Issue 106 | Correspondence | The Sun Magazine


Regarding James Applewhite’s statement [Issue 102] that poetry, like life, should not be “negative” but “should have a kind of basic joy,” how could you print this in THE SUN?

Life is. Never negative nor positive. Life is life. Poetry is. Or it is not poetry. My reading light should have at least 15 watts, my apple pie should have certain sweetness. But my poetry should? Poetry is the collective name for verbal utterances coming from joyful hearts or depressed minds and cannot be made to “ought or should.”

Mozart can be light and happy; he can also be near despairing — and still it’s Mozart. It ain’t any less music. And so with poetry.

Richard Eichenauer Fauquier, British Columbia

I just finished reading the latest issue of THE SUN with the interview with Rabbi Dovid Din [Issue 103]. I was very impressed with the magazine and found it very enlightening. It is the first time I’ve read it. I’m in prison in Florida and we don’t receive very much reading material. I’m Jewish and someone gave me the article to read. I thought so much of it I felt I should write and let you know. I also wrote to Rabbi Din’s center and inquired about some reading material. I told him I was very moved by THE SUN.

Steven Hoffman Starke, Florida

Regarding Dovid Din’s observation [Issue 103] that the two intersecting triangles in the Star of David imply “as above, so below” . . . my, my, the things I don’t learn. My own studies in religious symbolism suggest something quite different, to say the least. . . . Like all the early esoteric symbols, religious symbols with rare exceptions were usually sexual in significance. The Star of David, to the best of my understanding, consists of the male and female pubic escutcheons (the pubic hair area), e.g., an upright triangle and an inverted triangle superimposed. (I will leave the superimposition for you to figure out.)

My way is interesting too, wouldn’t you agree?

Wally Ellerbroek, M.D. Sunset Beach, California

There was almost a hint of silliness in the article on Rolling Thunder [Issue 104]. When Rolling Thunder said Pat Taylor wasn’t on the right trip, I could imagine a hippy-dippy-trippy come-on, our Anglo-American affectations at being cool — skipping from black folks to drugs to Indians — “Yeah, I didn’t notice man. . . .” But Pat’s article was great because she let us see her so real; it was nice to get a full and spontaneous feeling of Pat and of how the interview developed and happened.

Money can spend anyone down blind alleys leading to dead ends. So can spiritual dogma. The answer’s in the heart. The Indians seem to have a better handle on relating to life, living, and others; but they’re humans too. They fail as we do; it’s just their training that’s different. The folks that taught them know more about life and less about career than the folks who taught us. The molehill appears as a mountain because we ain’t been learning it and using it on the day to day all along.

Still we should be learning at every place we can — even if it costs money. That ain’t no object less you make it one.

Andy Smith Moultrie, Georgia

Funny thing — I’m up here at 7,500 feet in Modoc National Forest at the Rainbow Gathering and read Pat Ellis Taylor’s great article on Rolling Thunder [Issue 104] just now. I love puncturing romantic balloons even though the ride is fun, sometimes, and how the white race is IN TROUBLE and the native Americans purecleanholy is one of them. Although the genocide, sterilization, etc. could be stopped.

Just wanted to point out that the Love Family does not put on these gatherings (this is the thirteenth) but a loose federation of hard-working (which is, however, fun as all work can be) people who call themselves The Rainbow Nation, many of them/us on the road in vehicles or by thumb, meeting in different places around the U.S. to plan and create the gatherings. In fact the Love Family is non-existent right now.

So up the hill there are hundreds of tents, tipis, yurts, free coffee and herbal tea places, campfires, ceremonies from celebration of Friday night Shabbos to new moon ceremonies, spontaneous dance, music, music of every kind and kitchens preparing and serving free food. People teach people. The Brotherhood of Christ are less barefooted than formerly but amen-ing and smoking tobacco. Rajneeshniks, street hobos and Saints, lots of psychedelics, marijuana, prayers and songs, trading circles and a Peace Kiva. And on — sprout kitchens, sweats, a chiropractor, a kiddie village with handmade swings and story telling and games, workshops in herbs, yoga, auto mechanics, a shuttle bus running people two miles uphill.

