Category Archives: transcendence

The Wild Comedian Breaks Free

How Comedy Can Transport Us Beyond the Walls of Conformity

I loved the first season of Amazon’s, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. For me, it is timely historical fiction at its best. It features the story of a woman in the 1950’s who starts to question the tightly wound structure of her reality after her husband unexpectedly leaves her. Throwing herself into the world of stand-up comedy, she finds she has a natural talent for it.  Her first two times in front of the microphone, she gets arrested for obscenity but it is really because she went beyond the bounds of where society felt safe. On the show, she becomes friends with Lenny Bruce, comedy’s pioneer crusader for seeking truth outside of society’s comfort zone. Lenny helped pave the way for the wild men and women who dared to laugh at the elephants and asses in the room.

Comedians have the prerogative to laugh at what we hide behind. They are the ones that get to speak truth to conformity and fear.  The wildest comedians have a driving ambition to break out of all constraints.

I remember watching John Belushi on Saturday Night Live and in Animal House, and feeling that he might actually be able to explode right out of his body.

Comedians like Mel Brooks were my first heroes.  They brought a zaniness to life that seemed to expand its possibilities for me.  By the time I was in High School, I actively declared, “Normalcy is a fallacy!” I had caught the same bug that prompts the comedian to go beyond boundaries, to discover a larger, less confined space in which to dance.

The wildness of many comedians, conventionally, has been associated with alcohol and drugs, which can break down walls of inhibition. There is a labyrinth of defenses that we have built around us, not only individually and culturally, but historically as a race.  So, while the conventional means of breaking down a few barriers seems to work, part of us may yearn to find another way to go out past our collective defenses.

Jim Carey started off as a wild comedian, who seemed like he could turn his body into rubber and bounce off the walls into another dimension. After making the film, “Man on the Moon,” about Andy Kaufman, another comedian who pushed reality to the edge, Jim went on an odyssey to learn how to transcend societies’ corral.

Recently, I watched Jim’s 2014 commencement speech at the Maharishi University of Management. It is well worth watching. He is still his animated best, but has come to a calm place within that is not limited by his physical form.

Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 Maharishi University of Management:

Jim then grew the long beard, that has become associated with philosophers, gurus and seekers. He began to risk sounding insane while talking to the paparazzi, declaring that he didn’t exist, that he was just another character, like the many colorful characters in his 40 films.

“I played the guy that was free from concern so the people who watched me would be free from concern.”- Jim Carey

Jim is identifying, not as a “Me” but as the energy that animates all things.

“It’s a play, it’s a giant field of consciousness dancing for itself. “

“We all long to belong, and the truth is, we do. We already belong to the wholeness within us and every living thing. The plethora of groups, communities, circles, families, here on our planet are like flowers, they allow for variance of taste to offer us the opportunity to connect to the beauty that we are.  However we connect to this wholeness, the joy lies in our ability to celebrate it within our interactions.”

“The effect that you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.  All that will be left of you will be what was in your heart.”- Jim Carey

I am grateful for the drive that continues to play with reality and wake us up from complacency. Waking up to the richness of being, provides so much to rejoice in. I am especially thankful for the bouquet of interactions that I have with everything around me, especially you. This certainly is a wild ride that affords us the chance to literally laugh our asses off.





You are under Esthetic Arrest

I just finished reading Joeseph Campbell’s Reflections On The Art of Living and have launched into his The Inner Reaches of Outer Space.
There are so many amazing concepts to go into. Joesph Campbell was such a delta of mythology, he makes a tremendous hub of universal knowledge and points the way to a paradigm shift in which we see the beauty of the messages behind the myriad of symbols and stories that we use to connect to the stream.
Above all, I have been fascinated and a bit obsessed with the idea of Esthetic Arrest. The term came from James Joyce. Joyce, when referring to art said that if it made you desire the object or subject portrayed, then it was pornographic. If it brought up fear or loathing in you, then it was didactic. If however, it was something that took you beyond fear and loathing ( in Las Vegas with Hunter S. Thompson, who seems to have read his Joyce as well ; )
and desire, and reflects wholeness, harmony and radiance with a “divinely superfluous beauty” it could act as a portal connecting us to all of life. It creates a still point amidst the vastness of a universe in which everything is constantly in motion.

“Esthetic arrest, the condition of the heart or spirit or whatever not being moved by desire or fear, is …the immovable spot…
The biological urges to enjoy and to master (with their opposites, to loathe and to fear) , as well as the social urge to evaluate (as good or evil, true or false), simply drop away, and a rapture, sheer experience supervenes, in which self-loss and elevation are the same. Such an impact is “beyond words;” for it is not such as can be explained by a reference to anything else. The mind is released- for a moment, for a day, or per-haps forever.- from those anxieties to enjoy, to win or to be correct which spring from the net… in which (we) are entangled. Ego is dissolved, there is nothing in the net but life- which is everywhere and forever.”

– Joeseph Campbell/ Reflections on the Art of Living.

Below is a TED talk of Tom Reed talking about taking pictures of nature that create an intake of breath denoting shock or the wow that hopefully allows for easthetic arrest as opposed to the breath out which denotes comfort or desire to be in the setting alone.
I have attached Van Gogh’s Starry Night because I feel his painting illustrates the reflection of nature that elicits this shock/ intake of breath. Of course what strikes us all individually and allows for esthetic arrest will be as varied as the myths that humanity has taken up to experience transcendence.

Tom Reed- Natural Beauty and Aesthetic Arrest:

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and may the interactions we have with family and friends go beyond our static stories and transcend into whiteness, harmony and radiance !