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Excerpt from Dreams

Disappearance of Control (p. 377)

From chapter "Wisdom"

Early in this book I wrote that “the disappearance of control is often a marker for when I’ve fallen asleep. . . . That’s the moment the dream begins. That’s the moment I lose control.” I think that’s true not only of dreams, but of art. The best art, the best writing, as any artist, any writer, knows, comes not from the artist, not from the writer, but from the muse, and from the piece itself. Faulkner clearly knew this. Rudyard Kipling clearly did, too, as when he wrote, “When your Daemon is in charge, do not try to think consciously. Drift, wait, and obey.”And Hesse knew this, as shown in his line, “That was what dreams and truly great works of art had in common. Mystery.”That’s how art works. That’s how art is. That’s how art lives. And that is one way muses and others manifest here, on this side. Through us. It’s as Carl Jung wrote, “The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.”

We walk through the pages of a living book, a living painting, a living dream, a living life, follow trails of words or pigment or follow whispers and glimmers and hints of sounds or images or memories, of a big old bear with one trap-ruined foot, of childhood, of a land, always a land, who speaks to you, guides you, in and among and through that dream, in and among and through that life, in and among and through openness to muses and to others, to places far beyond and beneath and above anything we can see or create, through passageways and trails that (who) don’t lead from a to b but open out to here, or here, or here, or here, that do not only take us to b, if they even take us to b at all, but take us to where the trail itself is the story, take us to where the dream is the experience, is the opening and foundation for confusion, clarity, transformation, mystery, truth, wisdom, and as close as we can get to why we are here, and as close as we can get to reality, to dream, to life.

For this is true not only of art, but of life. The moment we give up on attempting to control life, the moment we realize that we cannot control life, is the moment we enter into life. Of course I do not mean the sort of pathetic and indefensible giving up of control that pacifies, and in this culture of the living dead, that passes for spirituality, where those too craven to reinhabit their lives, those too craven to resist this culture’s murder of the planet and too dishonest to admit their own cowardice, complicity, and indeed culpability in the failure to stop or even realistically attempt to stop planetary murder, claim to be giving up control when the truth is they are simply not trying. There is a difference. These cowards, these living dead, are disengaged, and their pretense of giving up control comes down to not caring. The living form of giving up control, which includes resistance, is fully engaged, falling into circumstances, falling into life, and acting from amidst these others, these living others, these others who may be swirling so fast around us that we can barely see them, or swirling so slow we almost cannot see them swirl. But the point is to be engaged, letting life spin you, letting life carry you aloft or knock you down, yet still swirling, yourself, in ways that only you can, that only you ever have, that only you ever will.