Thursday, January 9, 2014

Every third thought

I write this two days after hearing that the 22 year old son of old family friends was killed in a car accident Jan 31.

This young man played with my children when they were growing up together in Georgia; his parents were members of our church. Their daughter is my daughter's best high school friend; two brilliant, eccentric, and unique young women, now bound together anew in a trial of sorrow.

The shock of it serves as a reminder of how fragile this existence is; and like Prospero in The Tempest, for me, at this point, every third thought is of the grave. After losing my sister two years ago, the question of death always has legs to run on.

When every third thought is of the grave, the other two thoughts tend to be questions about life.

For as long as we do things believing in them, we remain attracted to the things. But if this changes from within, the action of living is more interesting than life.

We are alive; and this in itself is very curious. Why do we inhabit this thing called consciousness? It becomes a permanent question of its own; and the fascination with the external slowly gives way to a consideration of the inner. This is a sacred action which ought not be disturbed; yet the ego still has the ability to interrupt.

As I grow older I am more sure than ever that we don't know what we are; and the taste of the day to day loses its flavor- the taste, that is, of the ordinary. Only the process remains; and one sees, really, that one doesn't know anything about that. The body, for example, is an extraordinary being which has so many features and manifestations that cannot be understood by the mind; we understand their consequences, but we don't see where they come from. And the emotions arrive without any explanations, either; no one knows why one feels one way at one moment and another way in the next. There is not enough purpose in us; the lack of unity between these parts, which can only be addressed by the entry of feeling, is evident. Yet we stumble through life convinced by it, somehow.

Energies we know little about move within us; we lack respect for that. We lack respect for each other; we lack respect for the planet. Yet in the midst of this admissible unknowning, we presume.

For today, I hope all my readers take the opportunity to deepen their inner wish; to sense the organism and its essential functioning in all its cellular beauty and to fully savor the bittersweetness of this life. To remain uncertain, fluid; to hope that the heart may open, even for a moment, to that greater glory we seek.



So come then,
Let us speak of young men,
Their promise not yet filled,
But only intimated;
Who strike trees in the dark,
And enter it alone-

As we all must. Admit
That we are subjugated
To that stillness, which will take us
As we stand, or sit, or rise
Along this solemn arc
That ever leads towards light.

So what to fear? Departure?
It is ordinary. None escape
The leaving.
Open arms invite the Lord
Better than the eyes
Or a certain sharpness of the mind.

Love cannot be lost.
It finds itself
And never leaves:
The one thing durable.
Trust, and love will be there with it.

For Callum Reid, 1991-2013

note to readers: there's a new post at the microbial octave.

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