Monthly Archives: May 2006

What about the third eye?

I think I once promised to explain what “el tercer ojo” (the third eye) means.

First off, the quotation –which you get if you play with your cursor and the roll-over on the freeway sign above– comes from a poem by Cherrie Moraga from her collection The Last Generation.  The entire poem is: “the third eye does not weep. it knows.”  I’ve always loved her writing and couldn’t resist this chance to use it (and thus somehow make it partly my own).  Hope she doesn’t mind.

frida-kahloFor me, the third eye is the mind’s eye.  I see it as is depicted by Frida Kahlo, in her self-portrait “Diego On My Mind.”  It’s the inner vision of whatever is most important to us/ me at any given moment.

I think it also represents (as Moraga’s poem indicates) that truth which we know rather than simply believe or feel.  Emotions can run high so often in my world / self.  Writing, for me can be a way to translate what I feel into knowledge — to figure out why I feel the way I do.

I weep rather easily though.  So does my third eye weep?  I don’t think so; I think like Moraga’s it remains somewhat abstracted.  Unlike the rest of me, I don’t see it so much as about feeling as being about logic and, as said above, knowledge.  There’s a coldness to my nature at time.  A part of me that however much I’m in the moment, even when I’ve been weeping with sadness or laughing until I can’t breathe, that observes me and the situation from the outside.

That detachment or disassociation (as I’ve sometimes thought of it) has led me to wonder what I’m really feeling.  Or even worse, if at the worst or best moments of my life I’m really feeling anything, or if my life is somehow a dishonest performance.

Not happy thoughts at all.  Luckily, I don’t feel that way very often anymore.

Why?  Basically because of a really good therapist telling me that there wasn’t anything very abnormal going on.  That these feelings were a product of a mind that was more comfortable with analysis then emotion, not dishonesty. And so I renamed that portion of me my third eye.

And left my other two free to weep.  And laugh.

No, the blog isn’t dead.

Funny how sometimes these little quizzes get it exactly right.  If pressed, this is pretty much what I’d have said about how I feel about being American just now.  (And before anyone says anything stupid about "going back where I came from" I’d like to point out that I’m a 7th generation Californian and all four of my grandparents were born US citizens and I currently live less than 2 miles from the hospital where I (and all my siblings and mother) was born.  Love or hate me, this is where I came from.)

Though I do love the US, I find the idea of a sacred flag odd to say the least.  What I don’t love is the direction its leaders have been taking.  Let’s just say that for me anyway, Uncle Sam isn’t the problem.

You Are 40% American
America: You don’t love it or want to leave it.
But you wouldn’t mind giving it an extreme make over.
On the 4th of July, you’ll fly a freak flag instead…
And give Uncle Sam (make that Bush) a sucker punch!

Don’t you find it odd to think that it would have been easier for an atheist to be elected President in the late 18th century than it would be now in the early 21st?  I say this not as an atheist, but a semi-practicing Catholic.  As I read more and more work of the American Transcendentalists and their intellectual forebears, I find that thought — that with things they wrote about  religion, Adams and Jefferson couldn’t be elected today– running through my head constantly.  As well as this lovely quotation from Dwight Eisenhower

Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels — men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, we may never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.

Well, I wish anyway.  Still, he was writing in the mid 20th century.  Sometimes it does feel like our society moves backward before stepping forward again.