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....And Then I Went Running

Posted 12-22-2008 at 02:57 AM by shastastar
Updated 01-05-2009 at 05:30 PM by shastastar
The first time I read And Then We Went Fishing it took me about 4-5 hours. I did a quick plot read. I have been blessed with an almost photographic memory although sometimes it will take me weeks or even months to have a complete and full recall of what I have read. In this first read I wasn’t that impressed: birth / death and the cycle / circle of life who cares? The lion king was more entertaining and by far not even my favorite Disney movie.

But then two months later I was running and it hit me. I have been meditating and thinking a lot about the 11th theorem of the unifying principle “ Extreme Yin produces Yang and Extreme Yang produces Yin,” looking at examples here and there and and in Jessica Porter’s Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotics, and wanted to figure out what it was beyond conception / child birth / cycle of life that is outlined so often for myself. So in my spare time I started the meditiation.

The first time I read the 12 theorems of the unifying principle in Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy (p xxii after the preface) I came up with examples mostly from physics and thermodynamics that illustrated each theorem for my own amusement. Such is the life of someone with an engineering degree with a minor in literature turned stay at home homeschooling mom. I just assume generally that I can relate everything back to science. And in doing so I paused with the 11th theorem. I got stuck. I couldn’t come up with any easy scientific principle that illustrated this in my mind. I could blog and bore everyone to tears with the theorems I wrote in the margins of Kamikaze Cowboy to illustrate 1-10 and 12 but I won’t. Because trust me…. Not exciting or interesting stuff unless you are really interested in physics, thermodynamics, or solid state transport phenomena all of which I was blessed enough to intensively study at university. Most of the time it doesn’t even interest me, I just find it amusing

However when I couldn’t come up with something immediately for the 11th theorem I was intrigued. So in between my lovely five year old’s raw screams emoting from her core when her brother tortures her or for no particular reason other than she doesn’t want to verbalize her frustration, changing diapers for an awesome almost 2 year old baby that likes to tell me I am “mean” when she doesn’t get exactly what she wants as quickly as she wants it, and a artistically tempermented highly strung 9 year old ( violin player yes and the personality that goes with that) who is at that wonderful age of struggling between realizing the difference in what he dreams he can accomplish in the moment and what he is actually capable of at this moment (although the day is coming when his ability to accomplish what he needs to will exceed what he currently dreams possible and sooner rather than later). I am thinking about the 11th theorem. Yeah so the truth of the circle of life is definitely getting all if the attention it deserves if not in theory than in the practice of my daily life. I’m sorry but oneness with my kids is infinitely more interesting than theorizing or discussing macrobiotic philosophy even when outlined as eloquently as it is in Dirk’s books.

So one cold day in December I was taking my hour out of the day to run and work out three months after my first read of And Then We Went Fishing (ATWWF for the rest of the blog). To run on the treadmill away from nothing toward nothing but still running which makes for an amazing illustration of theorem 7 that all phenomena are ephemeral constantly changing their constitution of yin and yang components within the realm that is my treadmill. Figure that one out …..then explain it to me.

Back from the land of digression, so I am running and it hits me…. ATWWF is like a parable for the 11th theorem and I think further while I am running that all of the rest of the theorems are very heavily threaded into the book. A this point it is hazy, as I am at a loss for specific detail and half way out of breath, but I know I have read illustrations of all of them in ATWWF.

We know from his literary references in Kamikaze Cowboy that Dirk is well read, or at least whoever helped him edit is well read, or he wants to appear that way, but lets just assume for the sake of ease here and the fact that he talks about how much he reads that he is what most people would refer to as well read. So then having performed great literature in the theater and having read great literature, there is no reason to think that sensei couldn’t use that along with his macrobiotic induced stream of consciousness to come up with a rich, symbolic, image ridden, and multidimensional autobiographical story. On one level you have a simple story about life the alpha and the omega of our existence here birth and death, circle of life, the lion king except with people instead of cartoon characters etc…. kind of self indulgent…. The story has been written a hundred times. On first read kind of bland.

But then when my brain goes back to the story while I am running and after I have quoted the parable of the seeds that Jesus told to one of my favorite fellow bloggers, I have the epiphany and I run toward it. ATWWF is a spiritual parable of the 12 theorems. It is a carefully woven tapestry of the unifying principles HOLY F----- S--- THIS IS A GREAT BOOK I HAVE TO READ IT AGAIN, and then I get distracted and have to push myself to finish my run. Now keep in mind a parable is not a riddle, or a puzzle it is defined as a simple story illustrating a moral, spiritual, or religious lesson.

