Let love reign

Please take these words, and cast them across a crimson sky. Let the whole world read what I have been led to see. There is no pain so great, nor fear too deep, that a breath of pure love cannot ease.

Allow love the day to seize. Let love reign, and be free.

I heard a noise and saw an image

The solitary seagull’s single squawk heard through the open bathroom window. I am too far inland for any sea bird to speak through tilted glass. A distorted remembrance of a time yet to come. I see myself there up ahead, as I imagine I was. A strong and confident man. Ten, maybe fifteen years from now. A distorted time vertigo. The boys grown to men in their father’s infancy. They walk through the glow with emotionally solid strides and the tears of joy well in my eyes. He is my son. And he as well. I know them. The familiar stride, the bend and angle of the knee each step, the neck and the arch of the back. Familiarity as shapes transcending all cosmic limits! I knew those forms before I was born, and they stretch to the end of time. Embedded extensions of solid love and responsibility and friendship and meaning and brotherhood and living. Bodies moving smoothly through blinding nebulae of light. Contentment in my heart. After a lifetime and death and the birth of my ancestors and the descendants of those familiar shapes. Not a time, not a place. A momentary truth anchored to a mistake. A single solitary squawk. Out the tilted window. An inland town. Calling me forward and back home.

Blameless organic life

Life is organic; an unfolding web of cause and effect. Free will and the sense of self are illusory, and we all come laden with evolutionary, cultural, and familial baggage. Our neural networks are infinitely nuanced, such that no two people in a population of billions are exactly the same.

Life is staggeringly complex, seemingly irreducible, yet completely free of magic. We are simply blind to most causes. I am who I am, and where I am, right this instant due to an unfolding, organic dance of causal relationships, the majority of which I am ignorant. My ability to learn, to adapt (or not), are threads in the nuanced web of my life. Threads tugged upon, supporting, connecting the baggage of my birth, my personal inheritance and unique development.   

I did not create these threads: they created me.

The same goes for you.

Tell me: where in this picture could we, should we, insert blame?

Why glimpse into the ether? – comment

In response to a recent query. I thought it worth sharing, as it highlights the motivation behind the seemingly tortuous mission to ‘know thyself’.


‘For me, I not only glimpse into the ether, I spend days, months, years, living within and breathing the ether. If by ether you mean the unknown, the fear and anxiety of your life, the world you dare not enter for it might be too terrifying, the truth too exacting. If by ether you mean the abyss. Why do I do this?

The uncovering and understanding of the deepest truths and realities about the cosmos and your place in it, is, I would argue, the source of everything worth holding on to, worth striving for. It is no mistake that one of the strongest and longest-lasting pearls of wisdom is ‘know thyself’. Knowing yourself requires you understand your relationship to reality, as part of who you are (indeed, perhaps all you are) is as a relational entity: you not only draw nourishment from water and molecules in food, warmth from the sun, oxygen from the air, but as an emotional and social creature you are defined by, and in relation to, others. In a very literal way you are the product of a web of causation stretching backwards through time and covering immense space and nodes of influence.

You can be ignorant. You may truly believe falsehoods and build them into your narratives. The universe doesn’t literally demand you know the truth. However, knowledge and wisdom is the source of everything and anything worth tapping into. Why? Because the universe might not literally care, but if you live your life blind to a deeper understanding you will run into problem after problem after problem. Or so my experience has taught me. Problems with relationships. Problems with self-confidence. Problems at work or in society. You will thrash and point the finger everywhere, absolutely everywhere, other than at yourself. But once you wipe that slate clean, be willing to start afresh, be dedicated to writing a new narrative for yourself, one whose plot better reflects the true nature of reality and your place in it, many of your problems will disappear, your confidence will grow, your relationships will strengthen, you will know when to stay or when to move on, you will stop blaming others (and yourself) and accept not only the cards that have been dealt you (I, for example, have serious anxiety issues, ones for which I routinely blamed the universe), but you will also find ways to work on the things that are in your power to change. Nobody can ask anything more of you, and you will find you are actually beginning to live a meaningful life.

And why not simply ignore and bury terrible truths? I say: there is no wisdom in wilful ignorance. In fact, I find the notion a paradox. Once the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, there is no putting it back in. People try! Alcohol, drugs, running away, escape escape escape! But once the cat is out it will always find you. In bed late at night. In those moments of clarity when you look at yourself in the mirror. When you reflect on your life and realize it is dripping away and you have wasted most of it and the blame and pointing finger no longer saves you. When the universe no longer holds you up. And, for many people I imagine, the cat comes back on their deathbeds, stalking like a phantom the recesses of consciousness until the dark shadow fully envelops the mind. Don’t let that happen! Don’t die without ever knowing yourself and truly living!

Once you glimpse into the ether it is already too late! As in the Wizard of Oz, a peek behind the curtain is all that’s needed to shatter the fantasy. But as you peer ever deeper into the ether, you, like Dorothy’s companions, will find your courage, your strength, your wisdom, and, like Dorothy, your life.’

Epitaph

There she lay. Clearly at peace. Unburdened of 93 years of life. A warrior; strong, resolute, stubborn, beautiful. Were those eyes to suddenly open, it wouldn’t have surprised me. Were she to beat death, it would simply draw from me a knowing smile.

In life there are two options: to crawl into the past and die there, or to boldly journey, head high, through the perpetual present.

Nanny: her example transcends her death.