There’s always a little flutter in my heart on Feb. 2. Not because it’s Groundhog Day, as it is called in America. No, it’s because on this day in 1882 James Joyce was born in Dublin. Joyce’s art and life’s work are like nothing else I’ve ever known, and the deep spirituality of Joyce and his creations have had a profound influence on my own practice, life and art.
Today I’m thinking of one of my favorite quotes from his great novel, Ulysses:
We walk through ourselves meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.
And I’m thinking ever-so wistfully how different the world would be if we all saw this – I am you and you are me – and lived our lives accordingly.
If we did, no one would be building walls, banning refugees, insulting people « different » than us, bullying, abusing, disdaining basic courtesy and decency, totally lacking humility, blindly exploiting the earth’s resources, profiting at the expense of others, endlessly and ignorantly cultivating division, greed, anger, ignorance. We wouldn’t be watching a callous, narcissistic xenophobe act out his deluded fantasies in the most powerful government office in the world, threatening us all with the gravest of dangers. Of course, if I am you and you are me, we are also him and he is us. That’s where I am tonight, still looking at myself to see him and still looking at him to see me.
Meanwhile, happy 135th birthday, Mr. Joyce.
Going to the stil point, where we see both sides of the coin? The whole?
What would Nelson Mandela tell us?
As I was filling-in my name and email and website on the fields just before this « comment » sections I had a completely different ideia of what I wanted to write here. When I saw the « website » field I was reminded of a blog where I use to write blurb now and then and where I haven’t written for a while now. Going there I see my June’s post, just after the UK referendum results came out. The tile is « Love conquers hate », a slogan used by/for the Equal rights campain. Reading my own words brought me back… and forward!
I have been so angry and feeling frustrated and impotent at all of what is hapenning at the moment here and there and everywhere. Angryness takes over me so often I feel like suffocating. This doesn’t do me any good, though.
Reading my own words now again, and Joyce’s quote, is like a wake-up call. « I am you and you are me » is an act of love and love conquers hate and anger. It’s so hard though, to even start thinking of that idea in face of the world’s current affairs but it is needed in order to move positively forward. Delusions are inexaustible and I vow(ed) to put an end to them. I’ll try at least.
Eckhart said we are nothing without God – but God is also nothing without us.
Theresa of Avila said something like we are Gods hand and feet.
My biggest practical question:
what about « how to act in the world? »
– He is acting his way
– How do i act? how do i relate to this in the world?
reading your text:
– do i not react anymore? Do i just look without action?Do i become apathic?
– Can i be me and do what i have to do as me? Play my part in this situation. Looking at myself and knowing what i am doing.
(not on automatic pilot)
This is the fundamental question on how the spiritual relates to the everyday life.
I have this discussion with someone on Etty Hillesum about this.
– she did not react
(- she went liberally to the camps when her friend became very ill)
(- she chose not to go to the camps in the same wagon with her parents.)
« …still looking at myself to see him and still looking at him to see me. »
This is very often my own thought most of the times i hear his words or see his actions. We are all living one of the greatest lessons of Life. I hope we learn our lesson well, be good students, so that we don’t have to repeat it. And it causes me great discomfort to see him knowing that he exists in me. but i must hope and believe in the power of me in him.