I love to wander. I think I learned to wander – to walk, really! – when I got slowed down enough to move to, and live in, Venice, Italy, for a few years beginning in the stormy winter of 1987 when I moved to Europe in my search “for the Truth” as I put it to myself then.
Walking those ancient stones, you passed along towering, shadowed walls that embraced you as you tentatively moved into, along and between them, a little lost and, at night, “un po nervosa (“a little nervous!”) And always, it seemed, there was the rythmic lap-lapping of the canal waters as a gondola or a vaparato (water bus) slipped serenely past and disapeared into the fog. Ah, and the thick damp air that alternately smelled like urine, then the sea, then perhaps dinner, as you threaded your way home over stone hump-back bridges.
Well, one day a few weeks after moving there, as I wandered down a narrow, shoulder-wide calle (alley) quite near my home, I happened to go inside an ancient 15th. Century “Scuola San Rocco” wherein I discovered massive, timbered walls and dimly lit, ornately hand carved wooden picture frames with sturdy torch holders wherein was presented the worlds finest collection of very very large oil paintings painted in situ by one Jacopo Tinteretto (1518 to 1594). (One of which, shown above, I was to hover near and contemplate many times in the half-light of that long winter of my discontent)
One of the things Tinteretto revealed to me in my visits, was his sublime ability to capture the intensity and variety of human emotions with light and especially, darkness. He accomplished this in an almost overwhelming, anguishing and brilliantly contrasted “coloratura” – perhaps more than any other Renaissance Italian painter. So that’s why I chose the above to illustrate our theme of getting to know our self nature by available light. (btw, this fabulous ancient Scuola turned out to be just five doors down from the calle where we lived.)
Showing myself to me.
* Where my wandering grandad might’ve carried a pocket knife, today I carry a little retractable pocket pen. And a little “box of matches” aka my well worn leather note pad. Like him, I’m an occasional possier, ambler and saunterer, ala Walt Whitman; a whittler of words and singer of songs, and I’d like to share a few notes here with you …along with a delightful white bumper sticker I can see on my neighbors car: “All who wander are not lost”
To Jerry, a bird song.
* I am not an old man,
not young it’s true.
I am not the man
I used to think I knew.
I am a bird on a branch
high up an apple tree.
I sing this song to you,
I sing this song to me.
The sun light meets
the waterfall mist below,
My Spirit dances and delights
In what it doesn’t need to know
No thought about where I’m not
no fight remains to be fought,
I’m just sitting here singing
In this sunny little sunny spot
Sitting here singing
in this sunny little sunny spot.
I am you, flitting everywhere,
our life is in every tree.
Our singing echoes in silent reverie
telling my self you are me.
Telling my self you are me.
Singing in this sunny little sunny spot.
High up an apple tree.
telling my self you are me.
You, are me.
* Aware living: its nature is love, its expression is in loving.
* In lieu of compassion, our collective ego has invented a faint feeling it calls “conscience”. Perhaps this election will bring some clarity about our natural goodness. Perhaps, as the Leonard Cohen song suggests: “Democracy is coming to the USA!”
* “Where there is no truth, there is no love.” Annapurna Devi
* Mind maintains itself in opposites – in opposition, division, comparison and conclusion.
* Whole loaf living means you eat everything life serves up.
* Much of reality is hidden behind a light veil woven with a little truth.
* We’ve become aliens to our own self, our nature and our planet. That ends when we see and acknowledge it, and a kind of sustainable redemption emerges. Then, like a patient recovering after a coronary by-pass, we may wake up with a new heart.
* Happiness does not require things or events to be happy.
* Life isn’t something to figure out, but rather, to follow.
* “That which cannot be discribed by anyone, that is truth.” Swami Premananda Baba
* Morbidity comes with most forms of arrested movement. So it helps our health and well-being not to conclude. To be open to constant change – to what’s actually happening!
* When you love your enemies, you don’t have any.
* We see clear through to the bottom of our self nature by resting in silence. By letting “beliefs” settle out, we keep the inner water (ancient symbol of truth) of our hearts and minds clear. In this respect, it helps to “catch and release” thoughts, like fish. Thoughts, words, concepts – beliefs – lose their power to distort reality with their descriptions about it.
* Stand by your inner window every day – that’s where the light is. 🙂