When I am done traversing my treadmill road to nowhere, and while I am stretching and drenched in sweat ( nice picture isn’t it) I realize, Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy is all about the physical side of macrobiotics, the diarrhea, the tumor passing, the yuck, the greek hedonism, the discharge of cancer, zits, etc all the physicality of Macro. It’s in your face easy to understand, requiring faith that macro cured his cancer, full of letting go of the old self and converting to vegetarianism. While it is easy to understand in principle the graphic raw yang physicality of it all, it is difficult to apply and live by those concepts in your own life.

And Then We Went Fishing is the book that we see but don’t see hear but don’t hear just like Jesus spoke of in the parable Luke Chapter 8

As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Then his disciples asked him, "What does this parable mean?"
He said, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables; that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.' ksome would see but not see, hear but not hear.

Well let me tell you sisters and brothers of the grain. Dirk’s parable like a flood, washed over me and cleansed me like a wave breaking in the ocean. I could hear it, see it, smell it, feel it and taste it and I was baptized and reborn in this book. The vein of flavors in this testament were there just waiting to be discovered seen sought after and understood in the same way biblical scholars struggle to understand and explain the parables of the Bible. Through my macrobiotic filter, this book now made me feel like I was floating in a rich dense bowl of miso soup and, grasping a piece of green onion and trying not to drown under a giant floating piece of tofu.

I did a daikon hip bath last week and felt 10 lbs lighter, even on my runs much lighter, much stronger, and sleeker. While sweating in the bath I was thinking about theorem 11 without much revelation or epiphany occurring, but it was overall a nice positive experience of stillness. Two days after my revelation I started ATWWF again reading this time for the parables and the threads of the twelve theorems. That first night I only got through ¼ of the book, the first 5 chapters. This was the biggest bite of this book I could chew and chew it I did more than 100 times and even this small bite of well chewed spiritual food caused me to feel slightly nauseaus and 10 lbs heavier than I had felt prior to the hip bath earlier in the week.

This simple book evolved into a complete meal for my soul so thick, rich, and nutrient dense that it was like swimming through a sea of brown rice. I was struggling to keep my consciousness above water and getting a headache at the same time. So with my fresh cup of bancha tea I plodded along through the slight headache and tried to figure it out. Dare I actually put my foot in and unravel the threads so carefully woven in here? Should I have the confidence to say I actually get this and here is what it means? Should I have the gaul to say I can take apart the book and dissect it to its pieces that Dirk has so graciously created for us?

Does anyone doing literary analysis really know what they are talking about??? These questions had plagued me at University so many times. But I always come back to the idea that great literature is truly great because it has such a rich layered diversity, much like human experience, or like peeling an onion different layers at every level, more yang at the core, more yin at the surface (12th theorem there again) . In the prologue Dirk points out of the people in this book that “there is a spiritual truth to all our lives and the stories they contain, and that the spiritual truth is absolute and does not change no matter who tells the story” (vii). This gives me the confidence that it is fair of us to discuss ATWWF as a spiritual parable and unravel the illustrations of the mysteries of the 12 theorems of the unifying principle.

In ATWWF, the surface yin is the comedy ( u turn in the Porsche going to the hospital) and tragedy ( the son shooting the father) of the birth of George and the death of George. The yang is the core of Dirk’s soul balancing of the extremes of yin and yang birth and death and rebirth folding into one another ( 11th theorem) within him and in this book bared naked to the world. And he is right in the intro when he says that ATWWF is it’s own entity, “has its own reality apart and separate from its creator” (viii). And I am sure there are a lot of you out there saying, ”Well of course this is true about this book and I knew that all along”… well good for you then and you can stop wasting your time reading this. It took me three months and a lot of running and meditating on the 11th theorem to figure it out in my slow way, during my race to nowhere on my treadmill….

So over the next few blogs if there is enough interest I will take the time to break down And Then We Went Fishing into its different parables, symbols and imagery which illustrate the 12 theorems, and I would invite you to follow and if anything strikes you in the book do the same. In my humble opinion, ATWWF goes way beyond the circle of life. It brings us closer to the infinite one. It lets us draw out the spiritual truths in our own lives. If on the other hand you like your read / interpretation of the book the way it is, don’t read the next few blogs. Consider this fair warning to you all in the context of a Christmas full of peace hope faith love bancha and brown rice.

