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Trudi Lee Richards

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  1. Reflections on how we can plant the seed of peace - in response to the war in Ukraine This war freaks me out. Because of the real life horror of it, but also, of course, because of what might possibly, unthinkably happen, IF… When the news first broke, all I could do, in shock, was to think obsessively about it, trying to find a way out. But instead of finding a way out, all that thinking unleashed all my worst fears, and for a while I felt myself close to slipping into a bleak darkness, and never coming out… Thankfully, I now know that can never happen, I’ll never stay in the dark forever, because I’m too scared of the dark. This last time I was so scared that all I could do was grapple frantically for a way out – which, little by little, I found. The light that helped me find that way out was simply the discovery that I was wrong, that I’m not powerless. Not at all. Of course I’m not talking here about the big, external world picture. It’s true I’m pretty helpless there – all I can do there is send money to help the victims, or whatever other real-world action I can take. And that kind of thing is important – but it isn’t enough. It won’t bring peace, not to me and not to anyone. The only place we can really make peace, plant the vital seed of peace, is inside us and among us. There we’re far from powerless. Which is why I made this podcast – it’s part of my way of making peace, since I doubt I’m alone in being afraid of the dark… Heartfelt thanks as always, to Silo, for pointing the way to Peace in the Heart, Light in the Understanding. Thanks also to all the members of the IRC Ensemble, a virtual band born out of the pandemic. And finally, thanks to the 7 Days of Asking project, particularly the friends who meet every day on zoom and Facebook to ask for Peace in Ukraine. Following is an invitation to that daily guided meditation, for anyone who would like to join in at any time: You’re invited to join us any day in a heartfelt Asking for Peace in Ukraine. We meet for 15 minutes to concentrate all our best thoughts and wishes on the conflict in Ukraine, asking for peace and an end to the violence and the suffering. We ask for a heartfelt outcry to arise among all the people of this world, and we imagine our wishes being fulfilled. Zoom at 11AM NY time and 8AM West Coast Live stream on Facebook. https://facebook.com/groups/7daysofasking Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81293615231?pwd=aWp6NndMRTVLbjl6SmJ2RElxVWc5UT09 Meeting ID: 812 9361 5231 Passcode: peace Unleash Peace Peace lives inside of each of us sleeping in our core Find it! Find it! Go inside, slip through that inner door and steal into your heart of hearts where all is well forevermore There in the calm and timeless joy of deep eternity whisper to your own true self, the time has come my sweet to softly unleash this inner force, this balm to end all suffering Let it flow through all the world in gentle waves of warmth and peace reconciling everyone setting all beings free Let it manifest and shine its joyous relief blooming sweet in every heart universal harmony. Please share this invitation with others.
  2. a musical mini-episode... Song written and performed by Trudi Lee Richards, with Dan Buchanan on piano - recorded at Resound Northwest, Portland, Oregon, 2021.
  3. Reading of the Guided Experience by Silo This relaxing poetic tale is one many "guided experiences" by Silo that have been described both as "short stories with happy endings" and as "psychological practices based on an original literary form."* All the Guided Experiences are available for download at silo.net, as well as in print at Latitude Press, where audio recordings can also be downloaded. This reading of "The Protector of Life" was recorded by Trudi Lee Richards to the music of Erik Satie, Gymnopédie no. 1 (for Harp) (available courtesy of Musopen.org). *silo.net The Protector of Life I am floating on my back in a lagoon. The water feels very pleasant, and effortlessly looking on either side, I discover that I can see the bottom through the crystalline water. The sky is a brilliant blue. Close by, washed by the waters of the sea, is a beach of soft, almost white sand that forms a quiet inlet without waves. I feel my body floating gently, becoming more and more relaxed, filling me with an extraordinary sensation of well-being. I decide to turn over, and begin to swim with smooth strokes until I reach the beach, where I slowly emerge from the water. The landscape is tropical. I see date and coconut palms, and feel the warmth of the sun and the soft breeze on my skin. To my surprise, on my right I discover the entrance to a grotto with a stream of clear water flowing nearby. As I approach the grotto, I see a woman standing inside. A crown of flowers adorns her head and I can see her beautiful eyes, but I cannot tell her age. Yet behind her face, which radiates kindness and understanding, I sense there lies a great wisdom. As I gaze at her, all of nature falls silent. “I am the Protector of Life,” she says. Hesitantly I answer that I do not understand what she means. At this moment a fawn approaches and licks her hand. She invites me to enter the grotto and has me sit on the sand facing a smooth rock wall. I cannot see her now, but I hear her say, “Breathe gently, and tell me what you see.” I begin to breathe slowly and deeply, and immediately a clear image of the ocean appears before me on the rock. As I breathe in, the waves roll onto the beach. As I breathe out, the waves recede. Then she tells me, “Everything in your body is rhythm and