Wednesday, June 10, 2009


For whatever reason, I had a difficult day on Sunday. You know the kind of day---a day in which "nothing goes right" or a "bad day." A day in which even the most minor experiences seem "off." The funny thing is, Sunday was not a "bad day" in the most objective sense: we picked blueberries, one of my favorite activities, and family was all around me, loving me. No one was doing anything mean; no one fought. But I had such a hard time coping with even the littlest disappointments and stresses (which are not now worth recounting) that I have spent a few days deep in reflection as a result.

I do think that Life brings storms so that we can be on the other side of them and grow as a result.

What if all dissonance that we feel originates purely within ourselves? Sunday night, after a day in which I felt out of accord with the universe as a whole, I began to think that the real arrogance of the human position is to cling to our childlike belief that we have any control at all. Some of you might have talked with me enough to know that I am firmly on the "fate" side of the fate/free will debate. I have spent much time thinking over this position, and like my husband, I know that everything that will happen, has already happened. Still, acknowledging that we live lives of fate and destiny in the larger sense does not mean that I have the strong habit of mind yet cultivated to honor this acknowledgment in my daily routines and adventures. That is to say, it is still my practice to catch myself continuously struggling as if I have free will---and as if everyone else around me does, too.

I try to make it a practice to meditate on the astoundingly large and sublime implications of not having free will. I start with thinking about the illusions of time...and work my way further and further out from there. Every once in awhile, I start to feel the tingle of---well, not even true understanding really, but of the approach of understanding. When I really feel this, every cell in my body and mind wants to laugh, as if the truth of our existence is the essence of mirth.

My grasp on the extent of this mirth is often fleeting, like a second or two...and then I become aware how utterly small my mind is. I am a happy person, but happiness is not the same as the mirth that I think envelops the universe. However, I have felt this feeling enough to know that, if we could really grok the whole universe and how it works and everything and all, that there is only joy and laughter and beauty there.

For the most part, I think events are neutral. We may not totally be able to choose our reactions to events and people, but maybe we can cultivate or hone our interpretations in retrospect. I have been stuck at this idea for days---because it still sounds a little too free willish to me. Even deciding to appreciate all of life that comes involves the act of deciding.

Ha ha, I get stuck on the fate/free will concept so much... I think, perhaps, we lack the words really to discuss us. Our human language continuously underscores our own arrogance. We create words that make us sound all-powerful. Maybe "arrogance" is too strong a term...maybe we are just at the mercy of our own limited perception, and that's all. Yet here we are walking around as if we always were here on this planet, as if we are the best beings here, as if we should get to "decide" what life forms live or die with a reckless self-serving quality....

Well, I will have to post a Part 2 at some point...because Kate woke up and it is time to play!