I include ‘Buddhism’ and ‘Zen,’ even ‘poetry’ and ‘yoga’ in the tags when I publish one of these mild outbursts, but that isn’t entirely accurate. However, what is a guy to do?
What’s more, chances are you’re reading these words in a relatively alert awakened state, maybe in the morning or afternoon, perhaps later on at night after all the important stuff has been accomplished during the day. All the same, because it’s a pretty good bet you haven’t been awake for 24, 36, or 48 hours.
In ancient days when the shamans had something vital to share preparing the audience or listeners for the message was a crucial part of the ceremony. A highly alert, eminently reasonable state of mind where the critical faculties could maybe overthink the presentation was not conducive to the sort of communication at hand. Mild intoxicants and sleep deprivation, droning notes and drums and a long series of preparatory rituals would be used to weaken the critical mind so that a deeper level of attentiveness was laid bare.
The sort of state Aldous Huxley described in The Doors Of Perception and Alan Watts in The Joyous Cosmology, both seminal works for the drug fuelled excrescence that was the 1960’s. Huxley’s book was published in 1954 while Watts’ saw the psychedelic light of day in 1962. It was a ‘heady’ time, but one largely squandered because the guides weren’t up to the task and mostly ended up either dead, incarcerated, or in hiding away from the crazy excesses.
Remain awake for the next 36 hours and only then read these opening words from the forward to Watts’ classic:
“The Joyous Cosmology is a brilliant arrangement of words describing experiences for which our language has no vocabulary.”
I love that: “experiences for which our language has no vocabulary.”
Ok, ‘a brilliant arrangement of words’ might be a little strong for what goes on here at the Cafe, but the intention is the same.
Again and again….