I took this photo in Can Tho, Vietnam, a picture of the night market busy with people. Night time is often busier that daytime activity in the market areas. It’s as if with the fall of darkness, there is a sense of freedom to laugh, to hustle, to enjoy an evening of drink, food, friendships and even sex. The primal urges come alive in the darkness. It’s a heady experience walking among the others who are bargaining, or otherwise engaged in the market place area. But of course, the photo really isn’t about a night market in Vietnam.
Night is also symbolic of the unconscious in full motion, with a cast of archetypes, complexes, feeling tones and shadows. Dreams are often taken as the expression of this activity of the night, this activity of darkness. But, it isn’t only a dreamscape; it is also an inner world landscape that exists when one is in the light of day. It is found in those pensive moments when one has lost connection with the outer world, a place many of those people who deny anything that is not about the outer world would call “lala-land;” a place where imagination both of light and dark find an expression. This is a place where I am often to be found during some of my periods of silence.
There isn’t much patience or tolerance by others for those who find that they wander at times through lala-land. It isn’t as though there is a lot of choice when lala-land intrudes on one’s psyche. Yet, with a lot of effort over time, one can recognize the signals that indicate lala-land is just around the next thought and thus allow one to engage in diversionary tactics and avoid disappearing into this inner space. One learns tactics to stay “present” and “accountable” to others who matter. For in the end, it is about the others, not about the self.
Lala-land is a rich place that offers more than it takes in terms of presence and time with the outer world. But typically what is offered has little value to the others who are invested fully in body and in presence, a world where the opinions of others matter more than one’s own opinion. In fact, one’s opinion is formulated on the collective opinion just as much as many follow fashions regardless of the practicality or need for fashion.
Think of how one is “Self” responsible, or “self” responsible and with that responsibility comes a requirement for authenticity, being true to one’s self in order to honour that which is at the root of self, that which can be called god, or SELF, the central and all encompassing dynamic. If we call god as all that is and all that isn’t, then we understand that everything and everyone is part of the one. As an individual, I am me or “self,” an unit of one. Yet, I am a part of a larger one-ness which most call god, a wholeness that is also called the ONE or the SELF. With the inner as well as the outer world contained in this unity of everything, there can’t be a devaluation of any one part of the whole. The inner world is as valid as the outer world. So, in daring to get caught up in lala-land, I find that I am daring to connect with a deeper aspect of self, one that hints at the infinite behind the self.