Thursday, July 10, 2008

Praying to an Empty Chair: Your Imagination Does Not Belong to You


A dying woman's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her mother. When the minister arrived, he found the woman lying in bed with her head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat ready beside her bed. The chair made the minister think that the woman had been informed of the visit as he said, "I see you were expecting me."

"No, who are you?" said the mother.

The minister told her his name and then remarked, "I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was coming."

"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden woman. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Puzzled, the clergyman shut the door and sat down.

The woman spoke, "I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter. All of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor preach about prayer, but it went right over my head. It sounded so complicated that I never tried it much, until one day four years ago."

"What happened?" asked the minister.

She continued, "My best friend said to me, 'Betty, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and imagine Jesus sitting in the chair. Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now."

"And did you try that?" asked the minister.

"Yes I did," she said, "and I've liked it so much that I started doing it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd have me in asylum for lunatics. She's college educated."

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the woman to continue talking to Jesus in the chair. Then he prayed with her, anointed her with oil, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her mother had died that afternoon. "Did she die in peace?" he asked.

"Yes," the daughter answered, "when I left the house about two o'clock, she called me over to her bedside, told me she loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found her. But there was something very odd about her death. Apparently, just before Mother died, she leaned over and rested her head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?"

The minister's eyes welled with tears and he said, "Mysterious, isn't it?"


Many moderns might find this story quaint. Condescendingly, they may grant that such tales can be quite soothing to the uneducated, usually from the Red states. They will tell you that the human brain has evolved in order to conjure up all sorts of illusory fantasies to help the dying. I personally find that theory odd since the less evolved animals, which seem to have evolved no sense of immortality, have a much easier time accepting death and dying. That theory seems to be another example of unquestioned faith in 'science'.

Nevertheless, we moderns assume an anthropocentric point of view of the imagination. We are told that the human brain creates all thoughts and images from neural connections. We are the sole thinkers and our brains are the solitary image factories. That poor deluded, hallucinating and dying woman in the above story saw nothing more than a humanly fabricated image made of nothing substantial or 'real'. It was all in her imagination.


Yes, it was in the imagination, but what is 'the imagination?' Let's not just accept the assumed modern dogma that imagination originates in the human brain. Perhaps the human imagination arises from the pre-human Imaginal Realm. The Imaginal Realm precedes and fuels all images which we assume that the human brain originates. It seems more accurate to theorize that the human brain badly mimics the Imaginal Realm. Human beings may mentally construct unicorns, tooth fairies and fire breathing dragons through imagination, but such images are created from bits and pieces that exist in the Imaginal Realm.

Santa Claus, Hobbits and Mermaids are not just invented by the human brain, but rather they are also discovered, or formed because they are made of 'stuff' from the Imaginal Realm that is very Real. One might as well say that Mozart invented musical notes, or that Einstein originated mathematics. The human imagination did not invent or originate the Imaginal any more than Mozart invented D minor or Einstein created E=MC2. These were discovered, not invented. The reason literary images from Gilgamesh to Homer and from Genesis to The Sopranos always and everywhere contain the same basic stories or 'notes' is that they were discovered, not just invented. Authors and artists may arrange the pieces, but they did not create them from scratch. These three areas, math, music and myth arise from a Realm that precedes and will outlast human brains and bodies. The basic elements of each of these three (numbers, notes and stories) preceded human form and will continue after this planet becomes a sunless lump of rock and dust.


And of course some imaginary humanly discovered creations will be closer than others to the Original Images from the Imaginal Realm. Let's suppose a random group of people was placed in a room with a Rembrandt painting and asked to copy it to the best of their individual abilities. The results might range from comedic to some of the facsimiles being quite good. That is the relationship of the Imaginal Realm to the human imagination Some humanly discovered and concocted images are quite accurate representations - we call these Laws or Classics - but none is the Real Archetype or Original Pattern.


Many have attempted to declare religion dead or dying. But all around us we see religion not only alive and well, but thriving and morphing into new forms. They might as well try to eliminate math and music, which some despotic regimes have actually tried to accomplish. Mythologies, prayer and rituals show up in every human culture because the Imaginal Realm bubbles up from within and below the surface of human consciousness. We moderns call it 'the arts,' as though we invented it, even pontificating on why the Egyptians and other primitives did what they did. My sense is that those primitives knew more about 'art' than we will even begin to know.

