Archive for the ‘Chhong Kneas’ tag
This photo was taken in the floating village of Chhong Kneas, Cambodia. When I took it, I knew I was taking a photo of a floating Catholic church, what I didn’t know at that time was that I was also taking a photo of a floating school, an English language school that was Vietnamese as the floating village was, for the most part, a Vietnamese floating village in the heart of Cambodia. I only found this out after selecting the photo for today’s post and had blown up the photo in order to check out all the elements in the photo. It’s interesting to find out what comes as a gift when least expected.
Of course, after choosing the photo, all plans that I had to continue bringing ideas from Hollis’s work, Mythologems went out the window, so to speak. It then became like wandering through a dreamscape, trying to identify the pieces and see if there is something there that would give a bit more light about self. So, I then looked at the parts. I wasn’t exactly raised as a religious person in a deeply religious family. What religion there was present was more about form and superstition rather than about doctrine. That sporadic surface approach to religion was within the container of the Catholic church. Neither my grandparents nor my parents used any form of logic or explanation to explain the random visits to a church or the random following of church rules such as no meat on Fridays. Religion in the Catholic church wasn’t passed on to me with a solid foundation that nurtured a rich belief.
And the school? Well, a similar story to be told. I did go to school in a fashion. By the time I was of age to go to high school I had missed almost as much school as I had attended. And, I had attended over twenty different schools in four different Canadian provinces. It wasn’t until the second round of grade seven that I actually attended one school for a full year. By grade nine, I added a fifth province to the line-up and finished that grade back in my home city. High school was attended in three different schools with the last two and a half years at one school. Still, attendance was an issue. Though I got excellent marks in a number of subjects, my attitude and poverty meant that university was out of the picture. The grades were there, but the foundation was very shaky.
In this photo, the school is larger than the church; but, like the church, it is a floating school. Floating suggests that both the church and the school are not grounded in consciousness, but are expressions of the unconscious, much as my grounding in the spiritual domain and the cognitive domain were experienced as unplanned, unconscious happenings. Though I am French-Canadian, most of my upbringing was in the English language as was my schooling. I was a stranger in a strange land as I played with cousins and experienced extended-family activities in the French language. The school in this photo is a Vietnamese school meant to serve the Vietnamese children who lived in this floating village on a tributary of the Mekong River, the Tonle Sap River. A school in a strange land in a foreign language.
As I look at the photo, I realise that though this is really as scene of the outer world, a scene from Cambodia; the image gives me a sense of comfort with being “less grounded” as I am better able to hold the tension of “not knowing” the answer of life, that I am comfortable enough just living the questions of life.
This photograph was taken yesterday as I walked down a dusty road that was home for a lot of people, people who are squatters along the road which is not much more than a raised bed of stone and thin sandy soil which lines the waterway channel leading to Tonle Sap Lake. Rather than take the boat back all the way to the departure wharf, I had the boatman drop me off as we entered the channel so that I could walk the rest of the way down the narrow lane that separated rice fields from Tonle Sap Lake.
The single row of straw homes were all made with straw and bamboo and leftover bits of wood that raised the bed of the little houses off of the ground, a tiny home such as this one holding a little girl. Children ran all over the place, a good number of them with no clothes on like this little boy.
?The masculine and the feminine, the spirit and the soul, that is found within each of us is often just as poverty stricken as these young children. Like the little boy, we are eager to show off what little consciousness we have and claim ourselves to be wise and intellectual and sophisticated. Like the little girl, almost hiding, our souls hunger for nourishment, hoping that we recognise her enough so that she doesn’t get left behind, abandonned.
It is not enough to take care of the body – our bodies and the bodies of others – we need to take care of our inner children. Of course, much of that care is given through being present in the outer world and caring for others as we would our own bodies.