Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A nice poem and a not so nice critique

My critique for a very nice poem.. not so much for the poem itself but
the context in which it can be used:

> Let's not commit to a future together. The future is so unknown, and we are
> so fluid, and tired of pretending that we know.
> Our thoughts and feelings are ever-changing, uncontrollable, like a wild
> ocean of love.
> Our desires wax and wane; our dreams are born and die in every moment.
> Let's not commit to a form of love. The forms are always shifting, like the
> tides.
> We do not need security here. We are not seeking comfort, but Truth.
> Let's make a deeper commitment; one that cannot be broken or lost.
> To presence. To meeting in the here-and-now.
> To bringing all of ourselves. To knowing, and letting ourselves be known.
> To telling the truth, today; knowing that our truth may change tomorrow.
> To bowing before each other, even if our hearts are broken and tender.
> No promises, no guarantees.
> Loving takes courage! Yes!
> For love is a field, not a form. Let us commit to the field, remember the
> field in every moment of our precious days on this Earth.
> In ten years' time, we may still be together. We may have children. We may
> live together, or live apart.
> We may never see each other again. This may be our last day.
> If we are honest, we really do not know; not knowing is our Home.
> We may be friends, or lovers, or strangers, or family, or we may remain
> undefined, beyond narrative, our love unable to be captured in words.
> Here at the edge of the known, on the line that once divided sanity from
> madness, and doubt from certainty, we play, we dance, we drink tea, we
> touch each other, we cry, we laugh, we meet.
> We sacrifice comfort and predictability. But what we gain is astonishing:
> This tremendous sense of being alive. No longer numb to the mysteries of
> love, the mysteries of our bodies.
> A little raw, perhaps. A little shaky. Maybe a little disoriented, but
> perhaps this is the price of being totally free.
> Maybe an old part of us still seeks mommy or daddy, that Magic Person who
> will never leave, always be there, take away the loneliness repressed in
> our guts. Loving that frightened part too; bowing to that part too, but no
> longer being controlled by it.
> And they will ask:
> What about your future?
> What happens if you have children?
> How the hell do you define yourselves?
> Why are you afraid of commitment?
> Why do you run from security? Comfort? Future?
> They will say you are crazy, or you don't understand love, or you are lost,
> or you are unloving and selfish, and you will smile, and understand their
> fear, for their fear was once yours, and you cannot abandon your path now.
> And nobody has to walk with you. Ever.
> At some point, only Truth will satisfy. A living Truth, renewing itself
> each and every moment, the wild Truth of the open heart.
> When Love and Truth are One, when the Commitment is deeply rooted in the
> breath, we can finally face each other without resentment, and explode into
> the most melancholy sunsets, held in the most profound joy.
> Walking alone, together, alone

[Allright so here it comes! But first, think about this : Who is this poem for?]

It's wonderful.

But I've seen something relatively more wonderful in the companionship
rooted not in fear as this poem tries to ascribe, but in a tacit
acceptance that if it really makes no difference if there is
attraction or not, then might as well be there for each other, in a
grounded sense which honors head, heart and body. And that strategy
accounts in the difference in time: I may feel more attracted to you
this week and you may feel more attracted to me during a week next
month. Or, I might feel physically attracted to you while you feel
intellectually attracted at this time. By being abundantly there for
the other, both's needs are met even if there is a slight mismatch in
the "now".

I think the fourth dimension of time is important; and we can extend
our caring, our love over this dimension rather than restricting it
only to the three dimensions of space and neglecting time. It's great
to make a big deal about being present and in-the-now, but can we
check if we're not just doing that to run away from honoring the
fourth dimension?

And can we balance things? Why not be both present and keep that
presence finely weaved in with the past and the future? Too much
planning may be bad, but not all planning is bad. Being in-the-now may
be good, but being absolutely that only could cause trouble to you and
others whose life you're part of. It's unfair to disrupt the "now" of
others around you to make way for just your "now". Can there be a
middle path between these extremes?

This poem seems engineered to associate any actual committment with
only one feeling of fear whereas reality begs more, and the lack of
committment with only all sorts of positive things while conveniently
omitting the negatives. We can similarly use all manner of nice
wordings to associate the lack of committment with fear, scarcity and
greed (for better deals coming by that one would want to swtich to at
a moment's notice), and committment with abundance, with being alive. It's up to us which stories to weave : if one is fair then so is the other.

After all, if we're comfortable being together as well as alone, then
why not do precisely that instead of going around looking for
entanglements with other people, which seems to be the implicit thing
we're trying to enable here? Wouldn't that be indicative of a scarcity
at our end : that we need getting entangled over being in solitude?
Why not keep things simple instead of trying to justify increasing
levels of complexity with more complex narratives?

Who says it's not possible to feel alive while in a thriving committed relationship? On the contrary, there's far greater chances of that sense lasting longer and not quickly disappearing as quickly as it came.

Ultimately I'd love to see how it gets implemented in real life. For
instance, in our circles we know a couple that renegotiates and renews
their committment after a certain period of time (every month or every
year I don't know), agreeing that if anyone thinks its not working
out, simply not renewing means they're free to walk away. But during
that time period between renewals they are together and are there for
each other even if one feels less attracted. So being-in-the-present
is implemented over the long run, but the quantum of time (what we
call as "now") isn't as short as a second or a day.

