January 3, 2019 · 10:57 am
Learning consists in daily accumulating;
The practice of Tao consists in daily diminishing.
Keep on diminishing and diminishing,
Until you reach the state of Non-Ado.
No-Ado, and yet nothing is left undone.
To win the world, one must renounce all.
If one still has private ends to serve,
One will never be able to win the world.
This passage really hits home for me. I have always considered learning to be of utmost importance in my life, the gathering and accumulation of knowledge and wisdom. But over the years, I have had to accept the fact that thoughts and knowledge are also just things to which we become attached. So for me, I have had to practice the subtle art of letting go of things I have learned, of not clinging to old ideas. In doing so, I am opening myself up to the inflow of new concepts, new knowledge and wisdom. As I look around at the social insanity that plays out in the world around me, I can see how so much of the discord is a direct result of the tenacious clinging to the antiquated ideas which we have learned. And this is not limited to one side of the socio-political spectrum. It’s rampant everywhere.
There is a line in the song “Soul Kitchen” by The Doors which encourages the listener to “Learn to forget.” I believe that Jim Morrison was echoing the ideas expressed by Lao Tzu in this passage. We must let go of the things we learned that no longer serve us or society, and make room for new ideas.
Thanks for sharing in my musings today. Cheers!
Filed under Literature, Spiritual
Tagged as analysis, China, Chinese, contemplation, criticism, Doors, Eastern, interpretation, Jim Morrison, knowledge, Lao Tzu, learning, mysticism, philosophy, politics, reading, religion, review, social issues, spirituality, tao, taoism, translation, wisdom, writing, Wu
May 22, 2016 · 6:49 am
Photo taken at Venice Beach
Between childhood, boyhood, adolescence
& manhood (maturity) there
should be sharp lines drawn w/
Tests, deaths, feats, rites
stories, songs, & judgements
I recently went out to Los Angeles to visit my daughter, and while I was there, I went and spent a few hours roaming around Venice Beach, which was also Jim Morrison’s haunt in his younger days. In fact, Venice Beach was where Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek met and decided to form a band together which later became The Doors. The place still has a strange feel, and the huge mural painted on the side of a building reminds you that this was home to Jim in his formative years (see photo).
As I read this short poem included in Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison, I could not help thinking about those moments in my life that served as symbolic rites of passage, where I moved on to my next phase of personal development. There have been many, but each one is clear, each accompanied by its own epiphany.
As I helped my daughter move into her own apartment off campus in L.A., I realized that this must be one of those moments for her, clear and defined, where she truly becomes her own person. I suppose it is also a sharp line for me too, realizing that my child has grown and moved out on her own.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as adolescence, analysis, beach, boyhood, childhood, criticism, deaths, Doors, feats, Jim Morrison, L.A., literature, Los Angeles, manhood, Manzarek, metaphor, music, poems, poetry, poets, reading, review, rites, songs, stories, symbol, symbolism, tests, Venice, wilderness
June 28, 2015 · 9:20 am
Image Source – AP
I am a huge Doors fan, so when I saw an article about the auctioning of what may be Jim Morrison’s last poem written while he was in Paris, I had to check it out.
According to the article, it’s not sure whether this was his last poem, but it is the last poem in the notebook that was found among his possessions.
“Obviously, we don’t know if it’s the last thing he ever wrote … but it was among the last things he ever wrote – certainly.”
“What stands out is the fact that the one on page 152 was indeed the last page of the notebook,” said Lipman. “I actually saw the notebook when it was intact years ago and I remember seeing that last page and those last words and thinking, ‘Wow, this is pretty powerful stuff.’“
What stands out the most for me in this poem is the line: “I have drunk the drug of forgetfulness.” Morrison was a very heavy drinker and one can assume he drank as much as he did as a way to escape the pressures of fame. There were also rumors of heroin use during his last days in Paris, certainly another drug of forgetfulness. But personally, I think Jim, who was always obsessed with death, sensed that he was nearing the end. As such, I see the drug of forgetfulness as symbolic of the river Lethe which runs through Hades. According to Greek mythology, the souls of the dead were required to drink from the river Lethe in order to forget their earthly life. I suspect Jim was ready to forget his earthly life before breaking on through to the other side.
Last words, Last words
Filed under Literature
Tagged as alcohol, American literature, analysis, death, Doors, drugs, Greek, Hades, heroin, Jim Morrison, Lethe, literature, music, myth, mythology, Paris, poem, poetry, poets, pop culture, reading, review, symbol, symbolism
January 30, 2015 · 8:54 am
Image from Film: American Sniper
I confess that I have not seen “American Sniper” yet, but I am certainly aware of the controversy surrounding this film and plan to see it at some point. I try not to judge something based upon others’ opinions or media hype, but all the publicity made me think of a snippet of poetry from Jim Morrison’s The Lords and the New Creatures:
The sniper’s rifle is an extension of his eye.
He kills with injurious vision.