beauty. So many times you have despised your body, without comprehending this marvelous instrument you have for expressing yourself in the world.” At this moment many scenes from my life begin to appear on the rock wall—I see myself feeling shame, fear, and horror about certain aspects of my body. These images follow one after another. (*) I feel uncomfortable when I realize that she is watching these scenes, but immediately calm myself. Then she adds, “Even in sickness and old age, your body will be like a faithful dog that accompanies you until the final moment. Do not despise your body when it cannot fulfill all your whims. Meanwhile make it strong and healthy. Take care of your body so that it can serve you well, and be guided in this only by the opinions of those who are wise. I who have passed through all the ages know well that the idea of beauty is ever-changing. If you do not regard your body as your closest friend, it will become sad and ill—therefore you must accept it completely. It is your instrument for expressing yourself in the world. “I want you to see now the part of your body that is weakest and least healthy.” At once the image of this part of my body appears. (*) The Protector of Life rests her hand on this area, and I feel a life-giving warmth. I sense waves of energy expanding in this area, and I experience a profound acceptance of my body, just as it is. (*) “Take care of your body, following only the opinions of those who are wise, and do not harm it with illnesses that exist only in your imagination. Now go, filled with vitality and at peace with yourself.” Upon emerging from the grotto, strengthened and healthy, I drink the crystalline water of the stream and feel completely renewed. The sun and the wind caress my body as I cross the white sand toward the lagoon. When I reach the water, for an instant I glimpse in the depths the kind reflection of the Protector of Life. As I enter the water, I give thanks within myself for my body, this marvelous instrument I have received from nature. (*) - from Tales for Heart and Mind, The Guided Experiences by Silo, published by Latitude Press, http://www.latitudepress.com/Latitude_Press/Catalog.html
  4. from the book "The Inner Look," from Silo's Message A reading of Chapter XIV of the book "The Inner Look," from Silo's Message - read by Trudi Lee Richards. Musical accompaniment: Adagio in G Minor by Tomaso Albinoni, arranged for guitar and performed by Noh Donghwan. Here is the text, from Chapter XIV of the book "The Inner Look" in Silo's Message: XIV. GUIDE TO THE INNER ROAD If you understand what I have explained so far, you can, through a simple exercise, readily experience the manifestation of the Force. It is not the same, however, to search for the correct mental position (as if this were a question of approaching a technical task) as it is to enter the kind of emotional tone and openness that poetryinspires. The language used to transmit these truths, then, is intended to facilitate an attitude that makes it easier to be in the presence of internal perception, rather than in the presence of an idea of “internal perception.” Now follow attentively what I will explain to you, because it concerns the inner landscape you may encounter when working with the Force, and the directions you can imprint on your mental movements. “On the inner road you may walk darkened or luminous. Attend to the two roads that open before you. If you let your being cast itself toward dark regions, your body wins the battle and it dominates. Then, sensations and appearances of spirits, of forces, of memories will arise. On this road you descend further and further. Here dwell Hatred, Vengeance, Strangeness, Possession, Jealousy, and the Desire to Remain. Should you descend even further you will be invaded by Frustration, Resentment, and all those dreams and desires that have brought ruin and death upon humanity. If you impel your being in a luminous direction, you will find resistance and fatigue at every step. There are things to blame for this fatigue in the ascent. Your life weighs; your memories weigh; your previous actions impede the ascent. The climb is made difficult by the action of your body, which tends to dominate. In the steps of the ascent you will find strange regions of pure colors and unknown sounds. Do not flee purification, which acts like fire and horrifies with its phantoms. Reject startling fears and disheartenment. Reject the desire to flee toward low and dark regions. Reject the attachment to memories. Remain in internal liberty, indifferent toward the dream of the landscape, with resolution in the ascent. The pure light dawns in the summits of the great mountain chains, and the waters-of-a-thousand-colors flow amid unrecognizable melodies toward crystalline plateaus and prairies. Do not fear the pressure of the light, which pushes against you with increasing strength the closer you draw to its center. Absorb it as though it were a liquid or a wind—certainly, in it is life. When you find the hidden city in the great mountain chain you must know the entrance—and you will know it in the moment your life is transformed. Its enormous walls are written in figures, are written in colors, are “sensed.” In this city are kept the done and the yet-to-be-done. But for your inner eye the transparent is opaque. Yes, the walls are impenetrable for you! Take the Force of the hidden city. Return to the world of dense life with your brow and your hands luminous.” Read by Trudi Lee Richards *According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “Adagio in G Minor, composition attributed to Tomaso Albinoni… is not by Albinoni at all. It is a mid-20th century creation by Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto, who claimed to have found a fragment of an Albinoni composition in the archives of a German library.” Whoever really wrote it, this arrangement for guitar, by Noh Donghwan, is licensed under CC by 3.0. - <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Adagio-in-G-Minor>