Coming back to the poem, on a practical level it seems most
advantageous to people who already have something else going on and
want to keep things loose but want to not feel bad about not having
the abundance within to let the other person go and find a more
wholesome way of being. If I want to have a secret affair while being
in a steady relationship and keep lying to my main relationship-partner,
then a good way to keep my affair-partner under my control and 
on my team will be to give her this poem.
I then get to feel "in-the-present" and
enlightened and soulfull and all, while planning all my timings
smartly and lying wholescale to one partner. While I agree with the
poem's declared intent and know there are many different ways of
fulfilling it, I'm going to acknowledge its potential of being
repurposed as a very convenient affair-enabler. And anyone who
questions that, can simply be judged away as a judgemental person
since the poem, like the bible and other such texts, has already built
in verses to define itself as unquestionable.

My advice to the affair-partner would be this : Stress on the
importance of being honest with all stakeholders and not being
meticulously planning and lying to anyone (if you're open and
in-the-now, then what's there to lie about? If you have to lie your
way through, are you really being present and in-the-now?), and then
maybe this poem won't get used in the way I have alleged. And if you
don't want to do that, then please be comfortable with the reality as
it is and don't make claims about things being oh-so-wonderful and
enlightened just to fool yourself.

Lookup: A great international experiment in redifining love and
restoring the sacred in relationships while acknowleding and honoring
polygamousness where it is, by doing away with the deception game and keeping things honest: http://www.tamera.org

Addendum :
A little context to explain how this critique came about... check out this basic personal-life profile of a friend of mine who shared this poem with me : she's sleeping with someone who has another person in his life as his girlfriend, and she insists its not really a relationship. And she is intellectually in a relationship with someone (hey, I don't get it at all but that's what it is for her) who is about to get married. Both these men in her life, quite some years her senior, are people she values very highly as brilliant intellectuals; is fascinated by.

The fact that those guys are comfortable with keeping the significant women in their lives in the dark and still keeping them and my friend and God knows some more in their life in mutually isolated boxes, have no intention of changing the official status and are happy to plan things efficiently to ensure smooth operations... that they don't have the abundance within to just let this girl go and help her find something more wholesome for herself.. doesn't really hold relevance in my friend's evaluations.

What might be the situation on those females' ends who my friend knows are being kept in the dark (nevermind the inconvenient little detail that this amounts to a form of emotional abuse and that no one likes being lied to).. they're much older than my friend is and I don't think they've figured at all in her realm of consciousness. How about some unconditional love and Truth for them also? Or wait, is that only applicable to the people doing the lying and not to the people being lied to? How will she feel when in their position, at an older age, not much other options left, needing companionship and security much more than an early tweener? How would she feel if she gets to be the one kept in the dark? Well, theoretically they'll stay happy if they never find out but when they do, it's magically supposed to be their problem and will probably be chalked up to their inability to be like what is dictated by the poem, with no consideration for the real life circumstances.

So there you have it : What the original oh-so-beautiful concept is, and one example of how it gets implemented in real life. Still looking so nice? Or are things getting messy?

And in all this, somewhere I'm feeling that my friend isn't being genuine with herself; I feel like she's cageing her heart and letting her brain only call the shots, going for the short term pleasures and interpreting them as proof that things are good.. "a tremendous sense of being alive". And I worry that the associated loss of dignity, integrity and empathy can and will spill over to other realms of her life too. So the poem and things like it, I'm seeing, are a very convenient responsibility avoidance (and reality avoidance!) tool, especially for those at the benefiting ends, to keep the status quo going and use impressive language to make things look a lot fancier and nobler and fairer than they actually are.

In case you're not getting where I'm seeing the problem or are feeling I've been too judgemental, please consider this analogy: Let's invent several layers of reasonings to make one's habit of compulsively and excessively eating junk food look like it's a very healthy and noble thing to do; pretend that by doing so you're really being true to yourself, proof given by the short-term sensual pleasures you get from it and "feeling alive" while you willfully ignore any long term consequences because you're only living in the now. Make all sorts of complicated justifications and beautifications instead of just admitting and being comfortable with the simple fact that you're just indulging yourself for now. See, I don't think the indulgence is wrong. A little indulgence could be great, I'm all for it. My problem is with creating the artificial constructs to justify and propagate it beyond its natural time instead of letting it be just what it is : an indulgence. Maybe because that would bring about a sense of responsibility to end the binge and get real at some point?

Heck, in all likeliness, the present scenario is a reaction to the ruthless suppression of indulgences so far, and the over-burdening of committment on people in a hypocritical way. But we don't need to swing all the way to the extremes. I believe we have it within ourselves to find a middle path.

And do check out Tamera : If you really want to keep the polygamous nature then it's possible to go about it in a totally different and much more sustainable way.

PS: To clarify finally, I am in agreement with most of the poem itself. My critique is regarding its ham-handed application to real life that I'm seeing around me and the misery that's causing, and its use as justification for things that we'd rather not have more of in our world.

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