We must entertain our spirits, including the spirit of pure entertainment.
I received a lesson about this when I was working on my first book on dreaming and shamanism, which was published as Conscious Dreaming. One night I set a serious intention for my dreams, in the following language; "I would like guidance on how to bring the gifts of dreaming to many more people in our society."
I was soon deep in dream land. Though not fully lucid, I remembered my intention, inside the dream, as I looked around a new landscape. I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of people sitting on bleachers, laughing and happy. Lots of families. This seemed very promising, in terms of my hope of finding a way to reach many more people.
Perhaps I would find a guide here. As I tried to get my bearings, I noticed that the crowd was gathered for a three-ring circus, under the big tent. There were circus acts - a walking bear, someone walking a tightrope, clowns and a pretty girl on a trapeze. The figure who drew my attention was an unlikely gymnast, dressed in a loud plaid suit and puffing on a large and stinky cigar. He did impossible stunts, bouncing all the way up to the top of the tent, and down again.
Then he jumped from the ring into the stands and started cuddling and smoothing with attractive women. I found that I knew his name. "Marty." Something told me that Marty was the guide I was looking for.
I was incredulous. This cheap show-off from some oneiric Comedy Central was my guide on bringing dreaming to the people?
Marty gave me a big wink as he squeezed the ladies. Leering around his stogie, he said to me, "It's about entertainment, kid. It's about entertainment."
Marty was right, I realized when I came back from my dream excursion. If we want to reach people, we must entertain in the sense of holding their attention. In its original meaning, an "entertainment" is something that maintains people in a certain frame of mind. Later it is used to mean something you offer to look after your guests. Today, we think of entertainment primarily as amusement, but all the layers of meaning are relevant to the message from Marty.
Our guides appeared dressed for their parts, in the ways that can reach us and hold our
attention. I know that Marty was the right guide for me that night, and I'll hope to keep him entertained in my current and future writing. I don't know whether he works for Thalia, the muse of comedy, but I'll hope to earn her patronage as well. It's a thought worth entertaining.
Thalia, muse of comedy, by Jean-Marc Nattier (1739)