  5. an experiential mini-episode "We do not die!" This was what, in astonished recognition, I told myself one day more than twenty years ago, when I stumbled without warning into the Place Where We Do Not Die. I do not know how I got there – perhaps it had something to do with certain nerves being stimulated by the abdominal massage I was receiving for my insomnia. But the “how” doesn’t matter – I hastened to get more massages after that, and they always left me in the most ordinary of realities. What matters is the possibility that we do not die... (for full transcript, see Show Notes below...) “We do not die…!” This was what, in astonished recognition, I told myself one day more than twenty years ago, when I stumbled without warning into the Place Where We Do Not Die. I do not know how I got there – perhaps it had something to do with certain nerves being stimulated by the abdominal massage I was receiving for my insomnia. But the “how” doesn’t matter – I hastened to get more massages after that, and they always left me in the most ordinary of realities. What matters is the possibility that we do not die. For me, a chance massage made that possibility a certainty, and that certainty changed my life, filling it with new and joyous meaning. Naturally I’ve yearned to share the good news with all the world ever since – yet until now, apart from a few conversations with friends and a few poems and stories, I have kept the whole thing to myself. After all, I had no desire to be pigeonholed as some kind of naive spiritual grandstander, and anyway I couldn’t imagine anyone in the mainstream media giving me the time of day. Now, however, current events have changed all that. Given the overwhelming dismay so many are feeling in the face of humanity’s current plight, I can no longer keep silent. I am encouraged in this decision by the example of Argentine sage Silo, who declared his own faith in transcendence in his 1980 talk on the Meaning of Life: “Those who achieve that faith or that transcendent experience—even if they cannot define it in precise terms, as one cannot precisely define love—will recognize the need to orient others toward meaning in life, though never do they try to impose their own landscape on those who do not recognize it. “And so… I declare before all of you my faith and my certainty from experience that death does not stop the future, that death on the contrary modifies the provisional state of our existence to launch it toward immortal transcendence. And I do not impose my certainty or my faith upon anyone, and I live in harmony with those who find themselves in different states with respect to meaning in life. But I am obliged in solidarity to offer this message—a message that I recognize makes the human being happy and free. For no reason will I evade my responsibility to express my truths, though they may seem doubtful to those who experience the provisional nature of life and the absurdity of death.”* Here, then, is my testimony, taken from the notes I jotted down immediately upon returning from my “rapture”: “I am here again, in this place I lived long ago in my agonized youth. Now, as if no time at all had passed, my good friends and I are together again, all of us young and vital, talking quietly as we share soup and bread around the long plank table in our old Santa Cruz adobe. The warm evening sun is pouring in through the open back door, nasturtiums are climbing gold and green around the doorframe, and we can hear the sound of the sea that rushes up to us across the white dunes… “Everything is the same as it was in my dim and painful youth, with one profound difference. Now, for the first time, I am here with all my being, fully and joyfully present. In those old times, when I was not yet young enough at heart to know myself, I spent almost every waking moment turned inward on myself, fascinated by the horrific shadows of my fears, and so hardly noticed the beauty and warmth of my surroundings or the shining faces of my companions… “But now, oh glory, now at last I am truly here, life filling every cell and fiber of my being with an ocean of contentment and peace. I know now that all is well, always has been, and always will be. I know that we do not die, and that nothing good is ever lost, and that all negativity is nothing but a misinterpretation of reality. Even all the years of my youth that I thought lost in misery are here, shining in all their beauty, because the essence of every moment is eternal…” That is what I wrote – and that is all. I knew at the time that there was much more, if only I could remember it – but it had already slipped away… Back in the day-to-day realm, or almost back, I found myself lying on the floor, receiving my massage from the very young man who had just set up his new San Francisco office. Still half lingering in that blissful other time and space, wondering if I could somehow stay there, I asked him, “Will they arrest you for murder if I don’t come back?” Taken aback, he only chuckled uncertainly, and said, “You had a strong experience…” “Yes,” I told him. “I was in the Place Where We Do Not Die. Do you know anything about that?” He did not know what to say. As for me, I left his office bowled over, delighted beyond belief, feeling like I was beginning an entirely new life, a life in which never again would I be truly