Saturday, February 18, 2006
The Mirage of Life
It has been much too long. I’ve been tied up in the work-a-day world, something I would rather not consume me. I don’t know what it is about a long plane ride (to Japan), that seems to bring out my other side. Maybe it’s the wine ;-) Maybe it’s the iPod. Or maybe reflection on a movie or two. Just saw a movie entitled “The Emperor’s Club” starring Kevin Kline. A movie about virtue, and about people using less-than-virtue (cheating) to get ahead in the real world. It does a reasonable job explaining the “grey” nature to life. Nothing is black and nothing is white. Be as concerned about the religious right as about the liberal left. It is a rare individual that is not caught up in one agenda or another. Among other points, it shows what can happen when you are caught up in (attached to) the outcome. Better, indeed, to let the chips fall where they may. To act out of conscience, but without need to control the outcome. The cost of not playing the game, and the virtue. Ah yes, life can be complicated. But oh, the indomitable spirit, and faith in our fellow man.
What causes one man to be righteous, and another to seek only gain? What causes one soul to grant forgiveness, while another seeks only retribution? Is it nature or nurture? Or is it a somehow a calling, hearing the whisper of an inner voice. Usually drowned out by the cacophony of the work-a-day world, of the competitive spirit, of the capitalistic media. Have you ever heard that voice? I can assure you it is all but silent in most of us. But somewhere deep inside it is speaking to you – always present. Your job, then, is to listen for it. And once you hear it, to wish to examine it, to understand its source. And for this, you will need a little solitude, a little reflection, a little contemplation, a little introspection, and perhaps a little meditation. I urge you to give yourself that space. To hear that voice, and wonder. In that moment, life is its most beautiful. It lacks judgment. It is rich with meaning, simplicity, and joy.
And I believe there is more. In that space, there is a new flow, a warmly embracing trade wind that calls to you to follow. Steer your ship, and let that breeze set for you a new course. It will take less effort, and it will feel right. There will still be rough seas, but you will fare much better running with the wind and with the current, rather than against it. You will realize that though you might wish to guide the breeze, in fact the breeze guides you. And this recognition, this surrender, is really the secret.
Life is what it is, but you – you have a choice. Do you wish to embrace life as it is, or do you wish to do battle, to try to conquer the forces of nature? One way accepts life in the present moment, while the other tries to build sand castles upon the shore. Once sees black and white, right and wrong, and accepts them all, while the other seeks to impose its righteous cause, for better or worse, and only in the eye of the beholder.
So on this occasion — the return of reflections of beauty — I turn to the mirage that is life. Your goal is to not only be in it, and a part of it, but also to transcend it, like this picture shows. There I am on the beach, but not entirely. I enjoy the moment, but recognize it is only a part of the picture, and as the image implies, the other is rather ethereal. Harder to grasp, but real, actually essential, nonetheless. And can you feel the warm breeze in the picture? Yes, it is blowing, and I am listening. And hearing the rustle of the palms, the breaking surf, and at the same time, the calm, inner voice.
Be there, and not there. And enjoy all that life has to offer.