Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, May 27, 2010

How many roads most a man walk down
Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Bob Dylan, songwriter; this song was on his
album, released on this date, 1963

It seems amazing that it could have been 47 years ago!! To me it was as yesterday. I hear both Dylan’s raspy voice, and Peter, Paul and Mary’s lovely rendition – and actually I prefer Bob Dylan’s. PP&M’s version sounded nostalgic; Dylan’s sounded challenging and confrontative. And it should have.

“Blowin’ in the wind”. Like so many things, this to me is one of those rich, beautiful metaphors. One of those exquisite paintings of the Imagination that lifts our hearts and minds and spirits to Possibilities that we keep losing faith in. I lived through the 60s, 70s, 80’s; we hoped. Now, as I sit in 2010, I wonder why.

I have no idea if Dylan knew that he was referencing the Biblical phrase about the Holy Spirit – that Spirit that “blows where it will; we know not where it comes from or where it is going”. But for me, that quality of Elusiveness is the beautiful part of the Holy Spirit. We try to put the Spirit in a box, in any container that allows us to control It. But the Spirit is not to be controlled. Period.

Will we human beings ever learn? Will we ever understand that canon balls flying is death to Humanity? Will we ever understand that Freedom is of the essence to living together in Peace? What will it take for us to understand that we can’t “turn our heads” – that we must face into what destroys us? What will allow us to hear the cry of Humanity in pain? How long must we murder and mutilate our fellow human beings in the vain and mistaken belief that this will solve our problems?

As the Buddhist Evening Gatha says, we must “Wake Up”. I hear that other song’s plaintive last words: “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?”

Thanks Bob Dylan. If there was ever a time when we need to hear the call, this is It.


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