Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Friday, September 24, 2004


Silverberg: “Technique is merely a means to an end, and in this case the means is simply to convey and understanding the guise of an entertainment. The storytelling art evolved as a way of interpreting the world... creating order out of chaos...

“A writer must peer into the heart of chaos: a writer must know something about the world.”

You must become: “an eternal apprentice to the world... I once believed that there was a single Secret of Writing that all the true writers had managed to learn. The secret of the Secret is that it doesn’t exist.”

Silverberg is conflating ideas together here. The world and chaos are not one and the same. A further conflating: The humbling realization of the need to learn and grow need not be painful, but pleasurable and liberating. And realizing this humility, this apprenticeship to reality, is nowhere near the same thing as actually being a great storyteller (having the Secret).

No, the Secret lies elsewhere: it lies in the mysterious notion of Centre.

The centre seems to arise spontaneously in awareness. Normal noisy consciousness seems to cloud it over, but in reality it is always there potentially. The trick however is to bring a sense of it into your body by practice.

Stressed, distracted, intellectual writers are focused on content, not context. The centre is the source of the powerful context.

The centre is invisible. It can only be observed indirectly, by its effects. Here are a few observations of centre:

1. The creator of Aikido Morihei Uyeshiba says that he loses his centre all the time, but he regains it so fast that you do not see him lose it.

2. Greg Louganis, one of the world’s greatest divers, reveals that 90 % of the time he is not able to leap off the diving board in a perfect manner, so he is constantly in a state of midair correction.

You will often hear people say that the Centre has a physical location. They are not accurate in saying that: the fact that it effects your body in specific and certain ways, allowing you to feel very grounded, your belly soft and full, and your eyes fluid and relaxed, is only an aftereffect of the presence of Centre itself.

For Centre is a thing that becomes energized by focusing selflessly on the process of creating a moral mechanism. That is to say, in order for you to successfully create a dramatic story, you automatically create it from your Centre. The Centre and the Story come together, without cause and effect, and are both present simultaneously.

A remarkable story will illustrate this point a little better:

This is from Al Secundo, “The 15-Second Principle.”

“Hours before the concert, some member’s of Elvis’s staff would arrive at the performing venue and meticulously measure a distance that was exactly one thousand yards away from the arena, theatre or hall. Finally, Elvis’s large dressing-room trailer would be placed on this distant spot.

A few hour before show time, Elvis would arrive and enter this trailer. Elvis rarely appeared ready or able to work. In fact it appeared he needed an energy and charisma transfusion. Even after Elvis showered and changed into his costume, he was still in a low-energy state.

Elvis would remain in this nonenergized state even after he left his trailer and started on his thousand-yard walk toward the venue. As the walk progressed, however, something incredible always happened. With each step, Elvis woulld slowly but surely regain his energy, vitality and focus.

By the time he reached the venue, Elvis would be radiating an enormous amount of energy and charisma. In fact Elvis’s energy field became so radiant and powerful that the audience would miraculously sense his presence before he ever entered the venue. They’d react by going into a clapping and screaming frenzy. This would continue until Elvis entered the venue and finally appeared onstage...

It’s important to note that whenever Elvis would begin his walk, he was not trying to cover up his low-energy state. Instead he was being authentic with his fatigue. He did not pretend he was ready to perform. Rather, he accepted and began from wherever he was at - a low-energy state...

Another helpful point is that Elvis became electrified BEFORE he took the stage. He didn’t wait for the audience to energize him. Rather, he took responsibility for energizing himself.”

A spine tingling image!

This is the level of energy required to be able to generate centre, as well as extraordinary creative striving.

So thinking of your own writing efforts, to what extent do you applythe principle of the Thousand Yard Walk. Since the work of creating a moral mechanism is so important and powerful, how do you generate awareness BEFORE the work begins.

As you can see from the story, it is irresponsible to expect your story or your reader to create this energy. You must do it before you start.

The Secret of finding your Centre is that you must generate the internal power of awareness, so that you can self-correct mid-sentence. Here is a final point on finding the Centre from Robert Silverberg, one I passionately disagree with, which brings up the final point about centre:

“The secret of the Secret is that it doesn’t exist... you just go on, doing your best, living and reading and thinking and studying, and working and searching for answers.”

The answer is that you do these things anyway because you love to do them, and in that love they give you pleasure. But there is a more subtle, and frankly despairing conclusion beneath Silverberg’s admission, one I would be unable to register had I not been familiar with his famed story, ‘Capricorn Games’, and its dreadful moral nihilism.

Because the Secret does exist, and so does the Centre! But as they are statistically amazingly rare states it is commonplace to conclude they do not exist. The source of inspiration is the Home where our spirits and most inspired and most alive, and it exists more truly than anything in the matter of our daily lives.

Ultimately creation manifests from that invisible centre, about which it has been said that it is unborn and does not die. Wise men cleave to it alone, and it alone makes the many masteries required to write well worth learning slowly over many years.

The last article on the mechanics of creation is about how to generate and cultivate the sustained state of centre, which lead to the creation of dramatic stories. The next and final article concerns our very personal and intimate experiences of human pleasure, which lie at the essence of creativity itself.


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