From Where You Dream

I’m reading a very interesting book, From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Robert Olen Butler. It seems the process of writing literary fiction is quite similar to the process of natural devotion in which we enter into a loving relationship with Radha-Krishna. They both involve a daily entrance into a ritual space which allows us to get out of our heads and into our hearts. We don’t think our way into Braj or a good book. Rather, we sink into that space within ourselves where those characters and places live–in the unconscious or sub-conscious mind–just waiting to be given expression through us.

It is the realm of gods and goddesses, heros and heroines, the archetypes, ideals, paradigmatic individuals, Braj. However, it also has its dark side where the monsters, demons, nightmares, repressed contents of the conscious mind, etc. live. It’s amazing to me how much of what is considered good literature, art, or film dwells in these dark realms as does much of what we read in the daily news. Things evolve from subtle to gross.

While, the processes may be similar, the subject matter is different. As I recreate and experience Radha-Krishna’s pastimes in my heart, I reject all dross, negative emotions and experiences. I don’t need any more drama or horror in my life. I seek beauty and love in their purest forms. That’s what it means to be a paramhansa, we learn to separate the pure essence from the dross and live in that essential nature which is Braj, the eternal idealized reality my heart longs for most intensely.

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