from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Saturday, 20 August 2011

swimming against the current (or not)

'Someone asked the Dalai Lama what surprised him most. This was his answer: "Man (sic). Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die and then he dies having never really lived..."' (Svitlana Akhalaya)

Tide sliding up; then slowly dropping. Trees on the cusp of turning. The dimpsey – cusp between night and day. Flotilla of duck heading downriver. An egret flaps past silently, then another; heading for the lightning-tree roost. Fadeout. An owl starts up across the creek, in the woods bordering the Dart. We're breathing side by side, sitting outside the pub together.

I'm thinking, as so often, of the need to swim against the current – the tide of received opinion, convention, Establishment values if they don't reflect one's own in order to live a life of meaning and authenticity. It seems particularly prevalent amongst the artistic community as a modus vivendi – new ideas and original creative thinking seem to require this. And to live a life with a spiritual underpinning, whatever that means for each of us, always demands an upstream effort in a materially-oriented culture.

And I recognise in my self a pathological tendency to swim perpetually against the current, like the salmon; exhausting myself. I've written of this before. 

As always (being a Libran), I'm looking for a point of balance.

What I do know is that so much of our suffering is self-inflicted, through our identification with our emotions, and therefore our reactivity; and because of wanting what we can't have  and not wanting what we do have (whether that's a job or relationship or house or status or state of mind...).

This is how we throw away our freedom.

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