In the Imaginal Realm, Jesus actually sits in chairs and carries on conversations - perceived by an organ little known, yet intuited, by many modern westerners. This Realm is neither literal nor hallucinatory, it transcends liberal skepticism and conservative dogma; it is a third Realm between fact and fiction. One fellow has called it 'faction.'

In this Realm, people saw and still see the resurrected Christ. In this Realm, the dying woman of our story placed her head in the lap of Jesus. Pull up a chair, try it, you might be surprised. Just don't tell your daughter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


What is this fire in me that rises,
compels me to climb
like a rebel against gravity?

…and that incessant down draft
pressing me back to earth
like a rebel against ascension?

Sweet angel,
I am crushed by a holy contradiction
pinching me between the palms of paradox.

Perhaps I am meant to squirt through some seam
yet unseen. Do I have the eye to see that crevice?
Give me vision, and courage.

I admit the unorthodox,
I release the assumed alternatives
and surrender to the option
of having neither to climb nor crash.

I am cared for in hell
or, choose to believe I am.

end/Michael 7/8/2008


She awaits me,
she is the flower beneath the hedge
unseen by the strolling dilettantes.

Her bloom is not yet glazed,
still wrapped in raven silence,
waiting for me to lift the shrubbery
and bathe her virgin petals
in the wild, gorgeous moon.

end/Michael 7/8/2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Interviews from Beyond the Grave: Kurt Cobain and Norman Vincent Peale

Interviews from Beyond the Grave

brought to you by

The Academy of the Dead

Michael: Today from the Imaginal Realm, we have two guests, rock musician Kurt Cobain and positive thinking guru, Norman Vincent Peale. It seems this unlikely duo has teamed up to sell their new book, Change is Not a Virtue, being hailed on Earth II as the best book since Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s, Holy Crap, Was I Ever Wrong. I’d like to welcome you both to our program.

Peale and Cobain in unison: Thank you.

Michael: Let’s begin with Doctor Norman Vincent Peale. You say in the preface of your new book that you regret writing all of those other books on self help and positive thinking. Why?

Norman Vincent Peale: I don’t regret writing everything I wrote. There were helpful ideas in all of them, but they focused too much on self.

Michael: Your new book seems to question the importance of change. Don't we need to change?

Norman Vincent Peale: It doesn’t question the importance of change, just the role and purpose of change. Transience and transformation are part of life. All things blossom and dissolve within the flow of time. But change for change-sake is not a virtue. Sometimes, the desire for change is a symptom of avoidance, a ploy to go unconscious and avoid my restless self.

Michael: But we are all excited about a presidential candidate who believes in change.

Norman Vincent Peale: It seems to me that the current political obsession to ‘believe in change’ may be a symptom that you are becoming a nation of addicts.

Michael: That’s a controversial statement, meaning?

Norman Vincent Peale: After you are dead, nothing is controversial, just clearer. I’m going to let my co-author, Mr. Kurt Cobain, address this; it is his area of expertise.

Kurt Cobain: The word 'addict' comes from two Latin words meaning 'to speak toward.' The addict is always speaking toward, or affirming whatever helps him/her avoid pain and discomfort. When I was with the band Nirvana, even after getting rich and famous, I lived for change; I couldn’t sit still. I hated the way I felt and wanted to change it. Sadly, people stereotype addicts as those abusing drugs and alcohol. Look at how people on Earth I are living in chronic state of trying to change everything!

Change the TV channel – channel surfing
• Change the music – songs must be no more than 3 minutes long
• Change my wardrobe – shopping for more, something new
• Change of scenery – traveling
• Change of diet - eating
• Change my physical appearance
• Change relationships – serial monogamy – sexual conquests – falling in love again
• Change my car
• Google, google, google
• Change video games
• Change my career – moving up the ladder
• Change my bank account and investment portfolio
• Change sinners to saints
• Change conservatives to liberals
• Change liberals to conservatives
• Convert people to my religion
• Change people’s minds by criticizing and arguing
• Rearrange my furniture
• Rearrange my garden
• Buy more art
• Take more classes, read more books
• See new movies
• Gather and hoard more, look at it, count it
• Change my electronic gadgets for newer ones

Michael: Doctor Peale, you were known for Positive Thinking. Kurt’s evaluation is pretty negative.

