Issue 96 | The Sun Magazine

November 1983

Readers Write

Dealing With Pain

A while back I laid my bike down. In the days and weeks following, I wrote about it and told some folks and didn’t tell others and then told everybody and now it’s old news. It wasn’t foolishness; I just needed to be stopped in my tracks and crashing my motorcycle did just that. Virginia was hurt (Virginia is in my life to remind me to overcome my zeal to change people), the bike was hurt (read pride and dollars here), and I was hurt, embarrassed, shocked, angry, interrupted in my plans, and generally reined in hard for a bit. After assessing the more glaring consequences of the crash (there are no accidents), I delved for subtler messages and even looked for something to celebrate about it all.

By Our Readers
Quotations

Sunbeams

You don’t tell the quality of a master by the size of his crowds.

Richard Bach, Illusions

The Sun Interview

Going Against The Dragon

An Interview With Robert Bly

Robert Bly takes us down to the valley, and gets down with us in the dirt, and shows us this is where it starts —here in flesh, here in grief, here in memories we deny. His arms wave like big branches, as he tells us to face the dark in ourselves. His language runs like water over the dry bed, whether he’s talking about what it means to be a man or a woman, or acknowledging the pain of childhood, or warning against the siren call of Eastern mysticism. Full of eloquence and extraordinary energy, Bly is one of the most respected and widely read poets of the age, as fully human as anyone I’ve met.

By Sy Safransky
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Pernicious Oneness In Spiritual Thinking And Practice

Something “pernicious” is that which has an insidious and corrupting or undermining influence. What I call “pernicious oneness” is now making itself felt and gaining strength in the spiritual community. Spiritual seekers, in their thirst for the “oneness” experience, are easily led toward simplistic ways of thinking and impotent practices which, at best, may be a waste of time and energy and lead to self-delusion and, at worst, may lead to mental and emotional disturbance. For too long now we have been reluctant to examine closely what is and what is not valid, and hesitant to criticize specific movements and forms of practice. I believe we are dangerously close to corrupting the authentic, enlightened forms of spiritual practice. In our search for “higher” spiritual experience we are unwittingly undermining healthy ego development and personal integration.

By Steven Hendlin
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Summer

June 24 — In bed, with a bad back. This is where the pain tells me to stay, though I resist. The ego won’t stand for this slowdown, though it enjoys playing with the irony of how I hurt myself — practicing karate kicks, learning “self-defense.” So, it turns the pain into an “interesting lesson” — of what, precisely, it doesn’t say — yet a lesson it would quickly be done with, since the flavor’s gone and I’m still chewing, chewing, chewing.

By Sy Safransky