Saturday, May 19, 2007
Revelling and Reckoning
I mean, imagine you have a blank white wall, and there's nothing on it at all, with the exception of a large painting of.... oh I don't know..... a brightly coloured beach ball. Anyone approaching the wall is going to instinctively be drawn to the picture of the ball. You don't need to then paint a whole bunch of arrows that point to the ball. That would be...... redundant.
I can't believe that this world and everything on it is redundant. Can you?
Somewhere in my consciousness I think I've been mulling this one over for quite some time. Not really dedicating myself to the solution of this question, but coming around to fit in a piece from time to time. The way my mother does a puzzle.
One day I felt a piece slip into place, while I was watching Joan of Arcadia. God had appeared to Joan in the form of a little girl, and said "All magnetic fields are the same. All carbon atoms are the same, as are all electrons, protons, and neutrons. It didn't have to be that way, but it makes the universe beautiful. Who would care about the universe being beautiful except for a divine, benevolent entity, such as myself?"
Who indeed? And even then, why? It got me thinking, about creating things that are beautiful, and why anyone does that. I used to create things that were beautiful, but I didn't do it for fame or glory or attention, I did it because I simply couldn't stop myself. That thing, just existing, being beautiful, was enough. It's existence brought me pleasure regardless of who saw it, or recognized my talent, or commented on it's beauty. I required nothing of my creation.
Also, I think that when something is created, be it a planet or a painting or anything else, a part of the creator is poured into it. There is a reflection there of it's source, a piece of the artist is immortalized in that reflection.
Like a child who has her father's eyes.
Then I saw this video and felt something click.
Yes, the world is beautiful, and it seems to me that it was created intentionally to be that way, as were we humans. Perhaps God has poured Himself into this creation, so that His essence is here in everything we do, and as we create our own beautiful things, whatever they may be, we are creating more reflections, like a hall of mirrors, so that the beauty is magnified and cast about, and shared and multiplied. Perhaps the purpose of our lives is to revel in that beauty, to embrace full every aspect of our lives, to experience every moment in the purest way possible.
I had noticed in my religious explorations that many religions have ideas on the avoidance and explanation of pain and suffering, but something always irked me about it. I have seen tremendous good come of suffering, I have felt pain and suffering teach me and change me into a better person. I think that avoiding pain is not the goal. Happiness is not the goal. It's consciousness.... presence.
Perhaps the whole point is revelling in this beautiful world, and when suffering, to embrace the lessons that it brings. Perhaps the attempt to avoid suffering only creates more suffering. Perhaps pure experience is the daily challenge.
This brings me to my father, who has understandably been on my mind as of late. He is a man adept at the avoidance of suffering, and skilled at self sabotage. I think it would be safe to say that his current predicament is the result of a long domino effect, the dominos being his choices. To the casual observer, his decisions might seem rash, stupid, ill advised and even (gasp) illogical, but recent circumstances have brought be to realize something.... his choices have been disturbingly calculated. He has a destination in his subconscious mind, and without realizing it, he is taking himself exactly where he believes he belongs.....
Soon I will receive a phone call telling me that my dad is implying that he is suicidal. He will not be suicidal because he wants to die, but because he does not want to live with the consequences of his actions. He will not kill himself because deep down he wants to be punished for all the things he's done, and he doesn't have the courage to release himself. This cycle has been going on for 51 years, and I can tell you why: Avoidance.
At some point, my father was hurting, and instead of dealing his pain, learning from it, overcoming it, he suppressed it, ran away, pretended it wasn't there. So the pain came back, with a different face but all the same old tricks, and once again he ran away. Around and around we go. 51 years, attempting to revel in the beauty but refusing to reckon with the pain.
My dad doesn't see that you can't have one without the other. They are two sides to the coin, the yin and yang, if you will. Without this balance we would be shallow, spoiled, fat upper middle class north american brats..... those irritating kids you swear you'll never raise. Without discipline and limitations and hard lessons we are foolish and soft and weak.
The real tragedy of my father is not that he has wasted so many years with running and hiding and hurting himself, or that he's so miserable and his children have the challenge of reckoning with (or running from) his stupid choices. Or that at the age of 51 he's lost his livelihood, and possibly family (again) all because he couldn't deal with the possibility of happiness.
The tragedy is that he's a broken mirror. A creation with a shattered and distorted reflection. He was created to revel in the beauty of his environment, but instead he burns bridges and breaks windows and creates for himself an environment more to his taste, something that someone somewhere somehow convinced him was the thing he deserved, the thing that he couldn't avoid.
My dad says he doesn't believe in hell. I think he's telling the truth. I think that's why he's working so hard at it here. That's his tragedy.
I do have my father's eyes. But I see something very different.