This idea has haunted me for years. I think that it is impossible to act, no matter how impulsively, without envisioning the act first in your mind’s eye. This may just be a split second in some cases. We may not even be aware that we are envisioning an act before we commit it. But I firmly believe that every act and every event begins with a thought, and thought is creative, internal visualization. We can choose to have injurious vision, or healing vision, but make no mistake; reality is a direct result of our vision.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as American, analysis, books, Doors, film, Jim Morrison, Lords and the New Creatures, media, mind, music, poems, poetry, poets, pop culture, reading, review, rifle, rock and roll, sniper, vision, visualization
August 8, 2014 · 9:12 am
Jim Morrison died 43 years ago, but people are still curious about his death. Recently, Marianne Faithfull revealed that her former boyfriend, Jean de Breteuil, provided Morrison with the fatal dose of heroin. Click here to read the article.
Anyway, the news made me think about Jim and the Doors, so I located my copy of The Lords and the New Creatures and skimmed through it. The following excerpt caught my attention.
Cinema returns us to anima, religion of matter,
which gives each thing its special divinity and
sees gods in all things and beings.
Cinema, heir of alchemy, last of an erotic science.
Film is certainly an alchemical art. It combines visual imagery, written word, music and sound. Because film communicates both visually and audibly, it is the art form which provides the ideal escape, allowing us to immerse ourselves and temporarily lose our connection with the real world. It is when we lose that connection that we open ourselves to the divine essence within, or the anima. That moment when we connect with our divine essence is similar to sexual ecstasy.
While I concede that much of Morrison’s poetry could be classified as the scattered thoughts of a drunken individual, there are some moments of brilliance, as demonstrated by this passage. His poems also provide us insight into the workings of a creative genius who left us too soon.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as alchemy, anima, art, cinema, creativity, death, divinity, Doors, drugs, ecstasy, eroticism, film, films, gods, heroin, Jean de Breteuil, Jim Morrison, Lords and the New Creatures, Marianne Faithfull, music, poems, poetry, poets, reading, science, sexuality
November 22, 2013 · 7:52 am
I love The Doors and I am a huge fan of Jim Morrison’s writing, but I have to admit that some of what was posthumously published as “poetry” is really nothing more than the scribbled thoughts of someone who was way too stoned for his own good. Much of what is in Wilderness Volume 1: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison falls into this category. The following poem, though, is one of the better pieces in the collection.
I can make the earth stop in
its tracks. I made the
blue cars go away.
I can make myself invisible or small.
I can become gigantic & reach the
farthest things. I can change
the course of nature.
I can place myself anywhere in
space or time.
I can summon the dead.
I can perceive events on other worlds,
in my deepest inner mind,
& in the minds of others.
On one level, Morrison is expressing how his music and poetry has the power to influence the world around him. Art has the ability to speak directly to another person’s subconscious mind. It is also an expression of the artist’s inner thoughts and being. Through the sharing of music and poetry, people are able to catch glimpses of their inner selves, something that is very difficult to achieve by ordinary interaction.
But I think Jim is tapping in to something deeper and more arcane here, whether consciously or by accident. Thought is energy, and when directed and focused, that energy can affect the world around us. The latest discoveries in physics support this. Every one of us has the ability to initiate change using our minds. In addition, shifts in consciousness allow us to perceive other dimensions. In states of heightened awareness, we can tap into the collective unconscious and connect with the thoughts of others, living or dead. Morrison is expressing this power in the poem, a power that not only he has, but which all of us have, whether we are aware of that ability or not. And to become aware of that power, all one needs to do is open the “Doors of Perception.”
Filed under Literature
Tagged as altered states, art, awareness, collective unconscious, consciousness, Doors, doors of perception, drugs, energy, Jim Morrison, literature, music, poems, poetry, poets, power, reading, subconscious, wilderness
July 8, 2013 · 10:43 am
I’m a big Doors fan. I could not even attempt to guess at the number of hours I spent sitting and listening to their music. And as a reader of poetry, it should be no surprise that I have also read Jim Morrison’s poetry. Anyway, this morning I picked up my copy of Wilderness: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison Volume 1 and randomly flipped to a poem, which I am including in this post courtesy of Huddersfield One website.
he enters stage:
Blood boots. Killer storm.
Fool’s gold. God in a heaven.
Where is she?
Have you seen her?
Has anyone seen this girl?
snap shot (projected)
She’s my sister.
Ladies & gentlemen:
please attend carefully to these words & events
It’s your last chance, our last hope.
In this womb or tomb, we’re free of the swarming streets.
The black fever which rages is safely out those doors
My friends & I come from
Far Arden w/ dances, &
Everywhere followers accrue
to our procession.
Tales of Kings, gods, warriors
and lovers dangled like
jewels for your careless pleasure
Can you dig it.
My meat is real.
