This past weekend I watched the opera “Don…

This past weekend I watched the opera “Don Giovanni” at the Cleveland Opera house, with my mother. It was a lovely opera, and it managed to evoke very vivid emotions in me, despite the language barrier (it’s in Italian, but there is a translation screen above the stage). What I found most fascinating the main character, Don Giovanni, whom Mozart (the writer of the opera) modeled on Don Juan, the famous womanizer. Throughout the acts of the opera, Don Giovanni is revealed as a vile, lustful man, whose only god in life is the pursuit of pleasure. In fact, he is so determined to get what he wants, that he even kills for it, and gives his life for it at the end. He is the epitomy of sexual desire, and human willfulness, and he is a daredevil. As evil as he is, he is also the most determined of all the characters in the opera, the other characters (his servant, the women he scorned, the women wanting revenge), all fluctuate in their desires and motivations.

Even the woman whose father he kills in the first act, is torn between feelings of desire and love for him, and her revenge. Giovanni is so bad, in fact, he is almost inhuman in the way he follows his debased desires, almost an abstract representation of human willfulness. The thing I found myself wondering was this: I could easily identify with all the characters on stage, but when it came to him I found difficulty. Not because he was so vilified and immoral, but because he was so very definite in his desires. Unlike him, his servant Leporello is torn between the desire to follow his master and share in a life of plenty, and his desire to leave this immoral affair before it gets too bad. His former mistress Elvira is torn between her desire to destroy him and reveal him as a monster for abandoning her, and her feelings of admiration and love for a man that will not yield to any woman.

Anyway, I thought hard about this after the opera: even though Don Giovanni is a monster more than a human being, and kills and seduces freely throughout the acts, is he not the character that is most honest to his desire, obeying it to the very end into his death? And is that not one of our main complaints as humans, in our daily lives, that our desires fluctuate so much that we cannot stay faithful to one for a long time and follow it to its completion? On a spiritual path, I hope that I will be more like Don Giovanni than any other of the fluctuating characters I saw onstage: willing to follow my desire for truth no matter what, even if it leads to my death. And yet at this point in my life I doubt at times its attractiveness, since there are other things attractive to me, that I follow at times more intently than a spiritual resolution. And then I go back to it again. I cannot boast the singularity of purpose in desire that Giovanni has, and that saddens me.

The other characters represent what I hate so much about my nature, and human nature in general: inconstancy. While Don Giovanni is very abstract to me in his ability to follow his desire, one thing is clear to me: if what you desire is very attractive to you, above all else, you will follow it without wavering, even into death. Because when you are so consumed with following something attractive to you, that process itself rewards you beyond the loss that death may represent for you.

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Question (in rhyme) Is it best to have y…

Question (in rhyme)

Is it best to have your way,
Even at the end of the day?
As dawn approaches and darkness encroaches
And my soul cries out to say Hey!
This wasn’t so different, anyway,
From the way things were yesterday
Would I have it my way or would I let
Life have its day?

I was eagerly hoping for a roll in the hay
But all that I seem to get nowaday
Is something else rather, seemingly more
Like an endless galore
Of wishes and ways that look nothing
At all
Like the ones I would have
If I were in control.

So I tell me again ‘let them go!
Let them stray!’
I will gather my sheep and go forth from
The bay
To the inner way
To the inner way
And let life have its day.

Poem I turn around and round The self Li…

Poem

I turn around and round
The self
Like a dog
Chasing its own tail.
Trying to sniff out
My very soul.
My senses lead me
Astray
Most of the time.
My hearing wasted
On the song of birds.
My taste sense wasted
On many hardened bones.
My eyes hardened
By the chase of many fleeting
Things.
But yesterday I think,
When I was circling yet
Again,
I caught the scent
Of a thought.
Unlike the other thoughts.
It simply told me
Stop.