Norman Vincent Peale: None of these activities is bad. They can be very healthy and beneficial. But when done to fill the empty hole in a self centered soul, they become pathways to mental and physical disease - insanity, heart attacks, depression, joint pain, anxiety, cancer or suicide. Fortunately, self obsession is a recognized disease here on Earth II, in fact, the Mother of all diseases. But it is treatable.

Michael: When you speak of Earth I and Earth II, what do you mean?

Norman Vincent Peale: Earth I is what humans call 'Earth.' It is where we began as baby soul seeds, as little nascent egos; a sort of psycho-spiritual kindergarten (child garden). Except for a few rare exceptions, most of our Earth I ancestors spent their days in survival mode, gathering food and preparing shelter, taking care of crops, animals, children and each other. That went on for hundreds of thousands of years. Then a shift took place around 600 BC, people became more self conscious and began to develop much more quickly over the next two thousand years. Lots of new ideas and inventions popped up.

Michael: So Earth I is where you lived before you died and came here to Earth II?

Norman Vincent Peale: Yes, and on Earth I, another shift took place when Jesus’ teachings about universal compassion and equality caught on. A new world slowly evolved, initiating the gradual abolition of Greco-Roman slavery, capricious Paganism, and the rigid class distinctions. Countless monasteries were founded, inventing humane labor saving technologies, capitalistic economics and universities which studied the nature of God and His logical universe. Over a period of about 1,500 years those ideas and actions flowered into what Earth I people called the Modern scientific era.

Michael: How was Jesus' God better than the Pagan or Eastern Gods?

Norman Vincent Peale: I never said 'better', just different. The Pagan Gods were unpredictable and their universe was beyond figuring out. These Pagan Gods were just to be experienced mystically, never understood, and their world was cyclical like the seasons - nothing could be changed. Jesus presented a God that was not only personal, but loving, logical and linear. His universe could be studied, laws found and progress made. The Pagan Gods had little concern for humans and would just as soon kill them as look at them. Jesus presented a God-image that loved the whole world and wanted them 'saved' from their errors and sins.

Michael: That contradicts most of western history which calls Christianity the 'Dark Ages.'

Norman Vincent Peale: Yeah, dogma comes in many forms, the Imaginal Realm allows more perspective. Anyway, with the advent of the modern world, suddenly people had lots of spare time since most of their basic needs were met through myriad labor saving devices. And they had more time to do what comes naturally, think about their selves and their natural desires. There was time to get bored and wonder. Days were no longer filled with the necessary requirements for staying alive, but with hundreds of options for gratifying physical and emotional longings. The longing greatly increased emotional pain as so many desires went unfulfilled. There was lots of time to compare and judge what they didn't have or were afraid of losing. The idle desiring human mind becomes a starving, omnivorous predator.

Michael: So, back to the book. When does change become bad?

Norman Vincent Peale: When change itself becomes the focus. Restless, desiring minds must be filled or constantly seeking. If something isn't 'working,' change is required. Change has become the number one aim of the modern world on Earth I - the focus of everything from advertising to religion. Many spend their evenings changing the channels on their televisions only to find some commercial telling them to change their hygiene practices or car insurance. They are always coming up with new words for change, like ‘make-over’ and ‘design’. Talk shows from Dr. Phil to Oprah draw millions daily who are bored and looking for change. The American Medical Association makes billions of dollars yearly by developing pharmaceuticals which promise people changes in emotional and mental conditions. Therapy and self help programs earn millions by teaching them how to change their relationships, jobs and most importantly, feelings! Religions promise them they will change their lives, and millions respond. And yes, of course some of these changes do improve our lives, but for how long? People often find themselves excited by the change, but a few minutes, hours or days later they are in search of the next change.

