Friday, November 12, 2010

Spirit (6)

Sea breeze, ocean waters, empty expanse of space.  Eternal horizon, always stretching ahead, unending path, reaching.  You are on a path, with no beginning and no end.  Each part of the path, justification in itself.  No need to look back or too far ahead.  This particular place and time, this infinitely changing bit of sea, this space, this happening, is all that can ever matter.
One sometimes looks ahead and wishes for something that one sees in the future - an end to schooling, a promotion, the purchase of a new home, a change of lifestyle, an end to pain - whatever.  But forming too strong an attachment to that future screens out the fascination of today, blocks out the opportunities that make themselves known daily in our lives.  You're in a hurry for something?  Well, it will come in its own time.  If you try to rush through what is your "here and now," you will miss so much.

There's a kind of wonder when you look at the world.  An awareness that there is so much more than that which is visible on the surface.  Every flower, every bird, every blade of grass has a life of its own.  There are instincts to follow, yet each creature proceeds in its own unique way.  You may say that every bird of a particular species builds a certain kind of nest, and while this is so, there will never be two nests that are exactly alike.  Every leaf is different from every other leaf, though they hang from the same tree.  Each individual life, from the smallest insect, or the most common weed, to the animals of the forest, or man himself - each existence is totally unique from every other one that ever has been or could ever be.
Larger bodies formed from individual existences such as a garden full of flowers or a sky full of stars are in constant flux.  Try to think of something unchanging - a rock garden, for example.  On no two days can it be exactly the same.  A weed has sprouted and, in being pulled, some small stones are shifted.  A spider has spun a web and changed the character of a corner.  A coating of dust or snow reflects light differently.  And even if the rock garden could maintain its exact sameness for two days in a row, it would still be different because you yourself would have changed from one day to the next, and you would therefore be incapable of perceiving the rock garden in exactly the same way.

And if something as stable as a rock garden cannot maintain its sameness, just think then of the liquid sea.  Heaving swells, white-capped waves, currents, tides, storms or calms, the lives and deaths of those "denizens of the deep."  Ah, how easy to see the changing face of an ocean - how obvous you say, compared to the stillness of the rock garden  True, but beyond the change, notice also the continuity of the sea, the sameness, the ability to continue to be its essential self despite the constant change.
(More to follow.)

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