Drew T. Noll © 2023, all rights reserved

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rising from the Dust and So-called Reality

My First Art Studio
When I was young, I often thought to myself, "What is going on here; what is wrong with this world?" It seems to have taken 50 years to receive some kind of an answer... and the answer, as you might be guessing, didn't come easy, if it even exists at all. You see, I have spent my entire life 'tuning' into the frequencies of living, of Earth. That isn't to say that I 'did' tune in, but to say that I tried, day in and day out. This process of attempted tune started when I became an artist at the ripe age of 7, maybe 8, in Mr. 'Servant of the Bishop (SOTB)'s' class. He was a tall man, maybe even taller than my father, who was just about two meters high (6' 6"). Keep in mind that this was an informative and influential time for me. I had even kissed my first girl in the playground that year, albeit unknown to her and, actually, it was on the top of the head. Funny, well… never mind...

Anyways, in Mr. SOTB's class, I was rewarded publicly for a drawing that I had done. I still remember it. I took a magazine picture of an umbrella in the sand, cut it in half, and did a rendering of the missing piece on a piece of paper that I had glued the original half image to. That was the first of a few times in my career when I won first place in the class, school, or art competition. The funny thing, however, about Mr. SOTB … is that one of my earliest memories of being physically and emotionally assaulted was as a result of him.

I was, you know, trying to keep my head above the 3rd grade social-maelstrom and was whispering to the kid next to me, someone that I 'really' wanted to like me… during a test; I just didn't know that Mr. SOTB was right behind me. In the middle of that ultimate little ego connection, where' I' felt alive because someone else realized that 'I' existed, Mr. SOTB rapped me on the top of the head with his bare knuckles, right on the same spot that I had kissed my first girl. The tears streamed down my face, not so much out of pain, although it hurt so much that even today I lose my cool when I hit my head, but out of a severe emotional jarring. And then the emotional jarring continued, as I receded away from so-called reality for the next 20 or so years. I publicly stopped crying...

It wasn't until I was traveling in Europe with a backpack, after leaving Sweden and some wonderful friends, that I walked into a restroom stall, threw down my pack, and bawled so loud that the entire train station must have heard. I'm sure they thought I was on drugs or something…  All that pain, all that anguish, of having to stuff every little thing down so deep that I couldn't even recognize it came tumbling out inside that toilet cubicle. I was certifiably insane, as the so-called standard of so-called reality goes; but, as life would have it, the eruption subdued and I then, surprisingly at the time, found myself feeling alive, like I hadn't felt in… maybe 20 years. I came out of that toilet stall with puffy eyes, red cheeks, and the determination I needed to carry on alone, with just me and the skeletal forthcoming of my inner awareness.

I have since put some meat on those bones, but not really enough to understand what is wrong with the world yet. What a mess… Bulgarian/Swedish antisemitic left-wing/Muslim international terrorism, Syrian chemically laced despotism and genocidal harbingers, Colorado intellectual psychotic breaks… dealing death and mayhem with a full hand of Jokers, and yet… there is something so wonderful about the world too. As I look back on these events, both personal and collective, they seemingly have shaped my life. If only someone could have told me how powerful those things would become. If only I could have known how to navigate the hurdles without all the backwash. I can't help but think about how it must have been for Moshe in the desert while speaking to the Israelites for the last time. In this week's parsha, Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22), Moses begins to recount all that occurred in the previous 4 books – yeah, a blogger after my own heart. He is reiterating to the people all that had happened to them, where they failed and where they succeeded. Do you think that they listened? Moses was tuned in to the truth, but did anyone care, did anyone understand the gravity of it all, the inevitability of 'so-called' reality?

I had a strange vision the other day of what it would be like to be reborn out of the dust of the Earth, fresh and with a 'real' understanding of the truth of the world. It started with the remote awareness of 'other' that slowly becomes part of me. The other was not a whole, but an assortment of parts, of elements, kind of like molecules and atoms. As my awareness grew, within this cloud of particulates, the entire history of the world came racing across my consciousness. I still perceived it as 'other,' but it was getting closer now to me. Now… I can see the tragedy and the wonder and it all makes sense. I see the truth of it all; I regret having been the cause of the falsehood, of the meat that blocked out the light of the soul. Within this moment of regret, I painfully coalesce into a being that knows the truth of existence. I fall madly and hopelessly in complete love with it… and then, truly, I am One.

May we merit the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple and may it be 'speedily' in our days… Amen.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mouthing the Words and Babbling Towers

When the ball drops, do we really care? In that specific moment, when the drop-sound reverberates off of our self-awareness, we seem to be so engaged with our own expectations that we 'literally' convince ourselves that it is of utmost importance to pay attention, but we don't... We just say, "We did!" and then come up with a 'really' clever excuse to ourselves as to why we had to 'understand' it after-the-fact. That is living, but it seems that it is a not so much of an 'in the moment' type of living...

