Monday, December 31, 2012
New Year's have never been a very eventful holiday for me. It started with Calvin Martin at Rutgers University i think. It was his philosophy and classes in Native American history that got me on this road. I don't really know what to call his classes really, history seems inappropriate even though that is the department they were seated in. Calvin thought history was the problem, and because the native peoples of these lands would not have dealt in history as we know, he would not deal with it in his classes either. It was not their story. The native peoples of the Americas told myths, so that was what we learned in the classes of Calvin Luther Martin at Rutgers in New Brunswick. We also talked a lot about the nature of time. We had a seminar class that was entitled simply "Time." Calvin claimed it was the only class in a history department anywhere that he knew of that talked about time at all. Odd since that is really the subject of the whole business.
Anyway, what he said was powerful. There was a veritable cult of Calvin Martin at Rutgers. Our classes would have upwards of 400 students attending, all wide eyed and eager to here the weekly lesson. He spoke powerfully. Myths are like that though. I saw that first hand when i taught high school. The most unruly classes would sit in rapt attention for 25 minutes without a word whenever i would tell them a story. It was amazing. There was a truth there that rang out to all of us in the class. I learned much and it has shaped me and the ideas i have had ever since. Since my philosophy is Jeet Kune Do, i took what was useful from the class and it is definitely a core component of what makes up the way i navigate my world view. Others had a harder time separating the knowledge and the power of the stories from the man himself, and some people were broken when Calvin moved on. I feel it was probably similar with Bruce Lee. He tried to get people to find their own way, make their own style, but they followed him and wanted to be like him. He eventually had to go because students were not getting it. I have wondered at times if that is partially why Calvin moved on.
Anyway, to move on now myself. Those stories and what we learned about time in Calvin's class led me to much of the worldview i hold today. It led me to give up age and really led to a separation and eventual divorce from time. It has been an amazing road. As a short recap, i have given up time and age, that does not mean that i think i do not "age." It is the measurement i have a problem with. I can be totally down with the event of a changing body and the way we live our lives from birth and growth, through eventual slowing and decay to death. It is a beautiful cycle, but i do not need to deal with trying to place numbers and value of years on that process. I think it has dire implications that i have talked about in several earlier blogs.
It hit me tonight driving home from my friends house after making merry for New Year's Eve, that the holiday has really never held any real value for me since i shaped some ideas in those classes at Rutgers University. It is holiday that is all about the measure of time and since time and i have had our divorce, i have really not given much care or thought to this holiday that is the child of time. There have been years i have done nothing, gone to bed or headed out into the woods. None of it was done because it was New Year's Eve or day, but because it was what i chose to do as i would have chosen it on any other day of the year. I go to parties on New Year's the same way. I will go for the same reason i would go any other night. I even participate, but it is really to be social.
Thoreau said in Walden i believe, "Time is but the stream i go a'fishin in." Beautiful words that exactly get what i am talking about. I do not believe that Thoreau meant that he went fishing in the stream called Time, but that the way he dealt with time, literally was the stream he had his line in. It was the event of the place, the Earth living herself, that was real, not numbers on a wall or in a calendar. Just some stuff to think about.
It is beautiful when you get into living in the event. People all around me say that time is going by so quickly. I feel that nothing is further from the truth. If anything for me, time is moving more and more slowly as i become better and better at living in each moment, infinitely. It is hard at first, because time wants to hold on to you and gets his claws into you. But eventually, if you are persistent, Time will begin to realize that he is more desperate than you are and he will start to slowly let you go. Once that happens you can fall into the vast canopy of the stars and persist there forever in a night. You can float on your back down a river and be carried on the time of the Earth, not on the time on your wrist. You can be here in this moment breathing in and out as the lungs of the Earth and you can realize what it means to be truly and deeply alive and forever in a moment. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand lads and lasses, embrace it. When you get outside the shackles of time, your life will be set free.