Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Resistance is Futile: Go with the Flow
You might think you're solid, but you aren't. You, as well as everyone you've ever known, are a bag of water with some mineral structure to keep you from falling face forward into your oatmeal every morning. That mineral structure is a bunch of dots flying around in circles, held together by electricity, magnetism, and gravity. Nothing is solid, not our bodies or the world, and nothing lasts - that's a truth everyone can agree on, from scientists to mystics to philosophers.
Even knowing full well it's an illusion, solidity is still utterly desireable. I think of that scene in The Matrix when Joe Pantoliano eats a juicy steak while ratting out the humans to the machines. He says something like, "I know this steak isn't real ... but I've learned that ignorance is bliss!" In the faux restaurant, a faux musician is playing the harp. It's such a perfect scene.
I get why solidity is appealing. When something is "rock solid" you can depend on it, right? Who doesn't want that? I've been mulling this over endlessly of late, especially wondering about my passionate longing for solidity. Part of my own story is that, as a slow processor of information, I sometimes wish everything would STOP, HOLD STILL - just for a second - so I could come to an understanding about the world. As if that would help! Of course if everything stopped, then I'd be dead, and so would you. I'm so funny.
A happy life includes good work, people to love who love you back, good health, creative expression, learning and fun, as well as the ability to let go when the time is right. That last bit is the hard part for me. I'm thinking today about how being alive on this beautiful planet - in spite of the sturm und drang of it all - is, as the Buddhists say, such a precious existence. Life is transitory, ephemeral, or like the Sufi acupuncturist says: "a leaky boat." And deeply precious. No wonder I hang on so hard sometimes.