First Vision of Lord Ganesha

August 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Posted in memoirs, writing | 13 Comments

For obvious reasons. (neither guilt nor shame, despite what some would tell you, adjusting the hem of her skirt) In my late teens and early twenties, when I was studying at the University of Queensland, there was a strange synchronicity. I followed a ‘trane of thought into ‘the ontological status of fictional characters’. I think I ended up there by trying to figure why revolutionaries became existentialists, but I believe in the complete unreliability of memory. It isn’t verifiable, Mr Quine.

At the same time I had a kind of psychological collapse which was most probably a ‘schizophrenic episode’ although I never sought diagnosis from a paid professional, having seen them teaching the ‘static brick’ theory of mind complete with diagrams. I am glad of this because I believe it was the ten or fifteen years it took me to figure out my own cure that forms the basis of all things good in my life.

Sometimes I lie under a tree made for climbing and think of that perfect fusion of moments as a singularity from which my life emanates, a kind of instantaneous shattering of frog on glass. I have practised all kinds of meditations, methodologies for dissolving the boundaries of self. Excuse me, if I begin to sound like Rimbaud, beginning lines of my poems with a capital I, although it’s true i am most loved when in e. e. cummings mode.


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  1. Paul. That is one of the wonderfullest and crystal clear insights into the origins of your genius.
    Thanks, Brad. I undertook it as a challenge really. Flat narrative honest prose, never really written much of that.

  2. i’ve not sure why but i’m liked this,
    history of ragering? perhaps,
    Perhaps. Glad you enjoyed it, Noah.

  3. ‘love is not to be measured by number of comments’ said some obscure monk in the mountains. This is terrific and goes someway to explaining why I love your stuff so much – not just the e e cummings type stuff. At least you avoided the ‘medication time’ route – shrinks never change (where’s my script pad) – obviously the right road for you (and one I would highly recommend – unless you meet the right psychiatrist – mine is very good!). Love the ‘instantaneous shattering of frog, though I won’t be mentioning it to my froggy friends any time soon. Cheers Gabe.
    Oh I certainly wouldn’t recommend my path to anyone else, Gabrielle. I am sure there are some professional head doctors out there who are not shrills for the drug companies.

  4. Dear Paul,
    I love you always, ee cummings or not

  5. of course
    the red wine may have something to do with that comment 😉
    And this morning’s headache, no doubt Samantha. Thankyou.

  6. You’ve been coming along quite wonderfully! I hope all’s going hunky dory at your end…been a long while, eh?
    It so happens that what I have been primarily engaged in is helping some people who earnestly wish to experience their Self, instead of the vague intellectual ideas of its nature and dissolution which are so often found in the numerously verbose books!

    The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao! 😉
    Sumedh! Ship ahoy! The eternal Taoist conundrum, why are my lips moving, hahahaha. Hello, my old friend!

  7. There’s a Sufi principle of clarity through obscurity that this piece reminds me of. Smoke drifting across the face of God. Or the Hindu notion of Lila, which is that the divine plays with the veil. Because I think you reveal and obscure in really interesting ways and there’s a delight to the way you spring from image to image. My favourite line is probably, “the ’static brick’ theory of mind complete with diagrams.”
    Yes, Alec, it doesn’t seem to matter how hard I try to be plain and honest, the same questions arises. Everything describes itself perfectly, every representation is flawed and so on.

  8. Beautiful Paul, not least because you reveal a little more of yourself here.
    Whilst fully dressed too, Maxine. I should get brownie points. You are fabulously wonderful.

  9. I still await your visit here someday, and then we could go climbing some taoist mountains!
    I am looking forward to it, Sumedh. As long as they are small mountains, I am lazy hahaha. Everything is moving in that direction at the moment, so it won’t be long. Put the kettle on, we can have a pot of tea and watch those crazy peacocks.

  10. Sometimes I lie under a tree made for climbing… dammitwishi’dwrittenthat. I used to sit under a twisted tree and dream of someone showing me the love to be buried underneath it, when the time came, not too soon so I can lie under it and watch it some more first. I must show you the photo.
    I was just thinking this morning, he probably fell out of it and is lying there half knocked out from the fall, Narnie.

  11. Beautiful, really amazing. I enjoyed reading it a lot due to how well it is written.

    You are right about what you say of memories, because indeed they work like this:
    Fragments of our experiences are constructed by an “encoding process”; a procedure for transforming something a persons sees, hears, thinks and feel into a memory. This process resides in the area of the brain that is in charge of constructing the fragments of out past experiences.
    One of the problems with this mechanism is that encoding and remembering are virtually inseparable. The close relationship between them can cause dificulties in our everyday life. The problem is that we remember only what we have encoded and what we enconde depends on our experiences knowledge and needs.

    The problem with psychiatry until recent times was that their conception of the mind did not include neuroplasticity. They used to believe that as you aged the neuron connections became more and more rigid till the point that they believed you where unabled to rewire or retrain your mind/brain. Nowadays all profesionals are trained with the concept that the brain is plastic, maleable, rewirable, during all of your life. You can always modify things inside it, although it is true that habitual circuits like the one that deals with your main language are much more rigid and dificult to be changed than other circuits kuje the one that deals with a second language you had learned.

    I am glad you found your path and that you sound like Rimbaud
    Cool, thanks Mariana. I’m glad the plasticity of mind is more acknowledged than it was, and the problem you describe with memory is very similar to the problem of trying to write the truth. I encode into words, you disencode, but there is no way of knowing whether your understanding is the same as my intention. So I always try to think of the poem as the event in the reader’s mind rather than a collection of words on a page.

  12. Happy Birthday, Lord Ganesha! What a wonderful birthday poem for Him, Paul! One day I will tell you all about it in person so that you will be able to see the Love in His eyes and the Fire and power of the waters of His mouth. Maybe next year at Burning Man. Maybe. And how nice to be reminded to go visit that lovely “if i was ee cummings” poem. Everyone ought. Now I think I’ll toast you with a little whiskey as it is just a wee bit past your blogoversary and you deserve it.
    Cool, no drinkies for me, thanks Gwendolyn. Not yet. Burning man looks like a riot, I hope to make it one year soon.

  13. Absolutely amazing, Paul. I love the imagery of lying under the tree made for climbing and contemplating time as a singularity from which flows your life. Gives me the shivers to think about it – good shivers, indeed.

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