Strikes keep on going on in France. And we all keep on going on with daily life, too, amid the strikes and protests and governmental scolds and babble.
Saturday was another national strike day. Arriving at the Opéra Bastille in the driving night rain, we learn that, because of a strike by some personnel, the opera (Les Noces de Figaro) will keep on going on tonight but without stage sets and with only basic lighting. We are told the performers will be in costume, however, and the orchestra will be in the pit.
There’s much grumbling in the crowd, some hesitate about staying, or trading tickets for another night, or seeking reimbursement… We stay and take our seats, which aren’t great: The place was sold out and we were lucky to get these at a reasonable price. But as the doors close, we are free to take seats left empty by the absence of more discriminating opera-goers. Suddenly we have great seats, 20 rows up from the stage smack in the middle.
The lights go out, and then the orchestra lifts those first delicious notes of Mozart’s exquisite overture. From then on, the delight is complete, immense, boundless, luminous and dark. At intermission, in the ladies room, my face in the mirror is flushed red, my eyes are brilliant. I’m soaring.
Stage sets? Elaborate lighting? A curtain to open and close? Entirely superfluous! What fills our hearts, what moves us to the depths of being, the timeless essence of Mozart, is the music. No decorations necessary.
As it is with the essence of Zen, which is not found in the accoutrements and trappings of « religion » but in the heart of our being, simply, truly, naked here and now, intimate with immensity.