Kurt Cobain: I can speak from experience. I learned here on Earth II that my soul will never be content when focused solely upon me and my desires. I wish that were not true because my natural propensity is to focus on my empty and needy little self, even here on Earth II - the musical notes are clearer, women more gorgeous, food tastier, wine more intoxicating and money more plentiful. This place can be either Purgatory, Hell or Heaven depending on how clearly you see the problem and the solution. Whoever put these Earth-schools together knew exactly now much poverty and prosperity to place around the growing souls.

Michael: I recall C.S. Lewis writing a book about that called, The Great Divorce.

Kurt Cobain: But the irony is that the more I try to meet my needs through chronic change, the more needy I become. In other words, I seek the very thing that kills me. It is by chronically obsessing on how I can distract and divert myself that I create a larger hole to fill, an expanding sink hole which feeds on itself and can never be filled. On Earth I, the day I put the shotgun in my mouth, I had a wife, a new child, cars, new guitars, more money than I thought I would ever see – I was known and sought after on every continent, women adored me, men envied me. I had unlimited access to drugs and alcohol, and then it dawned on me - I had never been more empty and miserable. There was nothing on the planet that could make me happy.

Michael: So what have you learned here?

Kurt Cobain: I gradually came to see that at any given moment of the day I am seeking either self obsessive distractions, or ways to really serve others in making souls. The only time I am really, really content is when I am helping, or after I have helped, another human being without the expectation of a certain outcome or reward of any kind. Anyone who has been caught in a flood or other communal disaster knows the natural high that comes from being out of the self and into helping others in need.

Michael: I read that Bill Gates recently retired as the CEO of Microsoft in order to devote his efforts to philanthropic enterprises. He said that giving away what he has gained is more rewarding these days than making more.

Kurt Cobain: Smart guy.

Norman Vincent Peale: I am still a positive fellow, you know, so let me say that changes or 'distractions' can be very beneficial when we use them to refuel for the next round of service. Distractions and diversions are like roadside rest stops, places of respite, not the ultimate destination.

Michael: But there are a lot of very serving and loving people on Earth I.

Norman Vincent Peale: Of course! But be careful! Some of the most self obsessed people are those who think they are serving and loving others. They often do not see their own self obsession. They are public servants who are always bemoaning the problems of the world; they are the wives and mothers who are always complaining that their husbands and children do not appreciate them or cooperate; they are the men who work their fingers to the bone for their families and justify the little sexual affair on the side or the alcohol and drug abuse to help them unwind.

Michael: Can you give an example?

Norman Vincent Peale: In a remedial soul-making class last year, what the Catholics call Purgatory, I met a very self effacing and giving woman who boasted about her service to her family when she alive on Earth I. She had three children, a husband, a full time job and attended church every Sunday. She served as a community volunteer and attended every PTA meeting, took her kids to soccer practice after work, cooked dinner most nights and ran herself ragged until she dropped into bed at night, exhausted. Even in our class, most considered her a saint and the perfect wife, mother and citizen.

But as the weeks went on, most of her ‘sharing’ was about how no one recognized or appreciated just how much she gave. She spoke incessantly of her husband who never helped clean the house. She whined on and on about how the kids weren’t grateful for her superhuman dedication, how people at work took advantage of her kind heart, how her mother in law was too critical, how her friends were never there for her, and on and on and on she went. One night, after about her twentieth time saying, “No one ever appreciated me,” she went stone silent and turned a little more pale than usual, and whimpered, “me.” Then again, “me,” “me,” “me,” – I swear, for a moment her face looked cat-like. She slowly rose and moved over to an open couch and curled up, whispering, “me,” “me,” “me,” over and over. This may be the most insidious form of self obsession – selfless self obsession. There is no more pathetic disguise for self pity than when passed off as, 'see how good I am and how no one appreciates me.'

Kurt Cobain: These people are addicted to self obsessive change as well; they are hiding their selfish selves by hanging on crosses for people to see and pity them. They laud themselves for being such ‘good’ people. Yet many such people are no more content than the heroine addict seeking his next fix. They use martyrdom instead of a chemical to distract themselves from their selves. Their lives may not deteriorate as fast as the drug addict, but their emotional state is similar – restless, irritable and discontented, always in search of the next distracting whine session, complaint or subtle display of superiority.