afraid of death. I have never had another such experience, and I know that from a rational point of view none of this makes any sense. Yet never for a microsecond have I doubted its truth. Even today, when the experience is only a memory, the certainty is still with me. I know in my bones that we do not die. Not that I’m trying to convince anyone. I know we each have to find our own truth. I just want to share my experience because it fills me with such relief and gladness that I want to sing it from the rooftops and bring others joy. Imagine the wonderful mayhem when our immortality suddenly becomes common knowledge! First the headlines: WE DO NOT DIE! DEATH EXPOSED AS AN IMPOSTER! Then the feature story: After seven million years of pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, Death, the former Big Boss of all humanity, has finally been exposed as a shameless fraud. Inside sources report that after heavy losses of an undisclosed nature, the Grim Reaper has been forced to abandon his multiple estates on all the continents and is living out of his car somewhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas, Nevada… Then, almost as an afterthought, in a quietly dignified black box on the back page, Death’s obituary. With that the floodgates open, and the testimonials begin to pour into everyone’s Twitter feed: Yes! I had the same experience! And finally even the scientists begin to test the radical new “Entirely Benign Theory” of human existence… When that day comes – and it will! – imagine the dancing and singing and riotous celebrating that will erupt all across the planet! The pharmaceutical companies will lose a sizable chunk of their business because no one will be anxious or depressed or stressed. Even the mother of all fears, the Fear of Death, will finally be able to relax and start enjoying life, maybe take up watercolors… It is in anticipation of that day that I am sharing my story. I realize my account is only anecdotal, and look forward to the day when those with proper credentials devise the double blind studies that will confirm the truth of the matter once and for all, saving billions of skeptics millennia of needless suffering. Until then, I am speaking my piece as one more bit of evidence that it is possible to live without fear. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not enlightened. While the discovery that we do not die changed something deep inside me, it unfortunately left the ramshackle castle of my surface life quite shakily intact. I still wake up every day to uncertainty, and I still fear losing my health, my loved ones, my home, my money, my physical life – as befits this realm of pain and pleasure and constant change. But – and this is the best thing about knowing we don’t die – my life is no longer completely run by fear. I may still be swept into the panic of the moment, but my roots go deep, and through them I can feel the calm that comes up from the depths. And I know where I’m going, and what I want. I’m heading to the Place We Do Not Die, and when I get there, I want more than anything to throw open the door for everyone, everyone, everyone to enter. Until then, I am happy to be here with everyone on this wild carnival ride we call life. To keep from falling off, I try to do what the sages suggest – pray, meditate, live joyfully, be kind, and give thanks. So in gratitude for walking the path of life, and in deep appreciation for all the signposts, rock pyramids, and fluttering flags of hope and encouragement left by other travelers along the way, I am planting here beside the path my own joyous banner: “We Do Not Die. Nothing good is ever lost. Negativity is just a misinterpretation of a thoroughly benign reality…” *from Silo’s talk on the “Meaning of Life,” Mexico City, 1980
  6. a hopeful blues musical mini-episode Song written and sung by Trudi Lee Richards, with piano accompaniment by Dan Buchanan - recorded at Resound NW, Portland, Oregon, in September 2021. A Crazy Possibility - lyrics by Trudi Lee Richards 
 Well, looking around me I'm ready to scream What am I doing in this chaotic dream? Why can't I be elsewhere happy and free the way I was told life was supposed to be? Refrain: Happy and free yeah happy and free the way she was told life is supposed to be! Then I hear a whisper right up close to me: "Look deep inside and you just might see there are no victims in this reality..." And I look all around me - No one here but me! Refrain: No one there at all, no one there but she, there are no victims in this reality! But then I start to wonder if it might just be that if I embrace my insanity accept my dis-ease and my fragility I'll find deep inside that I truly am free? Refrain: It don't seem likely but maybe it could be she finds inside she truly is free I seem to remember we came seeded with light impossible bundles of squirming delight spiraling inward from beyond the stars impelled from within to become who we are Refrain: Spiraling inward from beyond the stars impelled from within to become who we are Well, maybe in the process I forgot my own name but battling my demons I strengthen my faith and now I'm wondering if there's something to this "we" and I exist for you and you exist for me? Refrain: I exist for you and you exist for me cause that's the way it's meant to be! Then looking around me here's what I see: a whole crazy world full of possibility where I'm here for you and you're here for me, 'cause that's the way life is supposed to be - Refrain: We're here for each other me for you and you for me 'cause that's the way life is supposed to be!
  7. a poetic mini-episode "Blessings" is a poem by Trudi Lee Richards, read here by the poet.
