Blog5 Oct25 Habituating to Russia. When the extraordinary becomes ordinary. The Idiot, Christ, ballet, opera, cathedrals and Dom Knigi.
I have a friend and teacher, Shinzen Young, who has meditated and taught meditation for 40 years. He says that one change is that he wakes up fresh each morning excited about what the day may bring — like a nine year old on the first day of summer vacation. Each experience, each breath is new and fresh. I know that neurologists have shown that the brains of long term meditators are different from ordinary folks — and their fMR’s show this “brand new” or “lack of habituation” effect.
I guess I have not been meditating long enough because I am becoming habituated to this life in Russia. Yesterday I went over to the Mariinskiy Theater to buy some tickets and make sure that Franny could get a bus there tomorrow. So, I got my keys, camera, passport, wallet, phone, guidebook, map, vest, warm coat, gloves, metro tokens, etc — unlocked/locked inner and outer doors, descended 30 stories to the bomb-shelter and art-works subway, ascended at Senyanna Ploscad station, oriented myself, walked to the canal and along it for 20 minutes to the lion bridge, then to the Mariinskiy Theater, negotiated for the tickets, studied bus maps and schedules and where the stops are for Franny to use tomorrow, had some blini’s and coffee, took a bus to the House of Books, Dom Knigi, bought some maps and recalled that it was just across the street from the famed Kazan Cathedral, listened to a fabulous choir and sung liturgy, bought and lit three small candles for Franny, our relationship, and all of us, walked to the Gostinyy Dvor metro for the squashed like sardine ride back with scarcely a glance at the wondrous murals, frescoes, and sculpture that decorate the metro stations, and finally back thru the metal doors to our little abode.
//PICTURES ABOVE // LION BRIDGE//MARIINSKIY THEATER//DOM KINIGI DOME//ME READING “THE IDIOT” IN DOM KINIGI COFFEE SHOP WITH KAZAN CATHETHRAL IN THE BACKGROUND//INTERIOUR OF KAZAN//MY THREE CANDLES
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On the way back I thought of our Monday writing seminar where we were challenged to create some writing about Doveskeyski’s “The Idiot” — where the author portrayed a truly good man as a bit of a simple fool who could not fit into regular society. He includes a painting of Christ by Holbein, and seems to suggest that Christ himself would have just as hard a time handling the intrigues of Russian 19th century society.
The book just pisses me off. While D was a great author, he had no conception of true enlightenment — or the POWER available to those that have penetrated the illusion of self and have no fear. They may be good, they are neither weak nor necessarily sweet or gentle or kind to others ego’s. their goal is to WAKE UP” others to penetrate the illusion of their own foolish beliefs. Some are really scary because you know they can see right through all your protective ego masks and games. Sasaki Roshi, Shinzen’s teacher is an example – He takes no shit from anyone – just like Christ in the temple — he is FIERCE.
Doveskeyski does skillfully point out the sick ego games that people get involved with, but he had no solution. He just wallows around in a sewer of negative thought — just like the existentialists that followed him. [End of rant.]
///PICTURES//HOLBEINS CHRIST//SASAKI ROSHI (I was at his 100th birthday celebration 2 years ago and he is still whipping students into shape on Mount Baldy!)
Franny and I started on the Hermitage – visiting the just the first floor. I was taken by a roman sculpture of Jupiter — and another of Emperor Hadrian. He memorialized the fierceness of my Scottish ancestors by building a huge stone wall across northern England to keep them out. Purportedly they scared the shit out of the Romans by roaring into battle stark naked and painted blue. That what I call really going for it in playing this human game on the planet earth. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to skiing “the wall”, surfing hurricane waves, marrying “the dragon lady”, or braving St. Petersburg darkening winter.
//PICTURES//HERITAGE//JUPITOR//HAPPY YOUTH IN PERPETUAL CONTEMPLATION OF WOMANS ROUNDED BEAUTY (Franny pointed this out)
God bless all. From Russia with love blog# 5. October 27, 2010
Franny trying to catch a snow flake by the flower shop on our corner.