Michael: But what about religious people? There are a lot of good servants of God on Earth I.

Norman Vincent Peale: I wonder. As a minister, I used to get calls from people seeking a new church – they’d tell me of all of the churches they had ‘sampled’ and where those churches fell short. These people were always seeking a change, desiring a place to be fed and made happier, wealthier, healthier and more abundant. They’d come to a church to be served or saved. But over the years I saw that such people were never content, and rarely found the health and wealth they thought the church ought to give them. They almost always left to find a better church to fill them up. I now see that they were religious addicts, often disguising their self-centered lives in a metaphysical or biblical ideology. I have been such, and still fall back into that mindset.

Michael: So you are saying it is better to give than to receive?

Norman Vincent Peale: Better? No, just more practical. It simply works to bring serenity and joy. Our book never tells people what they ‘have’ to do. It simply points out that self-obsession in any form never leaves one content or happy. Find what you have been given, and share it with others.

Kurt Cobain: This is important. We can give only what we have. It is not my responsibility to help those where I have no experience or means. But I can help others with the gifts, experiences, strengths and talents I have learned from living.

Michael: Let me see if I can summarize what I’ve heard: Change alone is not a virtue. The desire for change is sometimes just the self obsessive need for a new distraction, the addicts pursuit of escape from chronic desire and discontent. Be wary of those promising ‘change’ for change sake. If you are chronically discontent, frequently restless, obsessed with not being loved enough, not having the right partner or lacking in any area - consider reversing the order from self to other, of helping another human being without the expectation of a certain outcome or reward of any kind.

Norman Vincent Peale: Positively thoughtful summary.

Kurt Cobain: Yep, that is the way to Nirvana.

Michael: We have gone over our allotted time, so a heartfelt thanks to Doctor Norman Vincent Peale and Kurt Cobain. Their new book, Change is Not a Virtue can be purchased on Imaginazon.Com. Until our next interview, from Beyond the Grave, good night.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

From the Medieval Rack to Medical Prozac


Our monotheistic, monogamous, monopolistic, mono-psychological West does not typically like the heresy of anything poly (many). We will not tolerate polytheism, polygamy or polyamory. We focus on integration and wholeness. We emphasize law, order, consistency and integrity. We want complete equality between races, genders and religions. There is an unquestioned assumption that union is the supreme virtue. Even our professed love of multi-culturalism would have us wrongly believe that all humans and human organizations are basically the same. Unity, united, union and unification are the aims of this culture. Abraham Lincoln sacrificed the lives of over half a million men to keep these states united. G.W. Bush Jr. fancies himself a sort of modern Lincoln, using force to unite the world under American democracy.

We will not tolerate any loose ends or losers. Being number one is admired in sports and business, all the rest are second or worse. Any hint of non-cooperative dysfunction or fragmentation is immediately a disorder. You are a team player or a trouble maker. We consider insanity (not being whole) the worst fate to befall a human being. Marx’s Commun-ism was a secular and modernized version of Catholic Comm-union-ism – uniting all into one body. Anything bi-, poly-, schizoid or multiple is the modern scientific equivalent of old medieval heresy. We don't put our fragmented heretics on the rack to bring them around to religious unity, we put them on Prozac to make them socially and statistically 'normal'. Medical and Medieval are closely related etymologicaly and ideologically. Both are 'medi' words - the middle, transitioning from darkness and fragmentation to healing and wholeness. Both provide robed clergymen with the elements to fix all brokenness.
These are noble aspirations, but only part of the human condition.