  8. Sounds great - but what do I DO with the code once I copy it???? How do I use it in my website? I have a wordpress website - wingedlionpress.org - and I'm sorry, but it just isn't obvious to me... 😕
  9. Sounds great - but what do I DO with the code once I copy it???? How do I use it in my website? I have a wordpress website - wingedlionpress.org - and I'm sorry, but it just isn't obvious to me... 😕
  10. an interview with Michael Cameron of Silo's Message in Oakland, California What if you’re just starting out in life and everything you’re supposed to be excited about – college, career, money and success – leaves you cold? What if even your friendships seem empty? What if nobody you ask can tell you how to find meaning in life? That was Michael’s quandary at 17. All through high school he’d been looking for answers, and now he figured he didn’t have any choice. “Either I find meaning,” he resolved, “or I end my life…” Well – he’s still here. I know – I talked to him just last week on zoom, and he smiled a lot. So I asked him what happened, and how he keeps smiling – even in the face of climate change, the pandemic, and all the other the disasters brewing all around us all the time. And he told me – and I ended up smiling too. Some of what we talk about in this episode: How to have faith in the future without being naive or fanatical What's so great about cleaning up garbage with your neighbors Why people are building meditation halls shaped like Hershey's kisses all over the world Why people in the part of Brazil with the highest teen suicide rate are flocking to Silo's Message The great gift a dying old geezer on oxygen gave Michael Why failure is the most important thing that can happen to you The real question: how can we NOT keep smiling?
  11. A Podcast on Rebelling Against Death A podcast on rebelling against Death.
  12. ...about Life and her Special Child, our good friend, Death… What happens when two quite mortal humans launch themselves out into the void to talk about Life and her Special Child, our good friend Death? To find out, tune into this bouncy conversation between myself and the beautiful and exuberant young writer, artist and youtube creator Zulema Fernandez. Also, meet Jose, author of Hacedor de sentido – Maker of Meaning* – and his growing online community, Comunidad Hacedor de Sentido, who say this about themselves: “We welcome individuals from around the world who wish to help each other become better people, free human beings working together to transform ourselves and our environment. By contacting the Force within us and deepening our experience of the Transcedent, we aspire to contribute to a qualitative leap by our species.”** It was through that online community that Jose met Zulema. She was such an enthusiastic and articulate participant that when I asked Jose if any of his community members might like to speak with me on this podcast, he immediately put me in touch with her. That was how Zulema and I ended up meeting on Zoom at the end of May for a delightful half-hour conversation in which we barely scraped the tip of death rebellion iceberg. Here are a few teasers: Why talk about death? Because it makes us more aware of life…. Maybe what dies is just our character, but not the consciousness that lives through that character… …I suddenly felt like I was one with all the people surrounding me, like it was completely impossible to cut that connection. And I felt so much love and peace, I only could cry of happiness… The strange thing is, I wasn’t looking for that experience. It just occurred, like a flower blooms! We are surrounded by this idea, that there is nothing more. That when we die, we die. But if there is nothing more, why are we constantly feeling that there is not enough, with ourselves, with our lives? Observe how you ARE the other. The other human being, the other flower, the other mountain… We ended our interchange with an eerily beautiful musical performance by Zulema, followed by some of my favorite words from “The Path” in Silo’s Message: Do not imagine that you are alone in your village, in your city, on the earth, or among the infinite worlds. Do not imagine that you are enchained to this time and this space. Do not imagine that upon your death, lonliness will become eternal. Our conversation left both of us touched and inspired, and we agreed that we would love to meet again, and invited any interested listeners to join us for an (unrecorded) zoom session. *The novel Hacedor de Sentido/Maker of Meaning is currently being translated into English – contact Trudi for more information. **Meetings of Comunidad Hacedor de Sentido are in Spanish only
  13. Show Notes - Episode #2:On Pretending - plus a bit more on Rebelling Against Death...Pretending... any serious actor will agree that it’s a fine art. Yet hardly anyone but little children takes it seriously. For most of us, http://wingedlionpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/DWLlogocolor-1024x1024.png Show Notes – Episode #2: On Pretending – plus a bit more on Rebelling Against Death… Pretending… any serious actor will agree that it’s a fine art. Yet hardly anyone but little children takes it seriously. For most of us, our imagination begins to atrophy from neglect after we pass the age of seven, and we never experience the power of pretending intentionally, with all our heart and soul. That’s what this episode is about. Before getting into that, however, I had to respond to a complaint from the first episode. One of our listeners reached out to explain they liked my poems and stories very much, but what exactly did I mean by “rebelling against death”? That knocked me for a loop. After all, what I meant was perfectly clear to me! But once again I had to remember what I so often forget: that not everyone is just like me, and sees things the same way I do. So in this, our second episode, I attempt to clarify what I meant. I talk about how in