Childish Gambino: This is America

 

Donald Glover’s new music video feels iconic and is understandably receiving a great deal of attention.

Why does it feel so iconic? And what is it about?

To me, it feels iconic because of its simplicity, depth, and universal archetypal themes grounded in a specific time and place. There is a strong contrast between the violence and the joyful song and dance. There is a simplicity in that it’s in one setting and mostly shot in one take. It has sincerity, depth, and urgency. The theme is clear but it leaves the interpretation and reflection up to the viewer.

And what is it about? Most obviously, both the violence and the joyful song and dance reflect Black history in the US, and also the current Black experience in the US. Both are part of their history and lives. Beyond that, it’s part of the US culture as a whole, human civilization, and each of us as individuals. It reflects our human experience. We contain and experience both.

It’s interesting that the sequential nature of the video suggests different ways of relating to this. We can bring fleeting attention to the drama of violence and then move on as if nothing happened. (As US society and media seem to do with the current gun violence, and as we as individuals sometimes do in our own lives.) Or we can acknowledge both as part of our history, our lives, humanity as a whole, and us as individuals, and engage with it more intentionally and responsibly and do something about it. Both of these are relatively privileged ways of relating to it.

There is also a third way of relating to it, which is – I imagine – is the reality of many black people in the US. They live with both, and compartmentalize the violence and pain so they can move on with their lives.

Again, it’s a very simple theme. We all know that humans are capable of terrible things and wonderful things. We know both are part of our lives collectively and individually. We know that we often ignore the unpleasant things and move on to the pleasant ones. We know that can be fine in the short run but creates problems in the long run. And yet, we often act and live as if we don’t quite know. And that’s why these reminders are so important, especially as they ignite reflection and discussion as this video is doing right now.

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Why no music during TRE?

 

In most cases, there is no music during a TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) session.

For me, it feels intuitively right with silence during more formal TRE sessions. Why is that?

The music may not fit what comes up for each person, or what “needs” to come up.

Music preferences are very individual. Whatever music played will be liked by some and disliked by others. Occasionally, with more experienced people, this can be interesting. Whatever comes up in relation to the music can be included in the session. For beginners, it may be better with no music.

Any music can be distracting from feeling sensations, looking at mental images, and hearing words.

If I do it on my own, I may do it while music is playing or even while watching a movie. I do it in just about any situation, if it feels right.

Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry

 

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ in me,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me,
Christ with me.

Attributed to St. Patrick, 385-461(translation by Kuno Meyer)

The coming of Patrick to Ireland about the middle of the fifth century initiated the “most peaceful invasion and lasting conquest of all”. This hymn is attributed to Patrick and certainly reflects many of the themes found in Patrick’s thought. The version we have today was likely written in the late 7th or early 8th century. The hymn is a celebration of the wisdom and power of God both in creation and redemption.  It is an excellent example of a lorica — a “breastplate” or corslet of faith recited for the protection of body and soul against all forms of evil — devils, vice, and the evil which humans perpetrate against one another.  The name of the hymn derives from a legend of an incident when the High King of Tara, Loeguire resolved to ambush and kill Patrick and his monks to prevent them from spreading the Christian faith in his kingdom.  As Patrick and his followers approached singing this hymn, the King and his men saw only a herd of wild deer and let them pass by.  The word ‘cry’ also has the sense of a prayer or petition.

From rc.net

Kate Bush: Nocturn

 

Nocturn

[The chorus:]
Sweet dreams…On this Midsummer might
Everyone is sleeping
We go driving into the moonlightCould be in a dream
Our clothes are on the beach
These prints of our feet
Lead right up to the sea
No one, no one is here
No one, no one is here
We stand in the Atlantic
We become panoramic

We tire of the city
We tire of it all
We long for just that something more

Could be in a dream
Our clothes are on the beach
These prints of our feet
Lead right up to the sea
No one, no one is here
No one, no one is here
We stand in the Atlantic
We become panoramic

The stars are caught in our hair
The stars are on our fingers
A veil of diamond dust
Just reach up and touch it
The sky’s above our heads
The sea’s around our legs
In milky, silky water
We swim further and further
We dive down… We dive down

A diamond night, a diamond sea
And a diamond sky…

We dive deeper and deeper
We dive deeper and deeper
Could be we are here
Could be we are in a dream
It came up on the horizon
Rising and rising
In a sea of honey, a sky of honey
A sea of honey, a sky of honey

[The chorus:]
Look at the light, all the time it’s a changing
Look at the light, climbing up the aerial
Bright, white coming alive jumping off the aerial
All the time it’s a changing, like now…
All the time it’s a changing, like then again…
All the time it’s a changing
And all the dreamers are waking

The lyrics of Kate Bush are full of pointers, as a friend of mine also mentioned on Facebook this morning.

This song is especially direct. It’s a reflection of how an initial opening or awakening can be experienced.

It’s a shift into Big Mind recognizing itself as all there is.

We stand in the Atlantic
We become panoramic

The stars are caught in our hair
The stars are on our fingers
A veil of diamond dust
Just reach up and touch it

It’s also a reflection of the elation and awe that comes with this initial opening or awakening.

All the time it’s a changing
And all the dreamers are waking

And it does easily seem this way. Big Mind (Spirit, God, Brahman) notices itself as all there is. It does seem like everything and everyone is awakening, as if Big Mind is awakening to itself through everyone. In a sense, it’s true. That’s what’s happening here, in “my” world. This is what the historical Buddha experienced too. (And it doesn’t mean it’s happening “out there” in others, especially on a large scale.)

Selling my soul to get what I think I want

 

Where do I sell my soul to get what I (think I) want?

Where do I sell out on my integrity, or on following my inner guidance or the voice of the heart?

When I do that, what’s the fear behind it? What’s the fearful image or thought?

If I take that image or thought to inquiry, what do I find? What’s more true for me?

How would it be to live from that? What fears come up when I consider living from it?

Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry

 

 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in me, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me,

Christ with me

– 0 –

The sacred Lorico or Deer’s Cry was composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433. Knowing of an ambush to kill him and his followers, St. Patrick led his men chanting it as they passed through a forest. They were transformed into a deer and twenty fawns, and thus St. Patrick and his men were saved. Pärt composed the work in 2007 and it was first performed in Louth the following year.

– 0 –

This is one of the most beautiful songs I know. And it reflects a common practice in several different spiritual traditions. For instance, both in Christianity and Buddhism, one of the basic practices is the visualization of Christ / Buddha above and below us, on either side, in the front and behind, and in the heart. And there is also the “walk in beauty” prayer attributed to the Navajo.

Björk interviews Arvo Pärt

 

Björk: There is question and answer, the different voices…. inside your music. It’s almost like Pinocchio and the little cricket. One is human and always making mistakes and pain, and the little cricket is more like…. comfort him, or tell him…. Do you feel this in your music, or maybe I imagine? 

Pärt: I am really happy that you talk about it, it is really so. This new style consist of two sides, so that one line is my sins and another line is forgiveness of these sins. Mostly the music has two voices. One is complicated and subjective, but another is very simple, clear and objective.

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Bitter:Sweet – The Bomb

 

Apropos this last week 😉

Read my lips
Be all that you can be. Make a difference, give your dreams to me
Just like the television says, join the army, get ahead, oh please
No time for sleeping.
There’s too much to do
Don’t you forget that we do what they want us to

Let’s get nuts. Let’s spend some money
Take your shirt off honey
Let’s freak out, life’s just a party
You’ll be sorry Charlie