The Chinese Tao Te Ching says, “If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to be united, let yourself be fragmented.” (Poem 22)

Human fragmentations, ‘abnormalities’ and break downs are as necessary as human wholeness and integration. And we must avoid the subtle trap set by the psychology of the human potential movement which graciously ‘allows’ fragmentation as a secondary, inferior and mediatorial process, always trumped by and inferior to one’s ‘full potential,’ whatever the hell that is. Honestly, none of us reaches his or her ‘full’ potential, until he or she is emptied out completely. This is attested to by all spiritual teachers; we must give up ourselves in order to find them. To be a servant through selfless surrender is the way to serenity and contentment. This often comes by fragmentation and disorder. Show me a man or woman who is frantically seeking to be integrated, and I will show you a man or woman on the verge of a major catastrophe. Striving after such spiritual wholeness is admirable, but this one sided pursuit will always result in complementary action. This is a soul-making Universe, which is also a Poly-verse. We need the One and the Many. You might as well try to start a car without the negative pole on the battery, or light a home without the negative outlet. Empowerment and enlightenment, of necessity, include the negative and positive, both integration and fragmentation.


This culture is very familiar with the phrase, ‘hitting the bottom,’ which refers to the addict who has sunken into the depths of his or her destructive habit, and is now ready to rise up to wholeness. But we need to recognize that there is also something called ‘hitting the top,’ the addict who has achieved so much success, abundance and notoriety that they are now ready to fall apart and crack up. Both are necessary for soul-making, or spiritual growth. We see it happen with celebrities all of the time, and many of us get some sort of vicarious satisfaction, just as we enjoy seeing the loser climb to the top. The Tao Te Ching says it like this:

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.
What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
you position is shaky. (Poem 13)

If we pay attention to our normal lives, we will find a curious pattern emerging. We enter into a crisis of some sort – something is threatened or taken away - a job, a precious relationship, health, or finances. We fall apart to some extent, worry, fear, obsess, cry, pray and focus our attention on the crisis. There is always a conscious or unconscious assumption in the midst of such times, “when this is resolved, I will finally be happy!” We really believe it. When this failure is resolved and ends successfully or just runs out of gas, we sense that life will finally be alright. Well, the crisis is resolved, in a hour or a decade, and there is a sigh of relief, serenity revives and relaxation reigns. What then happens? We always, either immediately or within a relatively short time, find another crisis, or a crisis finds us. It may be an old secondary crisis that we had shelved, or a new one that comes up. But another always arrives. Yes, there may be periods of absolute or relative calm - when life, love and circumstances are heavenly. All is well, God is good, and it is as it ought to be. Then....the next crisis. Until we see that these two poles are normal, necessary and endemic to the soul-making regimen, we will labor under the delusion that SOMEDAY, I will be crisis free! Wholeness will always be followed by fragmentation, and fragmentation by wholeness.


So does this mean we can have no lasting peace of mind? That depends on how we define peace. If by peace we mean no more crises, no, there will be no peace. But if by peace we mean that we can gradually learn that positive and negative events work in tandem to make souls, it is possible to experience joy and peace in any situation. But it is not easy. It will likely take years, if not lifetimes. Jesus encouraged his followers, people just like you and me, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Notice, you will have trouble in this world, but take heart. Jesus does not sugar coat it or hint that it can be learned at a seminar or by watching Oprah. He had given up all of his possessions, prayed for his enemies, loved his friends who betrayed and denied him, and forgave those who tortured and crucified his body. If you think it is easy to achieve such peace, please, by all means do it easily! But pay attention to how you react when the next crisis, or success, arises and what follows. Be encouraged, it is possible - but be realistic, it may take a while.

The Tao Te Ching verse I just quoted ends like this:

When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance. (Poem 13)

In other words, one foot on the positive pole, the other on the negative pole; one foot resting in success, the other in failure. One foot recognizing that we are on this planet to experience wholeness, the other foot recognizing that we are here to experience fragmentation. Typically, we will find people, and be people, who stand with one foot on the ground. We will tend to view life as completely positive, or negative; we call these people optimists or pessimists - both are immersed in delusional thinking. The balanced person learns through trial and error, successes and failures, insanities and integrations, that life is an eternal interplay of dualities on the stage of the human body. The aim is to make souls, and teach us to live in the flesh as it is assailed and decays. Another section of the Tao Te Ching says it like this:

As it acts in the world, the Tao
is like the bending of a bow.
The top is bent downward;
the bottom is bent up.
It adjusts excess and deficiency
so that there is perfect balance.
It takes from what is too much
and gives to what isn't enough. (Poem 77)