As a case in point, for the last few months, I have been overwhelmed with the atrocity that continues to exist in the world, but have utterly 'refused' to acknowledge it… inwardly, that is. In Syria, for instance, the dictatorial government has recently waged an 'unrelenting' campaign of arrests and murders that has consumed tens of thousands of human beings, humanitarian aid volunteers, as well as most of the men and boys from the towns that the Syrian Army has taken upon itself to besiege. I think that I saw the border of Syria, just last Friday, while rafting down the Jordan River rapids. It looked peaceful enough as I bounced and laughed down Lebanon’s runoff, but I knew, deep down inside, that right on the other side of my line of sight, just above the tree line, death and mayhem was raging on, unchecked by anyone, including me. Last week, as another case in point and if you are to believe the news reports, Iran evidently degenerated to declaring war against the entire Jewish people – and Egypt was accepted as a Muslim Brotherhood State by the West, after which it promptly declared an ideological war against the Zionists (read Jews here), regardless of the words being mouthed to the West and regardless of the collateral damage to the Human Race that is looming on the horizon; and, in the West, even The Color Purple has poked its liberally regal head above the clatter of chaos to side against the Jews, once again, to side with the fury of darkness and its love-child, the inevitable decline of the human condition, guised as equality for all and to all a good night.

Phewww… I think that last week, instead of finding my happy in-the-moment place to dwell within, I ignored the world (and my true-self) in the process of seeking that very same place! I took a deep breath and changed my mental subject. I mean, “How can I do anything about it. We humans seem to know it all, don't we? We seem to have it 'all' covered, until the boogie man, the very same demon within, the Shayde of fireside yarn, reveals its maniacal mange and reverberates hatred and gut instinct across existence, across the Earth and in a flash of would-be regret and ignorance, the boogie man turns its eyes inward, revealing the true partner in crime, the true reason for 'our' collective mellifluence… the proverbial 'me.'

Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9) is upon us. We are now faced with that unbelievable essence of miracle, smack in the kisser; the donkey’s kisser, that is. Are you familiar with the tale? No, not Shrek (but that is a good one too), I am talking about Balaam, as he ignores the dimension that gave him a say in the world, the spiritual dimension and the unknowable dimension of Hashem. Balaam is an interesting word. It means: Be = In – Lo = No = Am = People. In other words; Balaam was of no people. The text itself says that he is from the land of his people by a river, but does not make claim as to where that is. The commentaries claim that it is the land of Ammon (you know… the capital of Jordan?). Jordan, although there aren’t any recent consensus figures to consult (that I could find), is estimated to have at least a 75 percent 'Palestinian' population today. What is a Palestinian? A Palestinian is a descendant of the immigrants to the land of Palestine (renamed by the Romans 2,000 years before) from mostly Turkey and Egypt during the 1800s and early 20th Century.

They came for the work, you see. I suppose, if the Syrians today could cross the border into the Promised Land, they would be coming in droves to get away from the atrocities over yonder, kind of like the Somalians have been over the last few years. You know what has been going on in Somalia, don't you? Well, let's leave that for another time. They are coming through Egypt, which is shooting them as fast as they can, and crossing the Negev Desert  and the (currently) non-existent fence in that region. Are you reading between the lines yet? That, my friends, is the reason we are here. We aren’t just supposed to take things at face value; we are supposed to delve deeper into the realities that exist 'here,' between the lines, which brings me to the fate of the Jewish nation.

If the Jewish Nation, we learn from the actual lines themselves, abandon God (specifically described in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28:15-68, 29:17-28, 30:1-10, 31:16-21, and much of Isaiah and Ezekiel, we see that most of what was forewarned has,  throughout history, actually occurred. The Torah states that the Jews will be thrown out of their land, that they will return, and then they will be thrown out again. The Torah then foretells that the Jews will come back to Israel, much, much later: Enter the Jews of the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries. Well, let's not forget the 21st Century either… And that is not to say that Jews haven't been living in The Land throughout history, because they have.

This brings to mind another interesting story of old yore, the story of Migdal Babel (the Tower of Babel). Am I babbling yet? Let's just break this one down a bit. We think of language as a way of verbally describing the world that is already around us, but it is something entirely different. Language is the process of bringing into physicality, into being, the inner essence of what was always there. Language fixes the ephemeral in time and space, making it static. By speaking a word, our perception of that thing that we spoke becomes real. Before that, it was an infinite possibility. Before speaking it, that word had ultimate potential and could be anything at all. After speaking it, it was fixed and stuck exactly as it was spoken. The Migdal Babel was built during a time when words were more than just syntax and grammar. The Migdal Babel was built when words were spoken from the inside out, not the other way around like today. Those speakers created as they dwelt and built their tower. The problem is that they attempted to create a power-grab (if you will) from Hashem. So, since that didn't really fit the Creator's plan so well, He took away that ability to create with words, leaving us with an extremely pale and hollow version of language. Now we have to label things with words like, 'discovery' and 'explore.' These are the words that admit our ignorance of the truth. These are words that make me want to cry over the loss of all the infinite potential. These are words that even make me want to SCREAM at the idiots calling the Higgs boson particle the god particle. Haven't those geniuses ever read Ramban…?

I guess I am babbling again…

Shabbat Shalom!