“Welcome Home,” they say, “Welcome Home, Welcome Home.”

By July 4th, maybe 50,000 people will be here, lots of different kinds of people. Then, as always, at noon will be a one hour silent meditation and march for world peace, followed by a joyous, from the heart, bursting forth of song and sound, of aum, chanting, of great hallelujahs. Some people come for free food. But the binding tie is the desire to grow into compassion, to step out of our long-binding insanities. Not that they don’t exist up here. Oh, alas. But that thousands of people come together, in an isolated wilderness, every year, digging shitters and praising the aspect of the Spirit, however you conceive it, is a MIRACLE.

Gotta go. My dog’s afraid some other dog will eat her dinner.

Elizabeth Gips Santa Cruz, California

As far as they went, Danny Coleman’s criticisms of THE SUN struck a responsive chord with me. Perhaps THE SUN is “preoccupied with pain,” as he writes in Issue 100. I find it hard not to agree when he says, “Count me out on that (pain) one!” And hard again not to concur when he argues that pain is only part of a “full life.” As an occasional contributor to THE SUN, I find that I too have a wee voice that persists and insists: “Oh, get on with it for Christ’s sake! Everyone’s got problems — too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, lousy family background or a good one . . . just get on with it and stop pretending you’re special!”

The question of a “full life,” however, cannot be resolved by setting pain to one side. (To those who say there is no question of a “full life,” I respond, “Absolutely right,” and, “Nice work if you can get it.”) It may be easy to be joyful in joy, but somehow it is not so easy to be pained in pain. Many, perhaps, like Danny Coleman, would prefer to be counted out when it comes to pain. And yet pain follows. So eventually there is some realization that there is no hiding place. We turn around. If we have not turned around before, we are shaky and sometimes proud, speaking to ourselves, encouraging ourselves by speaking to others, encouraging others.

Along the spiritual circuit (THE SUN included), I think there is often a very special attachment to being un-special — a kind of reaction against the “worldly” misapprehension of individuality and freedom . . . a kind of imaginative mental bathtub full of yum-yum oneness, peace, serenity, enlightenment, joy, flowers, and smiles. Well, everyone has to start where it’s possible, but this sort of attitude is bound to hit a few bumps (pain) and it seems to me THE SUN gives a pretty good forum in which to discuss some of those bumps . . . as for example the fact that unspecialness will hardly be more than a pleasant fairy tale until honest specialness is accredited.

All of which is easy to write and talk about (like a “full life”), but to actually do something may not be so easy. Patience, courage, doubt, endurance, and, occasionally, a little help from our friends like THE SUN . . . hell, Danny, we’re just gettin’ on with gettin’ on.

Adam Fisher New York, New York

I believe that there are some immutable truths on the spiritual path:

  1. God is not a rock, a bird, a statue, a mantra, a man, a woman, or a concept. God is beyond our comprehension.
  2. God sends mankind messengers who fulfill prophecies, establish religions, and are true examples of their teachings. They serve to educate mankind toward unity in a peaceful world.
  3. We are created in the image of the Supreme Being to know Him and love Him.
  4. “Love thy neighbor” is a universal principle. It is the essential application of peace within.
  5. Nobody has a monopoly on heaven or hell. Heaven is not a country club for the elect, neither is hell a convention hall for the heathen. Heaven and hell are conditions that reflect on one’s distance from God.

These truths transcend special mantras, special diets, talks with disembodied spirits, and public confessions of spiritual rebirth.

Jay Bender Ica

Please do not renew my subscription to THE SUN. I’ve decided to spend my $25 in pursuit of self-awareness and a better world some other way. I do not like to read everything about being crippled by polio at 18 or the ups and downs of someone’s menstrual cycle. Some things are better left unpublished — just shared with friends. It’s a matter of taste, I think.

Thanks for a good try.

Aurelia Kennedy Bryson City, North Carolina
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