Chapter Nine — Henry Miller
“Good evening, Socrates. I am looking for June. Have you seen her?”
“We were with each other earlier Henry. She had asked me to assist her in finding you and Anaïs. Then the music started and June wanted to dance. She left after a few dances to look for you. Is everything okay?”
“Socrates, I do not believe you could have any idea how chaotic it feels to be in between two women I love.”
“O’ I think I might,” responds Socrates. “I have had my share of misunderstandings and romanic mixups. You are not alone.”
“I feel as if I am always in two worlds at once, and neither of them is the world of reality. One is the world I think I am in, the other the world I would like to be in.”
“That is a dilemma my friend. What then do you think is the world of reality?”
“I think everyone has his own reality in which, if one is not too cautious, timid or frightened, one swims. This is the only reality there is. If you can get it down on paper, in words, notes, or color, so much the better. The great artists don’t even bother to put it down on paper: they live it silently, they become it. This is the reality I strive for.”
“Is this the reality you found during your years living in Big Sur?
“You know Socrates for some time now I have stressed the fact that whatever “it” is one gets here at Big Sur, one gets it harder, faster, straighter than one would elsewhere. I come back to it again. I say, the people there are fundamentally no different from the people elsewhere. Their problems are basically the same as those who inhabit the cities, the jungles, the desert or the vast steppes. The greatest problem is not how to get along with one’s neighbor but how to get along with one’s self. Trite, you might say. But true, nevertheless.”
“I agree. During my years at Esalen my life expanded in so many directions and areas of self discovery. I began to seen the world and life differently. My senses were put on reboot. I could see perfectly.”
“Things not only look different, they are different, when perfect sight is restored. To see things whole is to be whole. The fellow who is out to burn things up is the counterpart of the fool who thinks he can save the world. The world needs neither to be burned up nor to be saved. The world is, we are. Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing. By the way Socrates, thank you for the invitation. This is life’s true reality.”
“My pleasure Henry. You know it was your book Big Sur And The Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch that implanted Big Sur into my consciousness. Upon completion of your book, I started looking for a way to get there. It was in Big Sur where I experienced magic again, from start to finish. That place and my experiences there opened my life to the miraculous.”
“The greatest miracle Socrates is the discovery that all is miraculous. And the nature of the miraculous is utter simplicity. The ground for any kind of growth and cultivation is prepared by lying fallow. The nearer I get to the grave the more time I have to lay fallow. Nothing is important now, in the sense it once was. I can lean to the right or left, without danger of capsizing. I can go off the course, too, if I wish, because my destination is no longer a fixed one. As those two delightful bums in Waiting For Godot say time and again:
And no one budges.”
“Perfect my friend! An unfixed destination, that is what I strive to inspire here with my guests. How perfect it is when we realize that the miraculous is everywhere in everything. That the one in all waits patiently for all to be at one with all there is.”
“And you have. My suite is all the places I want to write, the Inn, these garden filled grounds, your guests. This is all part of the miraculous Socrates. You have created this heaven.”
“Yes it is my friend, but the inspiration comes through you and the other writers, poets, philosophers and artists who are here by my invitation. I am merely the facilitator. We all process a certain amount of wisdom and this wisdom needs to be shared with all of life.”
“I agree Socrates. Every great sage has maintained that it is impossible to impart wisdom. And it is wisdom we need, not more knowledge or even “better” knowledge. We need wisdom of life, which is a kind of knowledge that only initiates have thus far been known to possess.”
“Yes Henry and we are the new initiates.”
“I discovered eventually that, after giving time and attention to people, what I said made no difference. I maintain that advice is futile. One must find out for himself. It sounds cruel but it isn’t.”
“No, it is not cruel and it is true,” says Socrates.
“You have to get to the point of no return before coming up again. There’s no God protecting you. In the end you have to come back to yourself. It has got to be you doing something, whatever you decide upon. Do what you think you have to do and don’t try to follow somebody else’s pattern because he was successful. You can’t be that way. You are You. You’re absolutely unique and each one has his own destiny. We can learn as much as we wish, listen to the greatest masters and so on, but what we do, what we become, is determined by our character. The aim of life, Socrates, is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”
“Spoken like a true man of wisdom and it is that kind of wisdom which infuses the blood and cells of every person here, individually and collectively. That is why I invited you here Henry to share your experience and wisdom with us.”
“I did have diarrhea of the mouth there for a bit. After saying I know longer give advice to people, I proceeded to tell the advice I would give, to the person who has no need of my words.”
“Advice given from our experience and shared with a pure heart is wisdom Henry.”
“Thank you Socrates for that insight. I am overwhelmingly joyful to be invited this this wondrous reality. There is just one other thing to know…when you have expressed yourself to the fullest, then and only then will it dawn upon you that everything has already been expressed, not in words alone but in deed, and that all you need really do is say Amen!”
“I seem to hear that word often of late Henry. Amen!”
At that moment June and Anaïs approach us, arm in arm, laughing like two school girls sharing a secret.
“Back to reality,” says Henry in a whisper. “But what a reality to be in Socrates, I am the happiest man alive.”
The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Ten — May Sarton will be published on Sunday, July 01, 2018.