Archive for the ‘Yang Guang Hua Yuan’ tag
When I came home yesterday afternoon from teaching at the university, I noticed a lot of activity at the entrance to my housing compound. I immediately rushed up to the apartment in order to get my camera as I knew it was an event that was about religious rites following death. I was woken about 4:00 am with the sounds of evenly paced fireworks explosions, sounds that I have come to associate with a death in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood is a place for the wealthy and many of these wealthy people are old. Death and funerals are frequent occurrences. The difference this time was striking as I kept busy with the camera – the white arm and headbands were missing. The event was quieter and when there was sound, it was more musical than noise.
Death, the ending of all earthly relationships, the final separation of self from other as we know it. As James Hollis puts it:
“All relationships begin, and end, in separation.”
But, I wonder. Does death which ends our connections with other humans mean the end of separation? Fire is symbolic of renaissance for rebirth. The transformation for isolated individual into a state of union with the source from which human life emerged, a pre-conception starting point is an idea that haunts me, that makes me wonder. Something to think about.
Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk around the gated community within which I live, a place called “Sunshine Gardens” (Yang Guang Hua Yuan). To be fair, it is very much a place that deserves the name as the private homes and the public spaces in this community is mostly garden. As you can see in the photo, the word “sunshine” is also apt. The community within the exterior barriers, the face presented to those on the outside, is a different world. The exterior, for the most part, doesn’t have a “garden” look. Rather, it is mostly non-descript.
Outward appearances are important, but one must remember that these appearances are “contrived” and serve as a mask. I know that I am not that much different than Sunshine Gardens in the fact that I present an unimposing figure to the outer world, someone who is easily overlooked and ignored. And, this is something that feels comfortable for me after all the years where I stood out like a sore thumb in a smallish community as the principal of the community’s school. When I stood out, I drew negative heat and the positive energy of the community. I was both the hope and the scapegoat for the community, two roles that I resisted as much as possible as I feared being caught in the collective images of “self.”
But, so much of my inner world, my “Sunshine Gardens” is a mystery to me. My ego consciousness can only understand some of what is found within. My outer world is simple in comparison, a world that for the most part, is one of my own crafting that has been built stone by stone over the decades with each choice, and each omission of choice that has been made. I am not a victim of the world, never have been a victim of the world regardless of what I thought or believed. Rather, I was and remain, a living and breathing part of the whole.
I guess I could say that I have been a master builder of my ego and the personae that are met by the world. Yet for all of this skill, I know that I, the conscious self, am on shaky ground in assuming “I” am in control. There is something bigger than “I” at work.
“The invisible world governs the visible world, which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to be wholly, or even partly, conscious. Every life is the enactment of not one story, but many. The story we consciously know, or believe we know, is seldom the whole story which is unfolding within us.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p.112)