Total Comments 4


  • Old Comment
    Great blog - I hope Dirk reads it!

    LOL - I am the same as you when it comes to the theorems and science/thermodynamics etc. And yeah, I got stuck with the 11th one too!

    Don't stop this stream of consciousness!
    Posted 12-22-2008 at 03:51 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
    Updated 12-22-2008 at 03:53 AM by deebeelicious
  • Old Comment
    OMG DeeBee I was hoping that you would have the snappy formulaic answer for Number 11 and I was just snoozing in a class that semester!!!!! But there really isn't one sort of scientific equation or principle that fits with 11 other than maybe E=mc2 as E energy M mass in kg c speed of light 3.0x10to the 8th m/s. Einsteins theory of relativity. Energy and mass are equivalent and transmutable. Matter cannot be created or destroyed but can change form, but I have a ? here in my margin because it seems so simple... too simple. I also did not come up with that right away... took a few weeks, and was not as pleasingly concrete as my other drawings and formulas.

    Here is a great link to understanding the theory of relativity if want more information.


    Elegant isn't it? but then raw physics usually is both simple and elegant. It bugged me to death that there did not seem to be a clear simple concept that I could define to represent theorem 11. Is it possible that the same theory that led in part to the development of nuclear weaponry could partly explain the 11th theorem which also is thought of as the energy exchanged at childbirth / death. That would mean every child born would have the same relative impact potentially as a nuclear weapon, but in a positive, uplifting, and non-destructive manner. Einstien came later in life after World War II to be one of the most outspoken critics of nuclear weapons development, and regretted recommending their development to Roosevelt.

    But imagine in the same vein as John Lennon..... Imagine every child having the power to change the world as much as a nuclear weapon except for good. Yeah give your kids a hug and a kiss for me, "There is a divine moment in our lives when we become One. It is called pro-creation and it is reborn continually and forever in teh future we call children. They are our destiny and we are theirs. The extent to which we fail as parents... we fail as God's Children" DB Dedication page Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy

    In any case Peace Love Hope Faith Brown Rice and Bancha
    And don't worry DeeBee, I had to do a HUGE cut down last night to get this short enough to be palatable LOL
    Posted 12-22-2008 at 07:35 AM by shastastar shastastar is offline
  • Old Comment
    Briefly, I can't answer SS's query about the 11th theorem yet, but I'm working on it.
    Meanwhile, here's some ramblings on yin and yang, from both spiritual and physical sides.

    Yin and Yang - from a spiritual point of view
    Some quotes from a translation of the Quran:
    [36:36] Glory to God, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge.
    [43:12] That has created pairs in all things ...
    [50:7] And the earth- We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs)-
    [51:49] And of every thing We have created pairs: That ye may receive instruction.
    [53:45] That He did create in pairs,- male and female,
    [78:8] And (have We not) created you in pairs,
    It is clear from these (for me) (and other quotes about pairs of plants etc in the Quran), that the universe, and life in general (as we know it) has duality. Expressing that as 'male and female' or 'yin and yang' (to me) therefore can be quite interchangeable.

    Yin and Yang - from a physical point of view
    Energy & mass/matter (E = mc2)
    Matter, antimatter
    Wave/particle theory of electromagnetic energy - light can be described as as a wave or a particle 'photon' depending on the circumstances.
    The simplest atom, Hydrogen-1 = 1 proton, 1 electron
    Atomic nucleus: proton, neutron
    Quantum configuration shells orbiting atomic nuclei are in pairs
    Positron, negatron
    Going even smaller, quarks - these too are in pairs!
    Perhaps it is because humans are bipodal with pairs of eyes and ears, and two hemispherical frontal lobes, that we (should I say, I) perhaps see patterns in things that are merely random, ie that I am seeing duality in the examples above by cherry-picking. Well, whether this is 'The Truth' or just how I see it, it does not matter, because my understanding of 'The Truth' will always be limited by my nature?
    Posted 12-27-2008 at 06:02 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
    Updated 12-27-2008 at 06:05 AM by deebeelicious
  • Old Comment
    Posted 12-27-2008 at 06:20 AM by deebeelicious deebeelicious is offline
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