Monday, October 20, 2014

The Reality of Transformations

What is real? 

To muddle about in the question of “what is real?” here are some considerations:
A. How is Photo 1 real when the image is adjusted in iPhoto (as shown in the adjust window)?

B. How is Photo 2, taken a minute later from a few strides south, more or less real when the image is left unadjusted?

C. How, if at all, can both Photo 1 and Photo 2 be real?

D. How is or is not Van Gogh’s haystack real? Moses’ burning bush?

Perhaps the real comes in transformations. Rumi says that “there never was in the world a treasure without a snake” (Mathnawi, II, 1862, Nicholson’s trans.). And, a few lines later, perhaps in relation to the above photographs, “Do thou the same thing that the sun of the east does with our hypocrisy and craft and thieving and dissimulation.”

For seven weeks, I’ve been practicing an approach to hermeneutical phenomenology (see also my next paragraph) by bringing my sense of Good Stories to the arena. (A recent blog elaborated this, including: “I intentionally carry the development of Good Stories in my body, my heart, and my imagination…to the riding experience.”)  During and following the ride, I’m attending for an essence that I bring into more articulate form by writing the blog and then take the textualized lived-experience/s forward with a continued sense and presence to the next class session and then back to the arena and so on. I wonder if doing this with my craft makes a similar thing to what the sun of the east does?

Van Manen says: “in its most basic form lived experience involves our immediate, pre-reflective consciousness of life: a reflexive or self-given awareness which is, as awareness, unaware of itself” (p. 35, Researching Lived Experience). On the next page, he adds: “The aim of phenomenology is to transform lived experience into a textual expression of its essence—in such a way that the effect of the text is at once a reflexive re-living and a reflective appropriation of something meaningful: a notion by which a reader is powerfully animated in his or her own lived experience.”

When being observed, as teachers are, and even more so when feeling judged, we may become even further distracted and distanced from lived experience.  One reason I ride relates to the consequences around losing and gaining presence; I lean into the vibrancy felt in increasing it. Stunning is the extent to which what is accessible to consciousness goes unseen, inarticulate, like angels unasked.

Concerning the significance of the transformation of consciousness, Jung writes in his foreword to Aion: “My reader should never forget, however, that I am not making a confession of faith or writing a tendentious tract, but am simply considering how certain things could be understood from the standpoint of our modern consciousness—things which I deem it valuable to understand, and which are obviously in danger of being swallowed up in the abyss of incomprehension and oblivion; things, finally, whose understanding would do much to remedy our philosophic disorientation by shedding light on the psychic background and the secret chambers of the soul. The essence of this book was built up gradually, in the course of many years, in countless conversations with people of all ages and all walks of life; with people who in the confusion and uprootedness of our society were likely to lose all contact with the meaning of European culture and to fall into that state of suggestibility which is the occasion and cause of the Utopian mass-psychoses of our time.”

Rumi says, “Don’t be the rider who gallops all night/And never sees the horse that is beneath him” (p. 236, Translated by Robert Bly in The Soul Is Here for Its Own Joy. Ecco, 1995.).

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