Being Together

August 10, 2009 § 6 Comments

“We can be human only in fellowship, in community, in justice and peace.  We need each other to become truly free,”  Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.   This quote has special resonance because I’m still fresh from the experience of  spending Saturday evening at the Orchard House Cafe in Manhattan.  The event kicked off Parabola’s latest issue, The Path.  There were stories, songs, and a wonderful live performance (accompanied by hand drums) of an extraordinary poem by the French spiritual seeker Rene Daumal.  Roger Lipsey,  who read aloud some of Daumal’s letters, said Daumal’s words didn’t seem to want to stay on the page, that they seemed to be made to be spoken.   Listening to them, I understood although I’m hard pressed to say what I received.  There was a dimension, a world of micro (or nano?) impressions about his effort and aspiration that didn’t get reading his poetry on the page.  How good it was to be there listening with others!  All evening, even when I had to speak briefly and was nervous, I had impressions of being supported and liberated by being with others.    In my last blog post, I wrote about receiving an impression of  myself in a moment of being really hurt and angry, and how that pushed me out of the ordinary groove of thought and opened me up to a new impression.  Someone wrote an interesting response to that blog that touched on what it can be like to have the light of awareness illuminate some of ideas and feelings about the world that are submerged like old sunken ships in depths of ourselves.   At the Orchard House on Saturday, I realized that being with others (especially the kind who would travel there to hear a poem with the refrain “Remember”) can open us up to a truth that is higher and finer and quicker and more alive than anything any of us could climb up to on our own.

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§ 6 Responses to Being Together

  • artxulan says:

    Tracy’s comments about being together is a reminder, thankfully, once again that what transmits meaning in the words of another is a quality of feeling that is evoked in me by the way another’s experience is related.

    It has been said that real art evokes the same feelings in everyone.

    • tracycochran says:

      Yes, another quality of feeling was evoked in me hearing the spoken words. I’ve read that real or “objective” art evokes the same feelings in everyone. I also picked up somewhere that Gurdjieff believed that the beautiful Chinese Lohan statues of figures sitting in meditation are examples of this kind of art. There are two Lohans (not to be confused with the unfortunate celebrity Lohans) in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, in a room just beyond the vast hall of Buddhas. Whether the rumor is true of not, sitting in front of the “elder” of the two is like sitting in front of a great teacher. Such a vibration! From the first time I beheld it, I had the impression that it was made to be a transmitter of the dharma–like a radio transmitter–and the note explaining that these statues were found hidden in caves seemed to support my sense. These “teachers” were planted there for an unknown future.

      • Michael Hall says:

        Just thank you for the reminder and for, I suppose, a kind of confirmation. I felt the same way in the presence of the Lohans at the Metropolitan. When I saw them (many years ago) they were arranged with the younger one sitting at the right (?) of the elder, with face turned toward him. I think this younger one was feeling the same way.

  • Tracy Cochran says:

    They are still sitting there, just as you describe.

  • Στέφανος Ελμάζης says:

    I have not see the Lohan in the Museum of New York, but from what you confirm, I can say that there is the same feeling with the Lohan in the British Museum in London.
    Also, there is an old edition (1925) of the British Museum, titled ”Chinese Pottery Statue of a Lohan”, that reveals more…

  • Stefanos Elmazis says:

    I have not see the Lohan in the Museum of New York, but from what you confirm, I can say that there is the same feeling with the Lohan in the British Museum in London.
    Also, there is an old edition (1925) of the British Museum, titled ”Chinese Pottery Statue of a Lohan”, that reveals more…

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