our culture death is taboo. But even though we don’t talk about it, and try not to think about it, the fear of it dogs our footsteps. We have a million ways to run away from it – but no matter what we do, how we distract ourselves, when we turn around, it’s still there: the mother of all fears, lurking just out of sight but never completely out of mind… So most of us just keep running, trying to ignore it, until it’s on top of us. But there’s another option, something anyone with a little gumption can do: we can rebel against death. By rebelling against death, I simply mean being fully alive, alive in every moment. This time I give a number of suggestions for how to do that, and tell the story of a good friend’s mother, my inspirational Death Rebel poster child, who lived happily to be over 100 and when asked her secret, said simply, “I always love what I do.” We switch gears with a little song about an octopus in the closet, and then move on to the piece de resistance: the fine art of pretending. Pretending is one of the most powerful tools in any death rebel’s tool chest. And like rebelling against death, it has both life-giving and life-dulling uses. We all know about the life-dulling uses – all the different forms of escape that the imagination can indulge in… The life-giving uses, though less well-known, are just as available to all of us and just as doable. I talk about a few of the legion ways we can use pretending and the imagination to enliven us, to give us the strength and courage to battle even death itself. As testimony, I tell my own story of how pretending saved me from obsessive anxiety by putting me in touch with a deep inner peace. Because it’s not true that we can only be happy in happy circumstances. With a little intentionality and heartfelt pretending, anyone can be happy even in a world like today’s, where violence erupts at the drop of a hat and fear and doubt loom everywhere… We end this episode with a reading of my mid-pandemic epic poem: The Great 21st Century Poemic, and an invitation to drop in for one of our “play dates” in the Community of Silo’s Message… The Great 21st Century Poemic It struck one day out of the blue, cropping up all at once in random spots all across the planet The first known cases were a small boy in Lincoln, Nebraska, whom his mother found one morning reciting strange and beautiful words a small smile on his small face and a grandmother in Melbourne, Australia, who was caught that very same day wandering the aisles of a department store reciting verses from the Tang Dynasty After that the Poemic spread lickety split leaping like lightning across whole continents and oceans In London a mother of six woke up spouting Tennyson and in no time her entire family was babbling in iambic pentameter In Buenos Aires a family was stricken with the odes of Pindar in the original ancient Greek In Beijing a whole neighborhood was infested with Billy Collins And so it went. How the Poemic was able to spread itself so far and wide so fast no one knew At first it was thought to be passed simply through the spoken word but soon infectious particles were discovered hitching rides on sound waves, in rays of sunlight and even nestled in random thoughts Scientists also knew that however it flew it was always spewing out more and more spores that would land take hold and grow anywhere It was only a matter of time before the entire economy of the world had settled into a deathly peaceful lull. In the factories no one stood on the assembly lines In the banks no one begged for loans and no one doled them out In the schools no one taught the state curriculum and no one was bored Day after day everyone everywhere simply dreamt the time away to the murmured declamation of immortal poetry both ancient and new Everyone assumed that soon the infection would burn itself out and things would go back to normal But instead the Poemic only settled in with a happy gurgle sinking its teeth deep into the tender underbelly of the human genome And so it went for days and weeks and months and years… Suffice it to say that to this day no known victim has ever recovered This is perhaps a loss for History but all things considered no one seems to be complaining Because after the first onslaught things began to change in quite unobjectionable ways People began to go about their days speaking in poetry and fixing things and before long no one was going hungry no one was left out in the cold no one sick was left uncared for no one old was forgotten no one sad was ignored and no one anywhere was afraid of dying lonely and alone Instead people sang while they made soup and someone was always baking cookies Farmers smiled at their cows and hummed while they fertilized their fields Scientists stopped scorning testimonies of life after death Physicians healed by laying on of hands Chemists formulated harmless potions that dissolved pain Teachers led children into the fields to study bugs and flowers and wade in streams and catch pollywogs Young people studied what they loved and got paid in poems That was how it happened that people stopped hurting each other and simply did what needed to be done, and when the time came for rest they sat together on porches and admired the way the dust motes danced in rays of the sun And little by little in every place every last member of the human race began to wake up each day with a smile on their face for no rational reason at all. happy and peaceful in every way for no rational reason at all. Music: Intro and outro: “Follow Me” Octopus interlude: “Little struggles” Both tunes by IRCarus Ensemble, Portland, Oregon, 2021
