell you to go and take a bath and put on clean underwear when you just came close to her for a moment on your way to some important kid business), but you need a form for it to fit into, one that captures for you guidance in the same way the world and everything in it is a living symbol of that presence, in such a way that the very act of having to interpret the guidance teaches you to interpret that presence in all things, making you walk on your own two feet towards it because you’ve got to stand up out of your stuff, at least for a moment, and figure out what the symbols mean. Art anyone?
Since we are all on our heights inspiring all that is, albeit unknown to ourselves, down here in the thick of it we are all artists in the usual meaning of that term if we can find our talent and the time to develop it, something that becomes more apparent and begins to manifest the closer we get to finding our soul or our suchness, since art will always come out of that search like the world does out of that presence. No particular art is supreme over the others, but if you’re looking for a particularly fit form to give you guidance and capture truth (truth being not as we tend to regard it today as a name to believe in or a dogma to adopt but simply what is actually going on, the why and how), the language of poetry is literally readymade for that, or it is if you’ve fashioned out of your creative reflex the muse and do not make art with the mind or even the heart but with the inner ear and eye, which show you the art of the cosmic mind and heart. It doesn’t matter if you’re a poet or not; you’ll still hear and see poetry in your muse, the inner voice speaking as the inspiration of art, though if you don’t already have a well-developed poetical intelligence, if you haven’t learned the art of poetry both by the writing and reading of it, the verse you’ll get won’t be poetry in the sense of the word, won’t pass muster as art, however much you like it, and it’s best in the beginning and for a long time into it to put the am I a poet question aside and the submitting to Poetry Review Journal Magazine or Spirituality Online. Would that I could take back a lot of my early muse that I prematurely put out in the public eye. I have to warn you; the muse will write itself to people, situations, you name it, and want you with a pressing urgency to send it to them, from the onset, but you have to have the presence of mind to wait until it flowers into art, and we by our nature being so full of ourselves and self-important, all of us I’m afraid, simply cannot be objective enough to know when the bloom is finally ready, and so you’ll make a lot of mistakes with your muse, and that seems to be part of the process. Later on another layer of muse appears, an editorial one, which seems to correspond to that slow change of seasons when your muse blossoms into art.
The muse is quite eclectic and will show you all the forms of art however much one form is shown more than the others because it’s your focus and forte or how much you couldn’t even begin to capture in outer expression the forms it’s showing you that are not. I’m not a painter, but I’ve seen many paintings, and I don’t really play a musical instrument only pluck on the guitar, but I hear a lot of music, some of which I do sing and play because the muse is so insistent that I develop that ability. Once in Paris I even heard a symphony in my head complete with an entire orchestra. It came about as a result of staying with someone that listened to Classical music all the time, because what you fill your eyes and ears with and dwell on with your mind and heart will be the subject of your muse, the substance of your art, so turn off the TV, put down the newspaper, and fill yourself with art if you want to make it, read poetry if you want to write it, and, if you aim to go into the Silence, turn everything off and put everything down whenever and just let the natural sights and sounds around you be your entertainment, a secret passage that can be thrilling for longer and longer moments when you get the hang of it –the presence you see. I have very little interest in architecture except to stand and gape at it when it’s good, but on the Camino of Santiago seeing a lot of that art I saw in vision a cathedral whose front was a semicircle lined with intricate life-size stone statues of all the craftsmen of daily life, plumbers, electricians, nurses, road workers, and on and on. In both the above instances all I could do was look and listen to all that feeling quite inadequate as only a poet, a one trick pony.
It’s impossible to give you a picture of the muse in the two dimensions of writing because it’s not three dimensional as we usually encounter things but four, as it’s coming from that place where seeing is seeing multiple scenes simultaneously, divine vision, and so it comes at you busting at the seams wearing the variety of the universe, and only being able to see one scenario at a time, you can put your attention to very little of that and are able to capture or record even less. And I should warn you not to cry over spilled milk; the one that got away will always be the best one and will always get away. That’s a universal law I think. The lines of poetry that come to you you have to record, and that means learning to be a frog and going back and forth in and out of the inner waters, and so you’ll lose many lines, the best ones more often than not.
Perhaps, though, the most important piece of information about the muse is that it comes in so many pieces from so many places, not whole from one source as you might think (if that is, you are indeed in the third depths open to it all), is not something you’re just given verbatim but something you have to sort through and make out, discernment being the most important handmaid, able not only to tell the true from the false but also art from the art not, which means you end up throwing away more lines than you use, since the great bulk of what you get is grist for the mill. The muse itself, however, will aid in the process, as there’s the presence of what I call an overeditor commenting, in verse or by visual art, a crashed airplane for example if things aren’t going well, on the writing of the poem, and believe it or not you also have at your disposal a sort of line thesaurus, and if you’re not happy with a line (or a section, verse, or even a whole poem), you can reject it and wait for another line to come of the same idea dressed in different clothes, and several more lines will come all the way to the point the antonym of the idea is being expressed. Of course for such mastery over the muse, i.e. the presence of an overeditor and the thesaurus function, and other things too detailed to mention here, you need to be well-versed in your art, putty in the hands of your soul, and you have to be in a place of heightened clarity, not muddled by your life and the world, which for most of us is a lake house we but visit on vacations, as well as the fact the concentration required for such over the top will-directed listening is excruciating, as is just being in the muse in general it takes so much listening will, an openness and passivity in the use of will and not a pulling down as it may sound, an extremely important difference to understand, as you’re not actually waiting on a line of poetry but on the divine to give you what it wills and what you need, which isn’t always the next line of the present poem, something only the word surrender captures. This does not mean you can’t put an intention on the muse, what you have to do to use the thesaurus in the first place, or to redo a section of verse, or to ask it to give you a poem on a certain topic, and this is not a pulling but a waiting with will on whatever the muse would like to bring you in regards to your intention, which, again, is not what you want but what you need, and so often you get something different than you intended.