My hands–how they move
balanced like lithe demons
My hair–so twined and writhing
The skin of my face–pinch the cheeks
My flaming sword tongue
spraying verbal fire-flys
But I’m not an ordinary man
No No No
What I like about this poem is that it gives us a glimpse into how it must have felt for Jim to be on stage. It is my understanding that The Doors saw music as a way to alter consciousness. Morrison considered himself to be a shaman leading the audience into other realms. And as a musician, I can relate to a lot of what is expressed here. There is something that is ineffable which occurs when musician and audience connect on a spiritual level. I’ve been fortunate to have experienced it on occasions, but I could not express that feeling any better than Jim does in the above poem.
I think my favorite lines in this poem are “My flaming sword tongue/spraying verbal fire-flys.” There is some cool symbolism here. First, the flaming sword evokes the image of the cherubim guarding the Garden of Eden, so Jim’s words could be seen as a gateway to the Edenic state. In addition, the flaming sword offers light, hence the lyrics could also be seen as sources of illumination. Finally, his sharp words can also cut and burn, effectively destroying the established paradigms to make way for new levels of consciousness.
If you are a Doors fan as I am, I encourage you to buy a copy of Jim’s book. There are some very good poems in there and it would be a worthy addition to your book collection.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as altered states, books, cherubim, consciousness, Doors, Eden, Jim Morrison, literature, music, poems, poetry, poets, rock and roll, shamanism, wilderness
May 20, 2013 · 12:10 pm
So this is my 150th blog post. Kind of a milestone, don’t you think? I struggled with what to write about. I wanted to choose something significant, therefore I gave it considerable thought before making my decision, which was to pick a poem from a book of obscure writings by Jim Morrison of The Doors. My reason for this is that, looking back, I realize that rock and roll was what really got me interested in poetry. I have always loved to read, but it was rock lyrics that gave me an appreciation of the subtleties of language found in poetry.
I searched my sagging bookshelves until I found Wilderness Volume 1: The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison. I skimmed through the pages looking for the right poem and I settled on the following (I am including the poem because it is short and chances are most people do not have a copy of the book).
Why do I drink?
So that I can write poetry.
Sometimes when it’s all spun out
and all that is ugly recedes
into a deep sleep
There is an awakening
and all that remains is true.
As the body is ravaged
the spirit grows stronger.
Forgive me Father for I know
what I do.
I want to hear the last Poem
of the last Poet.
Like many poets and artists, Jim searched for inspiration and turned to drugs and alcohol as his muse. The irony is that while mood-altering substances can be a source of artistic inspiration, they ultimately rob you of your ability to create and lead you down the path of insanity and ultimately death, which sadly was the case with Jim.
I found the lines at the end of the second stanza to be quite interesting: “As the body is ravaged/the spirit grows stronger.” I see this as a reference to practices like fasting, flagellation, and other forms of self-induced physical suffering intended to create an altered state of consciousness. But just like drugs, these forms of inspiration eventually take their toll on a person, often resulting in the loss of that which they were seeking to gain. I read somewhere that these practices were only meant to give a person a glimpse of what can be attained through spiritual practices, but should not be the path which one should follow.
It is sad that Jim Morrison never learned that there are many ways to be inspired other than drinking. If he did, he might still be here, writing poems and creating music. Instead, he heard his “last Poem” at the moment of his dying and was never able to share it with others.
Filed under Literature, Spiritual
Tagged as altered states, books, consciousness, Doors, drinking, inspiration, Jim Morrison, poetry, rock and roll, spirituality
April 23, 2013 · 8:20 am
I woke this morning and thought about what I should read and write about today. I decided I would pick something from Rimbaud. I purchased a copy of his complete works some years back and read it all, so I figured I would select a short poem to read again. The second poem in the book is “Sensation” and it seemed the perfect choice. Since it is a short poem and online translations vary from site to site, I figured I would include the version I read here.
Through blue summer nights I will pass along paths,
Pricked by wheat, trampling short grass:
Dreaming, I will feel coolness underfoot,
Will let breezes bathe my bare head.
Not a word, not a thought:
Boundless love will surge through my soul,
And I will wander far away, a vagabond
In Nature–as happily as with a woman.
This poem is a celebration of sensory experience. It is about the joy and pleasure of physical sensation. Rimbaud seeks to lose himself and escape his thoughts through immersion in the sensory. When he reaches that state of physical bliss, when “Not a word, not a thought” is running through his mind, he becomes one with his soul, an experience he compares with the state of sexual orgasm attained with a woman.
There is a nice double entendre near the end of the poem, where Rimbaud describes himself as “a vagabond in Nature.” This could be interpreted as either Rimbaud being a wanderer exploring the natural and physical world around him, or it could mean that it is the nature of his being to wander the world, experiencing the sensations that life has to offer.
I think Rimbaud is a very cool poet. His works heavily influenced the writings of rock poets like Patti Smith and Jim Morrison, individuals who influenced me when I was younger. If you are unfamiliar with Rimbaud’s works, I recommend investing in a copy of his writings.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as bliss, books, decadence, double entendre, Jim Morrison, orgasm, Patti Smith, poetry, Rimbaud, rock and roll, sensation, sex, soul
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