Wednesday, October 18, 2006
We are often urged to “be in the here and now”, a phrase so easy to remember that it becomes a mantra with no clear meaning. That doesn’t stop me arguing with it, for I argue with everything. I often argue with myself---and lose. So I say, “What’s wrong with reliving the past? What’s wrong with imagining the future? What’s wrong with trying to blot out the present? What’s wrong with doing whatever I happen to do?”
I suppose I trust Nature, and feel gratitude for whatever is. I don’t believe in digging up seeds to see if they are growing yet, and I’m reluctant to pull out weeds till I am sure what they are.
I don’t have advice for anyone else, or even myself. All of us, out of the ocean of ideas, words, vibrations, smiles and frowns, intuitively pick that which influences us.
Half-waking in the night, I received a phrase as if it were whispered in my ear by an angel: “How to be New”. Why am I so ready to change? My nature is to be conservative: to look to the past, to revere the ancestors, to hate it when a building is pulled down or a road widened. I’m a hollow container, echoing with memories. I desire to smell all the remembered aromas of childhood, for I glory in being a human animal.
It’s the past that makes me ready to be new, just as the tree’s fruiting depends on its slow maturing over earlier seasons. Nature recycles its dead tissues. I don’t forget the past, but in old memories I come to new conclusions.
I don’t want to follow traditions, but to understand how they have arisen, like an ethnologist: appreciating, feeling what it would be like to be John Bunyan in his prison cell, or a tribesman with body paint. What if I were that ancient man I walked past today, inching painfully, leaning on his stick, destined to die far from the continent on which he was born? In suffering, pretensions are stripped away, but in glory and plenty, they multiply. Is that true? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. What we need to know, we'll find out.
I’m a cloud, brother to all water.
Posted by Vincent at 4:20 pm