Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Primal Face

                      SOME CAVES

some caves clutch deeper caves inside them
never explored         undreamt by day-mind
hidden even from the bat's needle probings
mirror stab of mountain peaks underground

when I go there    when I go there    when I
not with my human face    no   the other one
the face before words   houses   hearth fires
primal face that gnarls roots   cracks boulders

when I go there   when I    don't look for me
I won't be a thing you'd care to kiss or hold
won't respond to chuckles  snacks  little hugs
won't hear your voice or know your name

some caves clutch darker caves inside them
never explored        undreamt  by day-mind
who we love and hate doesn't matter there
even time    death    swallowed in that void


Don't forget--Rome fell
not having grasped the phrase:

-- Andrei Voznesensky --


     There's a primeval nature inside me, inside you--within all of us--whose roots plunge down to ice age caves. Farther still, they reach back to the pitch-dark jungle floor; and even deeper into the prehistoric past, sounding the original ocean's abyss. Recognizing, accepting, finally embracing this elemental inner core has been a stringent yet profound awakening.

     Most of my life I denied its existence, even as that repressed and enraged reality rampaged through my subconscious, sabotaging everything. Much of the nightmare horror erupting through the shredded fabric of 20th Century civilization can be understood in the same catastrophic light. We have the choice to say "yes" or "no" to inescapable aspects of our being--but not the luxury of ignoring them. In one guise or another, constructively or destructively, our shadow selves will always come out.

     I wasn't raised that way; probably, neither were you. Mom and Dad tried to teach me to be a "good boy"--sensitive, thoughtful, adaptive, unselfish, well-behaved, always striving to please. A major, normal part of me was happy to oblige. He was the Little Darling who got all those Love Cookies of acceptance, approval and nurturing! His creed was summed up by my Boy Scout Oath: "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." Oh God, I prayed, if I could only live up to that!

     The problem: there was another, subversive side of me, a usually repressed, rejected, obstreperous character, who wanted to trample on all this sanctimonious blather and tear it to pieces! He was the rebellious devil who insidiously undermined and recklessly overthrew every effort at cooperation and conciliation dutifully made by the obedient angel.

     I was whipsawed between these two, contradictory, psychological polarities--unable to come to terms with either, because such drastically different personal universes could never, I believed, conceivably converge and miraculously integrate as one.

     I've conducted a desperate, lifelong struggle to confront this quandary, resolve this contradiction, and transcend this seemingly intractable fate. To do so, however, I've had to risk exploring dangerous, untamed inner regions--those caves clutching even deeper caves inside them--absorbing their invigorating wildness as an indispensable component of the totality of all I am.

     I found only one way to meet such a challenge without drowning in uncharted, storm-racked waters--discover a third, independent, balanced perspective through which to comprehend and ultimately heal the apparently unbridgeable divide between soulful connection and instinctive survival. That third perspective proved to be the overarching, adult voice of my individuated intelligence, and what you're reading now is one example of its synthesizing and liberating power.

     As I listen to the thunder this morning while sitting at my computer, it's the elemental creature inside who soaks up that rumbling fortissimo with every pore--but not at the expense of meaningful relationship. There's a presence in the rainfall which speaks to my soul.

     Even as my mind shapes abstract words, I sense an instinctual vitality thrumming through my whole body--from toe to crotch, from coiled gut to the top of my head. Yet I'm attuned as well to intimate communion with you--stranger, friend--now reading these lines.

     Whatever I am, whatever I love, whatever I hope to be, I've learned to experience this ever more richly and intensely by resonating not only with my spiritual essence, but simultaneously with the most basic of my primitive, animal instincts--"the face before words, houses, hearth fires; the primal face that gnarls roots, cracks boulders..."


1 comment:

  1. This may be my favorite post yet. I feel it right here *points at heart*