mad in pursuit journal


Breathing Underwater

When did I have this dream? I'm underwater. Been holding my breath too long. Can't hold it another second. I sneak in a little breath. It's ok. If I'm very still, I can pull in air from the water. I can breathe.

Buji by SengaiI used to have this dream all the time. Can't remember when. But I can conjure up the exact sensation of gently, gently filling my lungs with air under water.

I thought of it last night as I mulled over my current writing project and wondered if I'm getting anywhere.

All the imagery in my mind is about flowing water — rivers. in Jung and The Story of Our Time, Laurens van der Post says that a river is the image of

water already in movement, finding its own way through ... conditions of external danger... to emerge intact and triumphant for union with the sea out of which it rose as vapour at the beginning... because it finds its own way without short cuts... in full acknowledgement of the reality of all that surrounds it, implying that the longest way round is the shortest and only safe way to the sea... [quote found at]

The calligraphy here is by the Japanese artist and Zen master Sengai (1750-1837). The two characters literally mean "nothing doing." It's interpreted as being free from anxiety. When applied to work, it can mean "let the work do its own work."

So I guess I'm letting my river take its course. Good thing I can breath underwater.


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