  14. Episode #1 http://wingedlionpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/DWLlogocolor-768x768.jpg with Trudi Lee Richards Show Notes – Episode #1: A Back Door to Transcendence How I got myself into this… I’ve always been a ham, always loved to read my poems and stories aloud to as many spellbound listeners as possible – but aside from the occasional poetry reading, it’s never been that easy to find an audience. It got worse when I started singing – by then I was already an old person in a youth culture, and who was going to listen? I had pretty much resigned myself to singing and otherwise spouting off in the shower when I discovered that my grown kids and their friends – currently my prime preaching target – all love podcasts. So it was a no-brainer… What do I have to say that’s worth listening to? Here’s my message: We Do Not Die. And yes, I’m serious. No matter what you believe, I’ll wager you are at least secretly fascinated with death and the possibility of transcendence, especially these days… We all know we’re going to die and we have no idea what that means, so most of us are afraid of death. And that fear is not just personal – it’s social and cultural, and has been with us since long before the current health and climate crises we’re facing. At least in the west, our culture has been staunchly in denial of death for centuries, even millennia. Maybe that’s why many if not most of our institutions are designed to turn our attention anywhere but towards our unthinkable end. Look how much time we spend glued to our screens in the grip of shopping, gambling, gaming, overworking, thrill-seeking, finding our soul mate… Whatever else we are doing with those pastimes, they work like a charm to distract us from whatever we don’t want to think about – namely death and everything else that makes us think of our ultimate doom. Even so, having such an enormous elephant in the room has got to make us all uncomfortable, at least on some level. So I say let’s bring death out in the open, let’s talk about it. And if we’d really rather not die at all, let’s rebel against death! Rebelling against death – the practical approach to living I’m not just talking about feeling better. Rebelling against death turns out to be the best, most practical tool for living effectively. Death and everything that reminds me of death and loss (eg the pandemic, climate change, getting too fat, my children’s troubles, etc. etc.) scares me, and my fear is paralyzing. Fear saps me of energy, makes me want to do nothing but hide in a dark corner and huddle in front of the TV with a carton of chocolate ice cream. The only way I can un-paralyze myself is to say screw that, I’m going to live the way I want to live, death or no death! Then I very irrationally but very intentionally look at the future as though it were endless and full of promise – and suddenly I’m full of energy and courage to fight the good fight. “There is no meaning in life if everything ends with death.” Those are the words of South American sage Silo, who also says “Death is the biggest illusion there is.” OK – maybe death is an illusion – but it’s one we all believe in as fervently as we used to believe in the monster under the bed. And with good reason, because it’s obvious we’re going to die. So what’s the way out? Clearly, reason isn’t going to cut it. Instead, in this podcast we’re taking our cue from the happiest and most “well-adjusted” people we know, those irrational optimists who dare to live as if they were never going to die. Because that’s the only thing that works with death – if you face him head on, he’ll whack your head off. But he won’t even notice you if you slip in the back way, through the door of the heart, to meet the Winged Lioness and her holy arsenal – meditation, prayer, poetry, storytelling, music… — Readings: Me and Mr. Bach I was twelve years old, a curious, lonely, enraptured child, full of forebodings about the mysterious future. One evening when my parents and my little brother and sisters were all busy with their various pursuits, I felt like listening to music by myself. Retreating to my mother’s music room, I put on a recording of J.S. Bach’s Musical Offering and lay down on the cool wood floor to listen. My mother was a music teacher, and was always blasting classical music through the house, so I’d heard this piece before – but I’d never really listened. That evening, lying there in solitude, gazing up into the dark, I did listen. Abandoning myself to the music, I let the pristine, untrammeled construction of melody and rhythm fill me and carry me upward, upward and upward, suffusing me with bliss… Until at the peak of this rapture, recognition filled me, and I knew through and through, deep in my bones and to the ends of the earth, that All Is Well. Without the slightest doubt, and with utter relief, I knew that Life is Sublime, and that there was nothing to fear, because Life held me close, and would always guide me. Hushed in the Sublime, I rode that clear, sweet tidal wave until it spread out in silent ripples, a sea of peace washing clean all Time. The music ended, and I lay there a long time, tears streaming down my face… And so the music of Bach became my refuge. After that, even though I was still a lonely misfit, I was never alone. Writing or drawing or cooking or dreaming at home I would listen to Bach, and when I went out, I carried Bach’s music in my heart. Soon after that first meeting with Bach, I began to see the People Singing. In my mind I would imagine the joyous masses flooding the streets all around the world, all humanity lifting their voices together singing Bach, joy surging in their veins, all guilt and grief and fear assuaged. This vision comforted me deeply – I was sure that if the people could sing Bach, the world would be transformed. The slow years of my youth passed, and finally I was no longer a child, and the world called. Shy as a whisper, terrified yet needing life and love with a clamorous, bleak longing, I ventured out on my own, carrying Bach in my heart. I wandered far and wide in those days, a flower child wearing nothing but an orange parachute for a dress, looking and looking for love. In all my longing and all my lonely searching, Bach