Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Gelding the Lilly

Sometimes I just feel wonderful. The sun shines on a yard full of flowers and a cool breeze caresses me. Or when I camp in the desert and the sun rises in majestic measured pace repainting every corner of the uncaring vastness with a progression of warming hues...for me alone if you count the audiance. Or I get off the tour bus and walk ant-like for miles along the rim of the Grand Canyon where it stretches the horizon and sparkles under crystal skies and its billion years flood in through my eyes. Or somewhere north of Limekiln on the Cabrillo, I find an isolated beach at the bottom of a precarious climb and sit on the sand with a bit of wine and cheese while surf from some storm I never heard of plangently drums eternity against the cliffs and then the golden disk slips away taking its blue with it, and finally pink and purple embers fade and all that was clear becomes vague shadows. Or, in a flash of recollection, the decades I have focused on this woman, whose hips still call to me, parade from improbable meeting, turn by turn to this moment.

Do I need to know where awe comes from? According to the tour bus guide some dozens of persons per year get off that same bus and "fall" 500 feet down the face of that rim I trod. A few wait for dusk at the beach so they can, without any intention of learning how to swim, wade out into the breakers. What discomfort drives some away from the conclusion that all and any of our reactions to the world well up from within our own minds? We can fool ourselves about our responsibility for our own lives only so long. And while we are fooling ourselves, we are no better off, only out of touch. Gilding the lilly of our good feelings and tarring our bad ones doesn't control either but only puts greater insight out of reach.

If two look on the same scene and one finds awe but the other, terror
Why say the one is a gift from god but the other's a personal error?
What counsels us that we must "know" before we even "see".
Explanation is comfort but acceptance is cure.
All I know about a person who demands to be sure
Is that they never have been and never will be.

2 comments:

coturnix said...

Wow! Nice.

...but, why "gelding"? How did the poor Lilly deserve castration?

GreenSmile said...

Why: a combination of things.
1. I will go to any length for a pun...note blog name and URL were just starting points and its all been down hill since there.
2. The lilly is, somewhat sloppily, my metaphore for the complex of the thing that makes you feel good and the good feeling itself. The power of a good feeling, of your innate capacity to be charmed by some stimulus, is a wonderful aspect of being human even before, and I would say: until, you go down the path of thinking "this feels like a gift" [which it well might if one gets very few gifts] and then "who is it from" [why can't some things just "be" instead of having to "be from" something?] At that point the next thought might be wondering if the gift is deserved.. Why go to such lengths and places? The power of the good feeling is simply a form of heightened awareness, a state of being unusually present and alive. Being grateful without being grateful to somebody is a fine place to be and you can be in that place even after the high of your wonderful moment has passed. Passing judgements on your feelings and forcing them to take their place in a prepackaged scheme of good and bad sources emasculates experience, removes from it the power to move you to that state of gratitude without strings attached.

I have to admit that a throughly worked out devotional practice in which you imagine the good and bad stmuli are part of some commerce of deeds or thoughts between you and a deity might, in the end, have the same benefical effect on your state of happiness and connection to the world. But thats too complicated for me. And I think it likely that I would make some mistake in learning or recconing or carrying out the practice. I do not enjoy the company of a large invisible rabbit, no matter how benign. Those rabbits eat lillies.