A few things came together for me this morning mostly having to do with creativity, tapping into that source of all possibilities that some of us are fortunate enough to glimpse occasionally. The ancient Greeks called it Chaos, not in the sense of disorder, but in the sense of the repository for all that can be known or experienced: “Where great dreams are born.” In Sanskrit it’s called the Akashic record, but it’s the same idea–a supernatural realm where everything can be seen at once, instead of being laboriously worked out as we must do here on earth.
I watched an Open House yesterday on the Kosmos Society website with Dr. Kevin McGrath, who was talking about Indo-European Poetry. (You may be asked to register before viewing the recorded version.) It’s an interesting talk to anyone interested in the subject, and you get the sense that he could have gone on for much longer.
He spoke of the Akashic record and the methods used by the ancient Indian poets to access its inspiration. The Ancient Greeks of course were very upfront about their sources of inspiration: the Muses. Homer and Hesiod both invoke them at the beginning of their poems (although of course Hesiod says they came to him uninvited). The resulting poems could just as well be narrated by the Muse, and have that kind of omniscient viewpoint that could only come from a goddess. He also spoke of the Homeric poems and the ancient Indian Mahabharata as being “ahistorical,” “out of time,” that is, eternal: the places described and the means of getting around just weren’t available back then. No roads, distances are too far apart etc. Of course I’m also prejudiced–see my post on “Homer: Journalist or Poet?”
Also, yesterday was the birthday of Sonny Rollins, a jazz great, who I think is also upfront about his “gift:” “I’m not supposed to be playing, the music is supposed to be playing me. I’m just supposed to be standing there with the horn, moving my fingers. The music is supposed to be coming through me; that’s when it’s really happening.” He sees himself as just the vehicle for this huge mass of music that’s out there, and all he has to do is clear himself and let it play through.
So that got me thinking about the analogy with hurricane explorers (bear with me here), of whom we’ve been hearing a lot recently what with Harvey and Irma. These of course are the brave and/or crazy pilots that actually fly into 150 mph+ winds in order to assess their damage potential. For a few moments they emerge into the eye, where all is still–the sun is out and no winds blow. Then it’s back into the wind to emerge on the other side. It struck me that that’s what a poet is like: a conduit between the outside world and the stillness within the hurricane, who can channel that stillness through all the turbulence.