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Riding the Winds

There is a type of music that lets your mind ride on its tail-winds. Up and down, slower, faster, a pause… Slightly unpredictable, so you cannot drift into a thinking mode; you do not have much choice but follow its movement. Classical music is sometimes like that; jazz is even closer to what I mean. My daughter made me listen to the music of St. VIncent in the car the other day. Although I cannot say that I liked it much, I appreciated its musical patterns, the pauses and movements through which small patches of emptiness can be glimpsed. The mind can glide on its winds rather than ride on the winds of its own thoughts.



'But what's puzzling you 

Is the nature of my game.'

This is from 'Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones. The song has a catchy refrain and title but, in my opinion, there is not much substance in its lyrics. Its refrain, however, could provide some food for contemplation.

Actually, the nature of Lucifer’s game, or Mara as he is known in the Buddhist world, is not puzzling at all. Buddha and Christ, we can say, are somehow different, but the nature of the Devil is very much the same - a great ego, the greatest ego imaginable. There is nothing else to his game. However, I am not sure why I am being sexist here. It seems that traditionally the demonic nature has always been identified as male. I guess it is because men are more associated with doing and showing off along the way. Nowadays, with women taking more prominent role in the art of showing off, there is no need for discrimination. We can even say that Mara sounds very feminine in Slavic languages. So Luciferette and Mara can be female as well. In fact, in the films ‘The Passion of Christ’  and ‘The Ninth Gate’ Satan was played by a woman and I think that looked incredibly powerful.

A woman or a man, that image has been a fascinating one through the centuries of Christian civilisation. The struggles of people, trying to overpower the demonic influences within, have been beautiful and grand. Some of them lost in the battles, a few won, but the losses and victories were spectacular and splendid, those types of deeds that people sing about, weaving them into a beautiful poetry. The image of Jesus has been an inspiration for humanity in our part of the world in the last 2000 years, but it was the Devil that they had on their table, in their beds and their minds 24 hours a day. They were well acquainted with him but he was not welcome; they were fascinated with him and yet, they knew that he wasn’t a good friend to have around. And as I trust Mr Dylan's poetic taste on spiritual maters, here are some of his favourite songs about the Devil on Theme Time Radio Hour

When I look around nowadays, I cannot see that tension; I cannot see the grand image from throughout the centuries. It seems to me that the mighty Lucifer has split himself rather evenly into pieces and has taken over the human mind. The battle between good and evil has never been so tepid; most of us just go through the motions. The line between virtue and sin is getting thinner and thinner, which makes it very easy to cross. We actually have a genuine sympathy, or should I say a liking, for the Devil.

The media, the celebrities, the influencers and even our governments are telling us that if we desire it, we should have it. As long as they can sell it to us, it is all good. Even the so called spiritual people have forgotten that, although they are supposed to forgive the sinners, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t remind them of the sins. Equally in Christianity and Buddhism, selfish means bad. I am not familiar with other religions but my guess is that they are pretty similar in their understanding of sin. Instead, our modern religion’s credo is, to ask us while staring in our eyes, ‘What it is that you desire?’. If they cannot for some reason sell it to us, they tell us that it must be someone’s  fault. If we talk about it long enough, we surely will be able to find the solution and have it all. 

The celebrities are becoming confessors and advisors. I was shocked to read some comments on the Internet, which sounded like prayers to God. They however, were directed to an ordinary pop star. People really believed that she, a very confused and suffering person herself, could solve their problems. That truly is like in the fable about the blind person leading another. Which by the way, reminded me that this trend actually started some time ago: Frida Kahlo thought that Marx could cure her from her illness. She even expressed her faith on canvas.

I can go on and on, and some might say that I am simply getting old. That might be so, but nothing can change the ancient truth that greed, hatred, arrogance, jealousy and the rest of the general selfishness in our minds and actions, is the nature of the game of Mr Satan and Miss Mara. The difference is that there have never been participants so eager to dance to their drum-beat. 


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