Call to Arms


Kalachakra with consort Vishvamata

Messages From Space:

In the simple, three dimensional universe, I believe
my two arms are all I will ever have. So I have spent a
lifetime of supreme effort waving them in pursuit of
contentment. To believe in this is to believe I am given

only one life. What about my eons of uncounted lives spent in
flight, in the sea, the soil, or hosted by mammal, forest or lake?
I may imagine living this one life, watching my portfolio
of assets, deeds and opinions rise and fall with the morning

headlines. Yet, immersed in the soup of time, all my lives are
delivering their cryptic messages in dreams–or while washing the
dishes. How many species gaze at me in this moment–through
the commercials on the big screen, or while waiting at

a traffic light? They are all here, in my breath, my carefully
constructed plans. The blood of the past fills my fingers, terma in
secret commune with stone. No need to look down. I already see
with earth’s eyes. There has always been creation and collapse.

These many eyes, outward and inward, tell the whole story. Now,
my many arms splay out from sun to moon, dawn to twilight, mountaintop
to river, reaching across time, each in their own place, exalting an
eternal tragic optimism, grief and joy ever entangled in a mycelial

expanse, chilled by arctic demise, choked by a deadening sky,
eyes gazing in all directions, penetrating the dance of illusion.
My body of flame rises this morning into the one mind, while
my industry of arms enwraps the beloved in ecstatic union,

molting into a truth that all “truth” is subsumed in spontaneous
arising. Speak clearly now with all your powers, it says. Embrace
the collapse, entwined with comrades, living and dying in amniotic
sympathy, in rage, ecstasy, in fierce love. I find my seat, join

the campaign of the irrational, join the multitude of arms turning
the wheel of time. Remain in this broken seat of ruin, seat of desire,
infinite source, my seat at the banquet of the inconceivable,
the erotic, indestructible diamond of this untamed heart-mind.


The heart is not tameable. It is not a mere pump. Nor is it an unfortunate circus animal, trained by goading and bribes into performing demeaning tricks. When the heart is subjugated and coerced by dehumanising forces — e.g., the capitalist/consumer paradigm — into accepting a dishonest, artificial, demeaning cultural milieu, the heart will lash out, sink into sorrow, or even damage its host.

Rejoice, for the reality of grief. The heart is a wilderness of the ineffable. It grieves as deeply as it longs and loves. Yet by the calculus of the heart’s grieving, one can apprehend — thus resist — the reprehensible, reckless course that the economic elite have set into motion. We do not have the luxury of acting as though the carnage wrought by the Anthropocene Epoch is not upon us.

By choosing to retreat from the challenge, one exiles oneself from the heart’s landscape — a mode of being comprised of angst and ashes. In this limbo, created by destiny deferred, the heart will turn away from you. Your own face will have become unrecognizable to your estranged heart. Yet, the moment one calls it by its name and begins to live by the heart’s lexicon (to wit, a committed love for life itself. The things of the world are its veritable lover) — a rapprochement can begin.—Phil Rockstroh, 121116

September 1, 1939
Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
                     —W.H. Auden

2 thoughts on “Call to Arms

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