losing through you
When we took Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” into a maximum security woman’s prison on the West Side… there’s a scene there where a young woman is told by a very powerful official that “If you sleep with me, I will pardon your brother. And if you don’t sleep with me, I’ll execute him.” And he leaves the stage. And this character, Isabel, turned out to the audience and said: “To whom should I complain?” And a woman in the audience shouted: “The Police!” And then she looked right at that woman and said: “If I did relate this, who would believe me?” And the woman answered back, “No one, girl.” And it was astonishing because not only was it an amazing sense of connection between the audience and the actress, but you also realized that this was a kind of an historical lesson in theater reception. That’s what must have happened at The Globe. These soliloquies were not simply monologues that people spoke, they were call and response to the audience. And you realized that vibrancy, that that sense of connectedness is not only what makes theater great in prisons, it’s what makes theater great, period.
I believe that we are put here in human form to decipher the hieroglyphs of love and suffering. And, there is no degree of love or intensity of feeling that does not bring with it the possibility of a crippling hurt. But, it is a duty to take that risk and love without reserve or defense.
“It is not easy for students to realise that to ask, as they often do, whether God exists and is merciful, just, good, or wrathful, is simply to project anthropomorphic concepts into a sphere to which they do not pertain. As the Upaniṣhads declare: ‘There, words do not reach.’ Such queries fall short of the question. And yet—as the student must also understand—although that mystery is regarded in the Orient as transcendent of all thought and naming, it is also to be recognised as the reality of one’s own being and mystery. That which is transcendent is also immanent. And the ultimate function of Oriental myths, philosophies, and social forms, therefore, is to guide the individual to an actual experience of his identity with that; tat tvam asi (‘Thou art that’) is the ultimate word in this connection.
"By contrast, in the Western sphere—in terms of the orthodox traditions, at any rate, in which our students have been raised—God is a person, the person who has created this world. God and his creation are not of the same substance. Ontologically, they are separate and apart. We, therefore, do not find in the religions of the West, as we do in those of the East, mythologies and cult disciplines devoted to the yielding of an experience of one’s identity with divinity. That, in fact, is heresy. Our myths and religions are concerned, rather, with establishing and maintaining an experience of relationship—and this is quite a different affair. Hence it is, that though the same mythological images can appear in a Western context and an Eastern, it will always be with a totally different sense. This point I regard as fundamental.”