Friday, October 4, 2013

More notes on October 1

Dahlia from the author's garden
Sept. 2013
More notes on my Birthday, 10/1/2013.

I'm down in the marsh in Roslyn Harbor, New York right now. There are a number of egrets, great blue herons, and ospreys at work around me. They're migrating right now, so overall numbers are up.

I was sent into eternity for an extended period of time a number of years ago. Eternity exists in ordinary life; it is not at all what people think it is, and it is not at all like anything one expects. In the end, I could not stay there, because it isn't compatible with a life that has to be lived according to the dictates of today's world.

I bring this up only to point out that there are a range of experiences of time well beyond the ordinary compressions or extensions that result from excitement and boredom. To know eternity is extremely useful from the point of view of the soul; it is relatively useless from the point of view of ordinary being, and even contradictory to the requirements of a job or other temporal responsibilities.

If one is given to understand these things, it's only so that one can carry a practical seed of the question within oneself as one is living in a daily manner.

Things aren't connected at all in the way I think they are.

Sometimes an event takes place that reminds me of things I've forgotten. This afternoon, sitting here at the marsh, I am watching a great blue heron fish. This bird reminds me of how inadequate I am, and how I am unable to undertake the tasks God has given me.

It's really an inner source of shame for me, because no matter how hard I try, and how good I think I am, I am not there. Everything falls short; even the most heroic effort isn't what God wants from me. 

It's not enough. Nothing is ever enough.

That bird there says all of that to me, just standing there with his legs half submerged in the water. He says it with his feathers, and his beak, and the stance he takes. He is whole and complete in the eyes of God; I am not. I'm unable to fulfill the functions that have been asked of me, and I don't know how to fix that.

Perhaps even more disturbing is how little I care about it much of the time. Why don't I feel this more?

When the Sorrow enters, it seems as though every object is a reminder of how small I am, and how great the glory of God is — and how I don't live up to it. Even the green of the grass is a green I don't deserve.

When I walk in the early dawn and I hear the sound of the crickets, I know how perfect they are. They make of me a nothingness. Only that sound is perfect, and only this hearing of it can bring glory to the higher. I'm nothing, in other words, even against the simple chirp of a cricket. It's the song of angels in me, and I don't know how to live up to that.

I've conquered an awful lot of adversities in my life, but it never seems like it's enough. I have fought for what was right — but there is never enough fight in me.


I think I ought to spend much more time in prayer, because I don't know what I'm doing.

2 comments:

  1. I hear you but there is a danger in this sense of inadequacy....contrasted with 'perfect' nature....it's not quite fair....we may be incomplete but we also have tasks that a heron doesn't have and we need strength and hope as much as shame....fear and trembling - at the terror of the situation

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  2. Dear Lee, if for some reason I had forgotten your birthday, let me wish you well in your next year as we rotate on our axis and revolve around the Sun in the enormous volume of our solar system.

    I would like to speak just a little about the Chinese classic, the Dao De Ching. Especially the middle word "De", which means "intrinsic virtue". This is a word which is hardly understood in the West but I can use an example to illustrate it: a chair is imbued with "intrinsic virtue" if when we sit on it it does not collapse into a heap on the floor. A cup or glass has intrinsic virtue by means of its emptiness wherein liquids and other things may be stored.

    It seems that if I broadened my vision to include all life on earth I could reasonably state that "Man" and "Mankind" is the only creature or thing on the Earth which can defy or fail to evidence intrinsic virtue. Only through his own conscious labors can he find his way to his own buried conscience, and only by an act of following the dictates of that conscience can a man ever hope to display "De", or intrinsic virtue.

    Human beings are blessed with enormous resources of receptivity and of action. But it can be said with a reasonable degree of certainty that man either disregards or actively blocks his powers of receptivity in order to concentrate on his organs of action, his arms and hands which grasp, his perverse use of sex which informs almost all of his actions, and his tongue, as extremely well described in the letter of James in section 3, which includes the words: "Among all the parts of the body, the tong is a whole wicked world in itself. It infects the whole body; catching fire itself from hell, it sets fire to the whole wheel of creation. So perhaps I catch a little of what you are saying regarding eternity, which is orthogonal to time, and allows nothing – absolutely nothing to go unnoticed.

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