door to the donkey den
Today's movie was made from the Graham Greene novel, Our Man In Havana. Alec Guiness, Burl Ives, Ralph Richardson, Noel Coward, Maureen O'Hara and Ernie Kovacs. 1959. Graham Greene novels tend to make good films. According to my own taste, I find film screenplays made from novels have quite a lot more interesting stories than films made from screenplay as original source. Graham Greene stories make films that have surprise twists and turns, actually written for a very different audience than a straight screenplay. Greene wrote for readers. An original screenplay is for movie goers. This film was made in the time stage actors were making movies like multi-scene plays. I felt like I was watching an acting feast with these London stage actors who were the top dogs of their day. The film was new when I was in high school. It is not something I would have seen. It would have been way over my teenage head. If I did see it when it was new, I probably sat through it thinking: When is something going to happen? I don't believe I could have followed it. I can't even fathom how ignorant I was in the eleventh grade. I'm not exaggerating. I was so ignorant, even I knew it. Asked why I went to college, it wasn't for an office job, but I was so ignorant I needed education. Didn't matter if it was a small southern college instead of Chapel Hill or Athens, Georgia. I needed to learn basics. Grew up in a house where television presided, Kansas fundamentalist church, and public school with no motivation from home other than threats. I had to get away from the mind that led to nowhere, circling in blame and self-pity.
ice in a square bucket
At the bottom of my own pit, the US Navy abducted me for two year active duty, which I hated at the time for taking me out of my life. Those years were spent reading in every spare moment. I had wanted to take Senior English in high school, the most interesting teacher in the school, but it required so much reading, my absence of self-esteem told me I couldn't keep up. And I probably couldn't have. Home amounted to a hornets nest of rage in my head. I kept on that track after I left and found my first apartment. Navy snatched me out of my life and gave me two years to look it over, where I came from and where I'm going. Where I'm going started with education. The very first thing I needed to reenter the world was education. The church had filled my head with such nonsense it took fifteen years to wipe it all away. I had to throw the baby out with the bathwater, unable to separate them. They'd become the same. I came to see religion as another power of the few over the many. I couldn't see beyond the fraudulence of religion. Then, by what was perceived from my side as chance, I came in spirit face to face with Meher Baba. In three days I committed. I came to see God Is. There was no way I could go on living as if God were not. Religion has little to do with God. It is the power of the few over the many. Every religion has become decadent with time, why God returns over and over, as Zoroaster, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and if you'll allow me my own point of view, Meher Baba. His role as a God-man was not to start a new religion, but to reform all the religions until they're like beads on a string. He called himself the Awakener, "I came not to teach, but to awaken." He woke me up out of a torpor I had fallen into without regard for the spirit of life.
I needed to get out of the city where my habit patterns were created. I wanted to live rurally and work manually. I wanted to live alone at the edge of the world as a monk in a monastery of one, follow my own light, study this new zone I'd entered where God is love, not anything else. All that goes with love, like compassion, altruism, justice, God Is. If God is the ocean of love and we are drops of the ocean flying through the air, the drops are still the ocean. I visualize the time in the body like seeing the breakers at the beach, white waves splashing drops of water through the air ahead of them and they fall back into one with the ocean. The flight through the air was illusion of separation while the drop continued to be ocean itself having an experience air surfing. In our flight through the air in the form of a drop, we say, I am I, and then return to I Am. This is as brief as I can make the period of adjustment to a new cosmology: God is love, nothing short of unconditional love. No exceptions. I came to the mountains with this my mental playing field to find my own way to live in this world knowing what I know. I needed to be off to myself to digest it. For about the first twenty years, nobody much knew I was here but the people I knew to work with, neighbors and an old-time religion Regular Baptist church I went to for fourteen years. The preacher of the church, Laurel Glenn, was Millard Pruitt. In the pulpit his only subject was love. Outside the pulpit, love was a four-letter word.
composition in rock and wood
My church now is everyday life and has been for several years. I like to go to a Primitive Baptist meeting from time to time to hear the singing and participate in it, and to hear a Bible scholar's take on the scriptures. There always comes a time I'm expected to be there more often, and then I never go again. I'm not going to join, so I stay away. I can hear the Primitive Baptist hymns on cd at home. I can hear Tibetan hymns on cd at home too. I can hear Islamic sitar music from India on cd at home. First time I heard that old style mountain singing from inside a church where it was going on blew my mind to smithereens and made the tears flow. Two old boys sang a song, Elder Millard Pruitt and Ray Caudill. I don't remember what it was, but an educated guess would make it My Home In Heaven, one they sang with such soul as Ralph Stanley sings Gloryland. They sounded ancient. It was old men singing a hymn they have sung all their lives and knew how to sing like Tommy Jarrell knew how to play Sally Ann on his fiddle. It was ancient like all the way within to tribal times when praises to God were sung by old men around drums, It was primal. It even had an ancient temple feel about it. It was antiquity in its last gasp before fading out. The spirit just faded from the place after Elder Pruitt was unable to preach anymore from the feebleness of old age. Donald Duck cartoons would have been better than his replacement. There came a day I could not push the screen door open to leave the house to go listen to nothing. I realized then, my time there was over.
I've stayed away from religion ever since. I call my path my pilgrim way. I don't mean pilgrim like Cotton Mather and burning psychic women to death. I mean it entirely differently. I mean it one soul in one body walking my own path by Divine guidance keeping me from falling into wells looking at my own reflection. It's kind of like God says, "If that's what you gotta do, its what you gotta do. I'll hold onto your belt so you don't fall in." I tend not to read spiritual sorts of books anymore, and I don't think about God a whole lot as something "out there." I'm finding God in the flow of everyday life, in the people around me, everywhere, the birds, the four-leggeds, all of us animated by love. The butterflies, the toads, the chickens, cats, dogs, donkeys, all animated by love. In this time of the life I'm living by letting go, acting out Don't Worry ~ Be Happy in everyday life. I'm more social in this time than I've ever been. I see more and more that the spirit of God is in other people. I seem to have reached a place where I enjoy just about any sort of person I meet along the way. I feel like I have come to a place where I see the light of life in every living thing, and that light of life is God. It's not like woo-woo, but like everyday life with all the emotions and hormones and defenses that go with it. We're every one of us God in a body having a hard time trying to figure out how to live with it. Of course, God understands; God experiences through our bodies, our senses. God is our consciousness, the self that sees our dreams, sees through our eyes, thinks with our minds, experiences through our senses. This is where I connect with my four-legged friends and everyone I know, the Hindu greeting, Namaste, the God in me greets the God in you. Lord have mercy, who called me to preach?