Shunga print by Senju
Oban size 25,4 X 38 cm
Limited edition of 15 copies
The poem on the card reads;
kino ni toki
Translated to english it becomes;
the dawn of New Years Day –
how far off!
The words are written by the Japanese poet Ichiku, and describes to me in a very direct way how all human ideas and concepts are fleeting. At best. As soon as you realize the nature of things and let go of all your delusions, the quicker you can start to live. We all exist within ourselves and are victims of a random chain of thoughts and ideas leading up to this very moment. Very little is really you. Most of what you think is You is really a complex composite of other peoples ideas about you. As you define yourself in life using the mirror image you experience when interacting with other people or simply living within a certain cultural and/or historical context, you probably have spent little time reflecting on what You really think and feel. Basically, most of us are thinking other peoples thoughts that are thinking other peoples thoughts that are thinking other peoples thoughts and so on for an eternity.
This way of experiencing yourself slowly grinds you down and robs you of the opportunity to truly experience intimacy, both with your self and others. We live out our lives full of ideas of what vulnerability, strength, passion or love is but we remain merely ghosts and lost spirits.
A touch on your skin from a another human being is Now. A kiss is an eternity. Standing close together naked is Here. Where words end and just the sound of the wind rustling the leaves on the trees plays inside your head. You really see that person. They see You. Nothing else matters. The realization that dying in this instant would not hurt or be even sad. This is intimacy.
As a man, when you penetrate, have you stopped to feel that you are inside that other person? Your vulnerability next to that persons vulnerability. Think about this. Live in that moment for just a second. It will change you forever. The genitals are not separated from the person. There is no beginning or end of the body. Where does the this part of the body end and that part begin? We have learnt what is what and where in school but if I asked one hundred people not even two would point at the exact same spot. So when you are intimate it is a matter of the Whole. Where does the mind end and the body begin? Where are You inside your body? If you went looking for it you could never find it. We are not those things we learned. We just Are. And we can be that together.
Just as the title of this Shunga print suggests, and just like the poem says, yesterday is dead since eternal time. Tomorrow has not been born yet. There is only Now.
Intimacy is so closely related to the reality of Now. Here. To be close you have to put down all those weapons you use on a daily basis to defend your fragile illusion against even an grain of true reality seeping through. You have to surrender. Stand naked. Let the ideas and feelings of separateness and anger go. If you hate you can not love. If you truly love you cannot hate. It is as simple as that. Why is it then that men are prepared to go to war and kill children for an idea’s sake but shun from expressing their emotions to another man? Hate and violence are not a part of our nature. If anyone tells you so they are afraid to look at the reality of things. These behaviors are learnt. We were taught these things and we teach each other the very same ideas over and over. Since we create our own suffering we can as easily end the very same. It will just take a split second of your time to begin that process.
Shunga is, just like all other forms of pornography, really just a substitution for real emotions. We are searching desperatly for intimacy but settle for lust. By centering the sexual in the genital region and the mechanical satisfaction brought by masturbation or “casual” or “recreational” physical sexual encounters, we conviniently avoid the dangers of real intimacy. Achieving intimacy is of course not an easy thing as most of us know. It requires that you constantly work with your self. Now.