"How heavy do I journey on the way
When what I seek, my weary travel’s end,
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say,
‘Thus far the miles are measur’d from thy friend!’
The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods dully on, to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider lov’d not speed, being made from thee:
The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide,
Which heavily he answers with a groan
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;
For that same groan doth put this in my mind:
My grief lies onward, and my joy behind".
Sonnet L (50).
REM's "Losing My Religion" is one of those songs that always hits the spot. It is not about god, but about our weary journey, that moment when we lose all sense of direction, self, meaning or hope. It is the time when we are dangling - at the end of our rope, lost of all reason or reasonableness.
Our mind (the horse) comes to a perfect stop.
We forgo common sense, lose faith in our convictions. We cannot fathom where our confidence has evaoporated to. We withdraw in to the darkness and wrap ourselves up tight in a blanket of stupidity. This is what this song "Losing My Religion" is getting at.
"'O heart,' as the goodly saying is,
--O heart, heavy heart,
Why sigh'st thou without breaking?"
Troilus and Cressida (Act IV. Scene IV)
And it does not take much for us to 'lose our religion'. It can be just one thing goes wrong, or perhaps two or three small things don't go our way in a day and suddenlty the day is (i.e. we are) a wreck.
Then there is that other beautiful classic "Up on the Roof" by The Drifters. The antidote to REM's "Losing My Religion". Letting go. Get away from it all. Reconnecting with the earth and the open skies. Coming up for air, to regain our perspective. So appropriate for this to be sung by a group called The Drifters.
I read an interesting statement from his Holiness the Dalai Lama. He advises us to spend at least one part of each day - alone.
I am very fortunate to be sitting here, writing this blog. This is cherished time, to be alone. Even as i sit in a crowded Starbucks, writing this love-letter to a world that i cannot know, that doesn't know me or may never even read these sullen words.
However, this - this is my perfect excuse to be with me, alone. I worked briefly for Starbucks as a consultant, in Seatle. To my surprise, the very basis of the business model is based on creating a space for people to slow down time and be either alone or with each other in what they call the "third space", a space that is not work and not home, but just our own free common space.
And, true enough, there you are sitting way out in a future I could not possibly know. It is strangely comforting to know you are there, sitting "up on your roof" in your alone time, peering back, seeing me find my religion as you find yours.
"Beseech you, sir, be merry: you have cause,
So have we all, of joy; for our escape
Is much beyond our loss. Our hint of woe
Is common: every day some sailor’s wife,
The masters of some merchant and the merchant,
Have just our theme of woe; but for the miracle,
I mean our preservation, few in millions
Can speak like us: then wisely, good sir, weigh
Our sorrow with our comfort".
Tempest (Act II, Scene I)