Learning Love

Downtown Honolulu
Repeat Post With More History
April ‘73

Back on the beach, Eddy needed money, so he found himself a painting job in downtown Honolulu. Poor Eddy, he spent four hours a day going to and from work on the bus. He read a lot of newspapers, though. That was how I got to read the blurb in the classifieds: “Friends of the P.D. Ouspensky School of Thought,” and underneath the blurb was a phone number. I had read two books by this Russian mystic, and although I wasn’t in love with his books, I did find them interesting. I had never had an opportunity to talk to anybody about Ouspensky because his stuff was not easy to talk about. I saw this as an opportunity to speak to someone who knew more about him than I did.

When I made the phone call, I must have caught the girl on the other end of the phone at a bad time because she cut our conversation short. Fortunately for me, I was able to make an appointment with her on the same day that I was supposed to pick up Carol Sue at the airport. C.S. was coming to Hawaii to stay with me for a while. Not only would I get to talk with a knowledgeable person about Ouspensky, I would also get to pick up Carol Sue at the airport. I was really excited.

I took an early morning bus and went to the Waikiki Hotel where I was supposed to meet the girl on the phone. I arrived first and took a seat in the restaurant next to the window. I had told her I would be wearing an orange flowered shirt, so she could recognize me. When a girl got out of a taxi and smiled at me from the sidewalk, I knew that it had to be her. As she entered the restaurant and came closer, I could not help but feel that this girl was different. Her dark lips, black hair, black blouse and blue jeans did not make her all that much different. (It was pretty hot to be wearing all those clothes,
though.) It must have been the way she carried herself. When she
approached my booth, she lit up a cigarette and introduced herself at the same time. “Hi,” she said, “My name is Lorna. Why don’t we go out on the patio; it’s nicer.” There was nothing strange about her
introduction, but, once we got out on the patio, and she ignored me
when I asked if I could bum a cigarette from her, I knew something was up.

It was nice on the patio, and the view of the ocean was the best.
“How did you become interested in Ouspensky?” she said. I told her I had read a friend’s book, and then I went out and bought a second book, Tertium Organum. I told her the books were good, but sometimes the mystical stuff went right over my head. “All facts were mystical until they got verified and understood,” she replied. I was about to respond when she asked me, “What brought you to Hawaii?” “The sun, the sea; why not come to Hawaii?” I said. “It sure beats California.” And then I asked her for a second time if I could bum a cigarette. She gave me a weird look and said, “I’m afraid not.” She then excused herself and went to the bathroom. I just sat there thinking, “What a strange lady.”

She was a bit friendlier when she returned. She even gave me a
cigarette, but it didn’t come free. I had to listen to a speech on
“self-reliance.” She told me, “People who go around asking for favors are weak and not very dependable.” “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “All I wanted was a cigarette. I had no idea.” After that, she was quiet. I was no stranger to the silent treatment. I could be silent too. Then, quite suddenly, she turned to me and said, “Have you ever thought seriously about getting into these teachings?” I didn’t know what to say. My yoga class required my attention and Carol Sue was going to demand my attention as soon as she arrived. As much as I wanted to pursue this opportunity, I couldn’t. So, I responded, “Yes, when I was reading the books. But right now I’m pretty busy. I’m pressed for time.” If looks could kill, I would have died on the spot. Without so much as a word, she took a huge drag off her cigarette, turned, and stared at the ocean.

I was debating whether to butt out my cigarette and leave, when she looked at me and said, “Isn’t that beautiful. It’s the song of the
(she named a bird I couldn’t pronounce). Off in the distance I could
hear something like a bird chirping, but if it hadn’t been pointed out
to me, I would not have heard it.

“Its probably looking for a mate,” I said.

“Oh, and why would you say that,” she replied.

“I don’t know; probably because that’s why birds sing,” I said,
“to find a mate and have little birdies. Go forth and multiply, I
believe the big Guy said. Right?”

“Do you think birds sing just to fuck?” she exclaimed.

“Hold on,” I said, “I’m not an expert, but I read somewhere that
birds sing to attract mates. It sounded like a good explanation when I read it. Why else would they sing?”

“Sexual attraction is secondary,” she said. “You guys got it
backwards. Birds reproduce in order to sing, not the other way around. A higher purpose is involved. With their songs, the birds express that higher purpose. In the larger picture, it is all about the creative expression of love and beauty.”

“I guess I hadn’t really thought much about it,” I said.

“Nature, by creating different species,” she continued, “sent forth
love, and consciousness of love. It was all about the creative
expression of that love. That’s why we’re here. We exist for that

“Hey, you’re probably right,” I said, “but one or two biologists
might disagree with you. If it weren’t for singing birds, far fewer
birds would get reproduced, and with no progeny to reproduce the
species, gone would be the songs, the singers, and the potential for
greater creative expression, at least among birds. Right?”

“So what are you saying?” she replied. “Is it that love and beauty
amounts to nothing more than guaranteeing a sufficient number of
births? Are you telling me that, after the baby payoff, that’s it,
there’s nothing more to life, to love? Everything after that is just

“All I know,” I said, “is that love doesn’t prevent babies from
happening, and the more babies, the more love. It has to be that way. That was all I meant.”

“Have you ever been in love?” said Lorna. “I mean really in love?
Where you couldn’t stand to be apart from your lover? Where you
overflowed love, not just in `sex,’ but in the `push and pull’ of
every emotion imaginable?”
“I guess not,” I replied, “I’ve been in love, but it wasn’t like
that. Being in love, for me, created more chaos than it did bliss.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, “bear with me for a moment while I tell you what you’ve missed.”

“Okay, be my guest,” I replied.

“Love,” she said, “propelled by the beauty it creates, when truly
felt, saturates every manner of emotion, feeling, agitation, desire,
thought, and fantasy. It doesn’t vanish with orgasm. To find that kind of love you have to “think for yourself,” not with your balls. Love isn’t just a fuck away, but it can be right around the corner if you are sincere enough to find it. Only a tiny fraction of love goes into the propagation of the species. So, how shall we honor what’s left? How shall we honor the love that surrounds us? If love is anything, it is creativity in its purest form. It burns through the senses in music, poetry, literature, painting, dance—all artistic forms of expression follow from it. Love animates and grows.
Without it, there would be no work ethic, no survival. Perhaps,
someday, you will have the inclination and the time to look beyond
yourself, to that world where creativity and love burn brightest. If
that day comes, I dare say you will come to know a love that you have heretofore not dreamed possible.”

Without so much as a goodbye, she stood up and walked away.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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5 Responses to Learning Love

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    that day comes, I dare say you will come to know a love that you have heretofore not dreamed possible.”

    I hope that day will come, really hope so. To feel the kind of love you told here: “I mean really in love?
    Where you couldn’t stand to be apart from your lover? Where you
    overflowed love, not just in `sex,’ but in the `push and pull’ of
    every emotion imaginable?”

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      I hope that day will come also, i.e., the experience of an all consuming love. For the most part, I think that kind of love is meant to stay on the horizon–as “the ideal.” Sadly, in my experience at least, the closest I have come to that kind of love is the experience of the emotional pain felt when a loved one dies. Thanks for the comment. Take care.

  2. eof737 says:

    Lorna was an interesting sort… the queen of love. 🙂
    Happy weekend!

  3. jgavinallan says:

    love isn’t just a fuck away…it may be strange to read, but that line caused a tear.

    thank you

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