I need to explain, however, that the clarity and over the top concentration is only for the editing ability, since you can certainly hear your muse if you’re messed up, even dirty as hell, since you can say the main function of the muse is not necessarily to impart truth to you or the world but to get you the listener out of a jam, pull you out of the water because you’re drowning, you being generally not some good and noble person but the type of guy or gal ugly in the eyes of others but who is secretly preparing a beautiful heart-temple for God to inhabit, a secret you hardly even tell yourself, the kind of person the divine is apt to pay more attention to because no one else will, and so you’re open to God, wide open –take my story for example. For its ability to get us out of trouble and defeat the hostile powers the muse was called in India in times passed Agni, the purifying fire, and if you’re an ugly person having just been lead around by the nose by your stuff, the lines do burn like fire as you lay there almost unwillingly listening to them trying to go into the oblivion of sleep. The muse just won’t shut up (the temple in your heart makes sure of that), and eventually, through it all, through every single fall, it carries you safely beyond your stuff into the plentitude of the Spirit, or will if you allow it, since failure, total ruin, is always a present looming possibility. I’m trying to tell you the muse is not exactly what you may think it is, and if you’re listening to it, that doesn’t mean you’re a great guy, but it does mean you’ve done with your concentration what few can: made of it despite yourself and your stuff an open inner ear.
The concentration required for editing, however, returning to that thesaurus, is not something you can do when you’re muddled by your stuff, costs too much to use more than a couple of times in any given listening stretch, a laying or sitting in for only a couple of hours normally so excruciating it is. That’s no matter because the muse can pick up right where it left off, amazingly so, and so poems can come over days or longer. My first muse poem, A Suicide Bomber’s Broken Arrow is Broken, begun in 2001 in Brazil shortly after September 11th (however the poem is not about that particular suicide bombing), formed into a working poem in Paris, posted in this blog, was ten years in the writing, finishing it depending upon further development both as a poet and in the knowledge of life and death, since the speaker is a dead bomber speaking from the other side, literally. For the most part, though, poems really like to come over the course of a night’s sleep, not something you’re all that happy about, waking you up at all the watches of the night so to speak itself. The overeditor is also quite expensive because hearing it means listening to different levels of muse at the same time (levels you won’t for the life of you be able to sort out other than know with your heart the overeditor is concerned with you and the poem with just itself), a feat of concentration you can’t maintain for long since it’s too close to divine multiple vision for our one thing at a time mind to be comfortable grappling with or even all that able to.
It should be apparent by now that your ability to hear and see the muse and record it and make out of it art depends on how much mastery you have over both your craft and your consciousness, your stuff and war with it notwithstanding, since for example if you’re not a developed poet possessed with that innate talent to make language dance with the tip of your pen you won’t get Poetry, or you’ll have to wait and let your muse flower into that, a process that can take years as you study your craft, whatever art is your particular talent to mature, and if you don’t have deep spiritual knowledge that you’ve gotten by spiritual experiences, of the Silence, of the soul, of the divine consciousness, or even wide horizontal knowledge of life and death you’ve acquired by inner or outer travel and going for the heart of Experience in your thought and feeling, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’re spiritually oriented, you’re not suddenly going to be expressing things not in your league to know, and if you do try and express them anyway, or if your creative reflex gives you that I should say, it will come across rather flat and one-sided, take the form, in language, of a strange or awkward prose and will not be possessed with the substance and subtlety of art, since it will not be imbued with the reality of having seen what your symbols mean. Increasingly we’re being bombarded with many volumes of such half-truth expressions, channeled works that usually redefine everything but tell you nothing about how to actually change your consciousness or get out of a tight fix, half in the sense of things only heard and not actually seen, and often consequently also in the sense of their truthness, so much so the muse, the whole notion of inspiration really, is a dog in court. But I have to say not all of these works are for the waste bucket; a few, rare ones that show the divine leading someone out of suffering, conversations or whatnot, despite their often stabbing in the dark, give us needed shallows leading into the deeper experience. Now, it hardly bears mentioning that this ability of which I speak normally comes with a lot of spiritual development, but not with every person that has used the muse extensively to write poetry, watering it down with the mind, spitting out the spiritual bits (is that what they said? an unheard quote of Shakespeare on his muse). Apart from some notable exceptions there’ve been many inspired poets, though,
Blow you there.
I am a treasure hunter.
Secret from our days.