What other existential threats are there that might have something to do with this president (not capitalized on purpose)? I know, for instance, that DJT and his few appointees are undermining and/or humbling our various government departments; the EPA, Justice, Homeland Security, FBI, CIA and others. The EPA protects our environment; air, water, soil, the foundation for all life. The CIA and FBI are there to protect us from criminal elements at all levels, so of course the president is undermining them because they are actually looking into allegations that he, DJT may have colluded with a foreign government in an effort to influence the 2016 election. The president is purposefully destroying healthcare in the USA thus threatening the existence of every middle class, working class and poor member of our country. Additionally, by negligence and/or neglect Americans are dying of avoidable disease in Puerto Rico because of a poorly mounted rescue effort after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. By extrapolation, what other natural disasters will be poorly tended to because this president is so preoccupied with fancied threats to his own personhood? However, the greatest threat of all is nuclear war, the total destruction of the northern hemisphere and our civilization caused by tweeted braggadocio, arrogant name calling, foolish ignorance of history and an inability to heed the advice and warnings of others. This is a short list of existential threats being created by the Pied Trumpster!
Recently I’ve had a series of dark abstruse dreams. Upon reflection I realized that these nightmares mirror my fears of the threats listed above. Herein enters the slightly tangential connection to Christopher Isherwood. You see, I am a lazy intellect and I’ve been reading “Christopher Isherwood: Diaries” off and on for several years. Not having a photographic memory I vaguely recalled a nightmare Isherwood described early on in that weighty thousand page plus tomb and scanning the chapter about his first year in the USA I found the following entry dated August 6, 1939.
“Then I noticed that the smaller boy was wearing a repulsive kind of truss or girdle with an electric light switch protruding from his thigh. He was crippled in some way. He was getting the worst of the fight. The larger boy hit him, drawing blood. The boy snorted up the blood through his nostrils and spat it out into a glass jar. The absolute stolidity with which he accepted his injury was what filled me with horror. I knew that his whole life would be like this – one cruel, stupid, savage fight after another – until he died. Woke sweating. I know the dream was somehow about a European War.
By contrast the previous page in Isherwood’s diary described his meeting with the Buddhist Swami Prabhavananda the day before the nightmare. In that meeting the Swami gave Isherwood four principles and I distill them here. First, search for an “all pervading presence. Second, project goodwill thoughts to every being. Third, the body is a temple that contains Reality. Fourth, meditate about the qualities of the real self, in all things, infinite (in the West, God). I think to remind myself of a fifth principal, to search past the immediate self centered consciousness that life has taught us is reality. However the important part about this mental meandering is the contrast between Isherwood’s nightmare and the Swami’s vision, and that opposition placed in proximity to a second opposition, my own. I fear that Trump’s madness will involve us in horrific events versus the “Art Cards” I created beginning in 2015 with “peace,” followed in succession by “Love, joy, harmony,” and finally in 2017, “create.”
Isherwood complained to the swami that he didn’t know if he could live up to those four principles in the everyday world. Prabhavananda said, and again I’m paraphrasing, not to worry, that it was part of Isherwood’s life work to integrate his existence with the search for the real self or God.
What does all this mean? The lessons I’m learning, - and I’m sure these will have to be reinforced over and over again before I am able to stop living in total panic 24/7 – are several. 1) I must work on my relationship with God, the “infinite.” 2) The most important life task anyone can tackle is to somehow integrate the self in this world with our search for God in all things. 3) If we neglect to do so, it will be at our own peril. 4) I cannot fix DJT, or this broken country and its people. 5) Instead, I must fix myself.