Saturday, December 13, 2008

Love and light in Shanghai

Today I went to see the Yoko Ono exhibit at the Ke Center in Shanghai. This is Yoko's first solo exhibit in China.

I haven't been to see any of her other installations or shows, so I didn't know what to expect. I can say that this was a perfectly respectable show when compared to other installation art. One piece in particular -- many dozens of coffins with trees growing out of them -- was very striking. I haven't reproduced images here, because I don't have copyright permissions (and am unlikely to get them, since Yoko is not in my current circle of acquaintances.)

Included in the installation was a lengthy video piece about Yoko's work to try to spread a message of love. And although this is of course a horizontal and exoteric message, I think it is a good one, and I think that she is doing a good work in spreading it. In the video she says that the forces of destruction move fast, too fast for the intellectuals to keep up with it. And of course she's correct. Destruction is driven by emotional forces. If we don't tap into an emotional force that goes in the other direction, the intellect will never be able to counter the damage.

While watching the video, I found myself emotionally moved by the forces which wish for us to bring love down to this level. We are, after all, meant to be mediating this creative force of love, receiving it and passing it on. Our inability to do so effectively is a source of great anguish if we come into contact with it at all.

Encapsulated within the entire almost mythical saga of the Beatles in general, and John Lennon in particular, is the myth of creation and destruction. John Lennon's untimely and violent death, contrasted with the essential beauty and positive hope of the message he wanted to spread, speaks of wish, and inability, and loss. Standing in Shanghai nearly 18 years to the day after he was murdered (Dec. 8 1980) , it seems unbelievable that the world has changed so much, and yet remained the same. Paralysis in the face of our own violence continues to astonish us -- witness the recent events in Mumbai -- and no one suspects that the answers to what is needed lie within a man, not in the actions he takes outside of himself.

Of course, it's unrealistic to believe that the whole world will ever start thinking about inner work. I've been reading Michel Conge's "Inner Octaves" (very highly recommended) where he makes the point--among many others, of course -- that there will always be only a few people working in the directions that can actually bring peace. The rest of us are left to flounder as best we can.

Of course it's not bad to devote oneself externally to the work of love and peace, but it is much more important for all of us who understand the arts of inner work and meditation to work to bring down the light from above within ourselves--again, as best we can. Without this effort to bring a positive force down from above and allow it to express itself within life, all the external work in the world will come to nothing.

I was describing an idea about peace to one of the young ladies that works with me -- Rechal -- yesterday in terms of discovering a relationship that is based not on Chinese and American, not on race, not on religion, but on nothing more or less than two human beings in relationship with one another.

In relationship, in the moment, is it possible to meet each other on the common ground of our own humanity?


This question needs to come first. We can discuss love and peace later on. If we don't have a tactile, organic, intellectual, emotional, and physical experience of each other, there will be no love and there will be no peace. We have to experience each other as living creatures first and develop an organic respect for that. If we attempt that work, the possibilities of love and peace follow, as surely as day follows night.

This leads me back, in an admittedly somewhat rambling manner, to the things I have said in recent posts about reevaluating our relationships with one another, about having a new experience of one another that is not based on opposition.

In her own way, using her own abilities, Yoko is asking us to do the same thing. So there is a current on the planet flowing that asks us all to acknowledge a new possibility. No matter who we are, and no matter where we go and what we do, if we remain in front of the question of this new possibility, much good may come of it.

We are here above all to experience love and share it. This experience and sharing of love takes place on many levels, in many different octaves, from the level of all Suns (and even the level of the Creator himself) down to the levels of quantum physics. The whole universe is made out of love. Actually, no matter how crazy everything looks on this level, there isn't anything else there. Every single object, event, and circumstance is a manifestation of love.

Let's all try to keep that in front of us as we go through our day.

May our hearts be opened, and our prayers be heard.

1 comment:

  1. I was reminded of this poem I wrote last week by your post Love and light in Shanghai. I'm glad for the opportunity of sharing it.

    Beloved, let each one of our moves count for something purposeful like a pouring
    pitcher to a hand held glass or a flag picked up by the wind.
    These simple actions can give naturally to the space that love occupies.

    Beloved, let the openness of the morrow arrive today to lengthen this thread of both
    of us together,
    so that in our deeds among others we will never be too far apart.

    Beloved, let the handing over begin of what we love every time it sounds in us, never forgetting that each kiss is returned.
    And in this manner between us, all things will find their rightful place, the sun will heat, the earth will grow, and the moon will eat.

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