Tag Archives: u2

Have I Found What I’m Looking For?

Reid Dickie

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

            I was sitting in the Tim Horton’s at Stafford and Corydon and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2 came on the radio. (I know, Socrates, Tim Horton and U2 in the first three lines with Ken Wilber and St. Francis of Assisi yet to come! Please bear with me.) It got me wondering if, in my lifetime, I have found what I’m looking for, a question that demanded some serious introspection. Then I thought Chris and I could both blog on the question and post on the same day. People could compare and contrast our answers. Chris jumped at the idea. He is twenty-five years my junior and had an upbringing much different from mine. This should be interesting.

My search for an answer started with making a list of the most important things I have gone looking for in my life. It turned out to be a six item list: Love, Friendship, The Muse, Happiness, An Audience and My Life Purpose.

  • Love: When I was a romantic lad growing up in Shoal Lake in western Manitoba, I had an imaginary dream girl, the perfect woman who would love me forever, cherish everything about me, forgive all my sins and die happily in my arms, all the same things I would do for her. Her name was Johanna, inspired by Bob Dylan’s Visions of Johanna. I held onto my vision of Johanna through high school, took her to Toronto with me to learn radio announcing and brought her back to the prairies where I started my career. Still not having found my Johanna by that time, I was starting to lose hope, thinking it was all just a childish thing ready to be discarded. However, I kept searching and I found her. She was just using another name – Linda. I am among those incredibly fortunate men who found a perfect soul mate to love and understand him. I found the love I was looking for in full measure.

  • Friendship: At The Celebration of Light and Linda last fall, I was joined for a photograph by five guys I went to school with 50 years before. It is a most telling picture showing deep camaraderie and love. I could call on any one of these men today and they would help me, no matter what, and I would do the same for them. These are lifelong friends with whom I share common childhood experiences and mutual admiration. I have human friends of all ages and endeavours and find them stimulating and satisfying. My closest friendships feel more like family. Through shamanism, I have a pantheon of spirits who are also my friends but of an entirely different order. I have found the friends I was looking for.

Six buddies from Shoal Lake: from the left Terry Lewycky, Dennis Lewycky, Ernie Bart, myself, Mark Fikkert, Ron Bart

  • The Muse: My creativity is a family legacy from my mother and her father. Imaginative and always ready to tell a story, real or imagined, my teacher Mom exhorted me to get inside my own head and discover what’s there. I’ve had an eager and unabashed connection to my imagination ever since. On my About page, I wrote (quoting myself, writer’s bliss!): “I seem to have tapped into the source of an endless stream of ideas that flow like quicksilver through my mind, some of them getting captured and sent far and asunder in my own words. As Terence McKenna said, ‘Imagination is where we are coming from and imagination is where we are going to.’ I have honed my imagination to a fine nib that dips into the rainbow ink of many worlds, leaving behind a sometimes elegant, sometimes smeared trail of word crumbs. If they ever help anybody find their way home, my job is done.” Finding a life partner like Linda, equally imaginative and creative, was an unexpected bonus. Looking for The Muse is a process, it never ends. I have found The Muse and an ongoing connection to its process.
  • Happiness: The big truth here in ordinary reality is we only get little stabs at happiness, not long blissful swaths of it. The happiness we do experience is seldom of our own making, often artificially induced, always fleeting. Needy egos, the bind of the mind and the rolling thunder of life’s experience keep us from sustained happiness. Developing an inner practise like shamanism opens up new realms of potential happiness often leading to bliss. My power animal, Tiger, brings joyfulness into my life daily. Linda made me happy during her life and continues to do so after her death. Her consistent message is “Be happy.” Although this is not the forum to detail this, using wisdom flowing from her new vantage point, Linda has shown me a glimpse of heaven to illustrate why I should “be happy.” I have found happiness wherever I looked.     
  • An Audience: Both Chris and I are seeking our audiences this year. In my life, I have frequently had an audience: as a radio announcer, as an artist and performer, as an old friend prowling the stage of The Park Theatre at The Celebration and now with this blog. Today I’m finding my next audience in a whole new way. The content – me – is the same but the format is new and exciting, awash with instant possibilities combining images, video, audio and words. I am finding my audience here, view by view, in this burning ground of history where everything is immediately retrievable while the whole world watches.  
  • My Life Purpose: It’s not radio, not retail, not any of the myriad odd jobs I tried. It’s not even writing. My life purpose became clear to me when I was 45 years old. In 1994, I discovered a little book called The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner. He laid out the core elements of shamanism as it had been practiced for over 50,000 years, adapted the techniques and technology for modern people and, suddenly, I had access to the spirit world. I had found my Way! Though it would take me a few years to realize it, I had found my purpose, as well. Widely traveled, I visited dozens of ancient sacred sites on the Canadian prairies, performing rituals and exploring the realms opened up through my daily practice of neo-shamanism. Discovering my spiritual calling, my purpose has enriched my life beyond measure. 

St. Francis of Assisi said something so profoundly simple in its truth that it took me years to understand it. He said, “What you are looking for is what is looking.” I knew the things I was looking for, that was the easy part. But what is looking? I pondered this many times. My searching and scrambling seemed to be what I wanted but I never had any real perspective on myself until I figured out what St. Francis meant.