was with me, guiding me. Only once did he fail me – and that was not his fault. It happened one day when I swallowed a blue pill that instead of bringing me love and light, hurled me into a solipsistic hell in which life was nothing but a cruel and meaningless joke. Emerging at last from that drugged defeat, sweating and sick, I put on my Bach – and heard nothing but empty banging. My world collapsed. For months after that, I was in despair. Through all that, even though I did not know it, Bach stayed with me, silent but true. A dear friend came to my rescue, and little by little my heart rebuilt itself, and Bach sang forth again, and life grew full, and love spread its wings in my heart. It was only much later that I understood what had flung me into that hell. I had tried to use my rational mind to wrestle the heavens from their heights, and the beautiful tool of reason had turned on me and left me nothing but a hollow, whimpering husk… But that was nothing that Bach and the joy of life were not equal to. Contrary to my horrified belief during that nightmare, even my trip to hell had a meaning. That was what drove me to look, avidly, single mindedly and without ceasing, for meaning in life – something that without looking, no one ever finds… That was many, many years ago. Since then I have lived with Bach never too far away, and have taken refuge in him over and over. The music of Bach spans everything, from the Abyss to the heights; it transforms everything, makes everything sacred, touches the Being of my being. Sometimes I neglect Bach for a while – and when I once again let him wash over me, I blush with joy, and can only prostrate myself before the glory of Life – or, as Bach himself would probably say, the Glory of God – a terminology I am fine with, because even though I belong to no church and no religion, I think I know – or at least I have an inkling of – what he means by “God.” I also know one more thing: I know that the day of the People Singing is near, that it is coming fast and furious. On that day all human hearts will open, and the friendly multitudes will fill the streets with joy, and trusting and loving each other we will banish all doubt and all fear. And then we will be ready for the Eternal Beginning of all things. — Tiny poem in response to a cremation mailer When I contemplate my death: moldering coffin, or flames? the Guide says bow down Now before every moment. — Death Comes Like a Dancer Death comes like a dancer Dark and exultant Striding and turning with great gestures Gathering all Terrifying and beautiful Fierce and impersonal He comes whirling from the side When you least expect him Young and proud he comes Power streaming from him Announcing The New — The Free Country You can’t live there while you’re still here – not this kind of living, breathing this air, this blood ringing in your ears, tasting this spittle. But you can visit. And afterwards if you peer carefully into the dusty periscope of memory you can spy the gleaming reflection of where you know you’ve been. Once, by a lucky accident, I woke up there and spent a long, timeless time there – immersed and vastly relieved – for many reasons that I’ve forgotten. But I remember the wide-open meadowland, lit by a million suns and stars, a bounteous new adventure speaking to me, warm and tickly, within. And when I returned here from my secret escapade, one thing I knew, clear and fresh as morning: When the truth penetrates this ancient cocoon the Death-lie will crumble and explode into nothingness, like the thinnest film of moisture on a summer morning. See also: The Confessions of Olivia Report from the Place Where We Do Not Die – (originally published on youtube.com) — In the River House Oh, my dearest love Was it a trick of my mind that you died and left me, escaping into realms I could not penetrate? For here you are beside me alive in this very moment in this yellow kitchen at this long table with friends in the house that goes down to the river. Here you are with me alive and smiling sad that I left but glad to the brim without a trace of rancor that I am back again. Now memory clarifies me and relief floods me like the rising Day: For it is clearer than the song of life that here with you and nowhere else is where I belong! Can it be true that it was I who left you, and not the other way around? That some requirement of destiny trapped me, some theater I had to play out alone? And you, kind soul, bowed to your role while I fled weeping away? For I have believed in death, and mourned and wept and learned the ropes of living just on my own. But now that I have seen you held you and kissed you so sweetly once again I do remember: Nothing is so real as our love. How I have longed not knowing the depth of my longing to be at your side all these years. And now I know you keep a place for me here in this river house by the deep, sweet waters where children and friends and a feast await. Love let me dream you beside me until we next awake. For more about Jorge Espinet, check out two books based on his life and the author’s: Soft Brushes With Death, and the Confessions of Olivia. — Community of Silo’s Message: For information about virtual and in-person meetings email wingedlion@gmail.com. — Music from Episode #1: Opening, midway, and closing tracks: “Ice Voice” by Sergi Boal (segments only, with fade-out). ice voice by Sergi Boal is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (aka Music Sharing) 3.0 International License. https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Sergi_Boal/Nylon_Turtle/01_ice_voice Other public domain music used in this episode courtesy of Musopen.org: J.S Bach – Das Musikalische Opfer – BWV 1079, European Archive J.S. Bach, Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, European Archive – courtesy of Musopen.org This work is licensed under Creative Commons Click here

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