HOW DO YOU FIGHT FOR LOVE
By RASHAD CARRE
Published by Rashad Carre through Amazon – Price £7.98
‘How Do You Fight for Love’ by Rashad Carre is titled mysteriously. What does it mean? Is it really an autobiography? It starts as if it is with typical biographical details. On the father’s side, the French ancestors appear in their upper class, moneyed, educated, intellectual, artistic and good lineage with a certain build-up of intolerance towards the next generation. On the author’s mother’s side, life appears more down to earth, relating to simpler ways of existing, with shelter from the difficulties of life, through the inheritance of a small farm.
As the writer moves on from his ancestry, one notices there is not much attachment to life’s events. Rather, if any event is described, it is the result of the drive of his sensitivities and feeling, his desire for truth. His loyalty to his feelings and sense of being is so strong that it seems to me, he follows this trail even if it may mean losing friends and important relationships. It is not hard to believe that what he finds unacceptable in his loved ones, may be a trait within himself.
But the style of the writing is beautiful. Clear. Clean. Concise. Every word held in its place without extravagant self-pity or glibness. Moving along this easy landscape of expression and observation, it seems to me, that Carre’s style reflects the ghost of Marcel Proust, esteemed French writer, whose writing I found very clear and expressive about everything and almost about nothing. That is not to say that Rashad Carre’ s book is about nothing. On the contrary it is about everything. He is an artist, a sculptor and a jewellery designer who trained at the University of Loughborough.
One of five children, Carre was brought up in Jakarta, Indonesia, in the heart of the compound of the Subud founder, who is known in the book as Mr. Sumohadiwidjojo. Rashad’s parents had joined the Subud movement in the 60s and had moved from France during that period, when the Subud compound was first set up. His companions were the children of other Subud expatriates and members living in that compound. He seemed to have had a happy childhood. One of the things his mother noticed about him was that it was always hard to choose presents for Rashad. Unlike other children, he never seemed to want any gifts when he was consulted for birthdays and high days.
So Carre gives priority to his feelings, sensitivities and thoughts which lead to events and actions which is how his life spans out. What seems more normal in today’s world is the reverse strategy, in that people generally spend their lives sorting out the events that unwittingly befall them using their feelings and sensitivities.
There are three main events in this book which steers the writer’s life. Two unsuccessful attempts at taking his life and living with his sexuality, which he resisted until his thirties. There is great pain, honesty and searching for release. Despite entering relationships with relief, he remembered an unexpected experience he had had of what he called BIG LOVE. His first experience of BIG LOVE happened to him, he writes, in a restaurant of a friend. He remembered that he slumped and found he couldn’t move, yet was aware of the scene around him. He recounts in the book, ‘This ‘Love’ was about my own soul opening up to a feeling of love, not a simple love of the heart, but an expansive feeling that stretches through into life itself‘.
‘I can tell you, it is strange to be enveloped in that feeling, because there isn’t any rational direction or meaning to it, and at the same time, it is an amazing reassuring and peaceful space to be in. I realised when I was in that space, my thinking and wishing for things stopped and my awareness was more open and astute….’
Is this the saving grace to the qualms and pain that assault him during his attempts to have a life? Carre says he realised that nothing could come close or challenge BIG LOVE’s strength because it is in everything that exists.
So after all, is it BIG LOVE that he is fighting for—Is this the answer to the book’s title—‘How do you fight for Love’?
In the narrative of finding BIG LOVE, Rashad moves between Indonesia and England and France and Italy – taking in relationships, friendships, film making, jewellery design, sculpture and drawing. He describes the unusual friendship he had with Sir Laurens Van der Post, during Van der Post’s last days, (13 December 1906 – 16 December 1996).
Carre had written to Van der Post through his publisher after reading the book ‘About Blady’ which moved him greatly. He was surprised to receive an invitation from Van der Post whose bio outlines a star-studded career of fame and fortune, a 20th-century South African Afrikaner author, farmer, soldier, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, educator, journalist, humanitarian, philosopher, and explorer. Their friendship flourished unexpectedly. Despite the difference in their age and lifestyles, Rashad was welcomed to the household by both Van der Post and his wife, Ingrid.
Strangely, I did not examine the Table of Contents until after I had read the book! Although the title of each chapter is meant to be a general description of what is to come, it is really encapsulating the way the writer is processing his understanding of himself. So Ghostly Pain, Spiritual Spinning, Seeking Truth and Alignment, Listening to Frequencies, A Pebble in Your Path, Crossing Valleys, and so on until the pieces come together.
This is a wonderful book of introspection and rare truth. A good read, especially for those who no longer follow the principles of religion but are searching for a lifeline to the self.