So, what is looking? Our very essence, this vast empty awareness in which we and everything we experience and perceive arises, that’s what is looking. Call it Spirit, cosmic consciousness, God. Ken Wilber calls it “the deepest suchness of our being where all worlds arise.” Spirit is what’s looking, partaking of the world through my eyes and my being, in fact, everyone’s eyes and beings. Spirit is the tireless watcher, the eternal Witness to all that arises. The most satisfying discovery of my life had always been plainly obvious. To experience it, all I did was get out of my own way.

The Answer: Yes, reflecting back over six decades I can honestly say I have found what I’m looking for and I have been found by what is looking for me. In both cases, it is Spirit. If I die tomorrow, I’ll have a smile on my face.

However, although satisfied so far, I am still committed to the search, to learn my whole life long, to shine my curiosity into new realms and discover what’s there. I can report today that what’s there is incredible!

Check out Chris’ blog to see if he’s found what he’s looking for.

 Chris welcomes the world to his blog.

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Filed under ken wilber, Life and Life Only, Linda, shaman, shamanism

Reid’s Pop Song of the Month and Why

Introduction

 Quick definition of pop song: any popular song from any era regardless of musical genre.

            The criteria for getting to be Reid’s Pop Song of the Month is simple: I have to love the tune. It has to dye me, heal, console and inspire me, teach, enlarge and challenge me, contribute to my personal evolution, resonate through my lifetime and be a wonder-filled marriage of music and lyrics. Each tune has to have “seen me through” somehow. Not much to ask of a pop song, is it?  

          There are certainly elements of “trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll” when writing intimately about something utterly subjective like your favourite songs. I’ll keep my tongue firmly in my cheek and the tone light and fluffy just like the music. With every song in this series, it might take a few listens to hear what I hear but if you never hear it, that’s fine too. Ear of the beholder. Besides, it’s only a pop song.

            Lest we fall into a pop culture miasma of foolishness and desire and lose track of our balance, I suggest you click on the Culture is not your friend link on my blogroll and let Terence McKenna fill you in. He makes a very clear distinction between art and culture, a distinction that is mostly invisible today.

 REID’S POP SONG OF THE MONTH IS

 Whatever Gets You True

 Paddy Casey

             Neither the song nor artist is well-known but this bright positive little ditty has been caught in my musical craw for a number of years. Plus it has an imaginative video that actually has something to do with the song! Give it a look and listen then I shall expound. I dedicate the song and video to my old buddy Mitch who has “seen it all” during his decades of driving taxi on Winnipeg streets.

  

            From street busker to open mike night at a club to signing with Sony to being managed by U2’s management company, Paddy Casey‘s career is a classic story of  musical discovery. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, street performer Paddy’s appearance at the International Bar caught the ear of a Sony A & R man who signed him to the label. In 1999 he released his first album Amen (So Be It) from which the Pop Song of the Month comes. From folk to rhythm and blues to full-out rock & roll, Paddy expresses his influences with sincerity and creative honesty. Whatever Gets You True is a shining example.

            This cheerful concoction infected with a swirling wheezy roller-rink organ and a solid beat conveys its uplifting message with just the right amount of sickly sweetness, raw truth and inspiring lyrics to be Reid’s Pop Song of the Month. Paddy’s voice, phrasing and inflection qualify him for inclusion on the long list of “the next Bob Dylans.” His imagery – “I like elevators, too,” – supports the theory. The song’s message is simple: follow your bliss, be yourself, whoever that might be.

            The video shows specific examples of the message in the context of taxi fares, an imaginative time lapse free-for-all that includes firebugs, jocks, lesbians, precocious children, transvestites, sinister combinations of people, drunks, musicians and pets, ending with Paddy being absorbed into a spacecraft, ascending into the Godhead or something. Great use of the roof hatch! There is appropriate homage to Dylan with the lyric cue cards a la Subterranean Homesick Blues in the taxi.

            This song makes me happy! Let it make you happy too.

The Final Tally for Whatever Gets You True

             On the ascending scale of sweetness according to The Beatles song Savoy Truffle:

Savoy Truffle

Coconut fudge

Nice apple tart

Cool cherry cream

Coffee dessert

Ginger sling with a pineapple heart

Montelimar

Crème tangerine

 Number of teeth you’ll need to pull (out of 32): 9

 Compared to glucose/fructose, the likelihood of getting diabetes from listening to this tune repeatedly is: 32%            

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When Not-Quite-Sir, Not-Quite-Nobel-Peace-Prize-Winner Bono claps…

BONO, LEAD SINGER FOR ROCK BAND U2, IS FAMOUS THROUGHOUT THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY FOR BEING MORE THAN JUST A LITTLE SELF-RIGHTEOUS.

AT A RECENT U2 CONCERT IN GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, HE ASKED THE AUDIENCE FOR TOTAL QUIET.

THEN, IN THE SILENCE, HE BEGAN TO CLAP HIS HANDS SLOWLY, ONCE EVERY FEW SECONDS. HOLDING THE AUDIENCE IN TOTAL SILENCE HE SAID INTO THE MICROPHONE, “EVERY TIME I CLAP MY HANDS, A CHILD IN AFRICA DIES.”

FROM THE FRONT ROW OF THE CROWD A VOICE WITH A BROAD SCOTTISH ACCENT PIERCED THE QUIET…

“WELL, FUCKIN STOP DOIN IT THEN, YE EVIL BASTARD.”

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