Satori in Brooklyn [Flash Fiction]

All good reading is re-reading.


A man says, I’ve ben reading Kazantzakis and remembering Kerouac, not that they have a lot in common, I mean, not that their prose style is similar. They might just be mutually exclusive in the manner with which syntax is handled, manipulated, in the telling of a story. But in reading Kazantzakis, I cannot avoid understanding just how deeply spirituality figured in his work–Christian spirituality (and there is such a thing, no matter how hard the mass media of America, by those who manage the media, try to tell us there either is no such thing or that secular spirituality is somehow deeper or more meaningful–and popular forms of media dissemination and entertainment do do this, but that is for another telling or exposing . . .). I have picked up at random several editions of Kerouac novels I have on my bookshelves. I have thumbed through them to find what I am looking for in reference to what I have found in Kazantzakis.

He says, Yes, I could not help but hear in Kazantzakis’s voice off the page that a primary concern for the author was this war, this battle, this conflict between spirit and flesh, man’s passions and the Passion of Christ. It is not always a battle for Kazantzakis, but he knows it is one for many in many cultures, whether Christian or not. One does not have to be Christian to learn lessons from the Passion of Christ—and you do see that it is not the Emotion of Christ, thus not commotion we must have for others, but compassion, and you do see what I am driving at here, no?

He says, I also remembered how prominently spirituality figured in Kerouac’s novels–himself a very Catholic writer, and as far as his spirituality—whether it was Catholic or Buddhist or Hindu or one or another of the many American transformations of these separate yet related spiritualities . . . what? What was it?  Yes, the role of the spiritual in his writing is persistently evident, as is the call of the flesh, especially in a Dionysian like revel toward the transcendence and transfiguration that intoxication might bring, something Kazantzakis also felt, understood and conveyed in his writing. Both men revel in the strength and weakness of flesh, the strength and the weakness of spirit.

I say, Where then lies my struggle with the flesh, with the spirit–I recall once, after opium, wasn’t it, that I had said that what I was looking for—and I had had a satori moment or maybe an epiphany—that what I was looking for in life was God. I could have said that he had said, but I did not and said instead that it is I who says. I am looking for God.


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