Sunday, September 13, 2015

In the Buried Treasure

In the Buried Treasure story, a person called Lazy, goes in search of a new spring, that flow coming fresh of the earth.  The spring appears in the rush of a runaway horse mounted by a spirit being. This event summons a hidden depth from the searcher who responds by twirling, catching the bit in the mouth of the galloping horse, and stilling the charge.
   What a tale! The life spring, explosive horsepower, throbbing stillness. Good stories charge us with translating the generative images into lived experience. So I’m playing with translating the image shown above into one with me and our horse, Leg’cy. Here goes:

   When phenomenologists like Max van Manen focus our attention on “lived experience,” we glimpse layers of meaningfulness, and sometimes we yearn to go deeper. Playing with images offers one way to invite the movement toward our buried treasures. To do this, I draft the moment in the story (using Sketchbook Express) and then substitute real-life photos.
   This composing supports my reflecting upon this moment in the story. I actively wonder about how Lazy meets the horse and rider. Should I put a figure in for the rider or is it within the spirit of the horse? In translating across story into experience, I’m wondering how I might find more horsepower, perhaps from the spirit world flowing into everyday.
   Buried Treasure offers revelation and unveiling of that which is most precious. One of the veils consists simply in labels that are accepted. In Strangers to Ourselves, Timothy Wilson’s “adaptive unconscious” articulates the way unexamined cultural biases blind us. “Lazy” appears to be one of those projected labels used by a dominant force to discredit the “other.”  What if we’re veiled from seeing the runaway horse because we’re turned away from the force, and what if revelation is just an imagination away?
   How does the buried treasure translate into our lived experience? Might it be that “sohbet,” the mystical conversation, flows from the other world as much if not more so over morning coffee on our deck as it does in travel to the holy shrine in distant lands?  Public accolades might transport less of bliss than the laughter of children, the blink of insight glimpsed in the eyes of adults during a shared story.
   I need frequent wake-up calls along the lines of Jung’s disclosure that it’s the “inferior” function entering ecstasy, not the dominant. For me, this is to trust “felt sense” enough to dedicate a ride with Leg’cy while giving the analytical mind a rest. A priority given to photography and refining images in Sketchbook Express or digital media production opens imaginations and removes blinders imposed by hegemonic systems in the workplace, in pewed religions, in sold sports. My dominant thinking function isn’t thrown away, but it gives way while other knowings, perhaps more meditative ones that seem lazy to “higher-level” scientific method, find insight, sometimes in a flash. Later, the rested dominant function serves a valuable part in articulating the insight.
   Buried Treasure serves to remind me of the way the discovery dimension moves into grace. We can enter liminal space, where the dominant parts dare not venture, where boundaries of the world show rainbows of light in mist. N. Scott Momaday muses about the nature of story in the midst of his beautiful volume, The Bear’s House: “Grace is the substance of story, albeit invisible and remote. Grace is the soul of story./ It is a presence without its mask./ Or perhaps a mask behind which there is no presence. . . nothing, only silence, a perfect stillness” (p. 37).
   Reflecting on this, I wonder: Peace in the Great Mystery. A buried treasure: the gift of holding inspiration…  **Spoiler Alert** I’m about to reveal part of the Buried Treasure that might lessen the effect if you haven’t heard it. My version of the tale is on Diane Wolkstein’s version, “The Tatema,” is in Lazy Tales. I’ve traced the print source further back to Wilson Hudson’s The Healer of Los Olmos and Other Mexican Lore.
   In the story, the one who meets up with the horse is given a buried treasure; the gift aligns with a faith that God gives even if God has to push it in the window. Before long, silver coins flow into their home, through Lazy’s window.  In my work/play with this story, a deepened sense of the grace of life’s blessings flows through the unveiling: the joy of horsemanship, loving the class I teach, storytelling, the presence of beloved friends and family.