Gospel & Universe
"Open Your Heart" 2
This page takes a poetic look at believing in the flow of nature and time, perhaps leading to the Dao, or perhaps reincarnation.
Practical Reasons - Beach Scene 2: - 1: Sand - The Sands of Time - 2: Salt
The practical reasons to believe in Jesus are overwhelming, and the repetition of His Absolute Truths over two thousand years makes these seem far from whimsical. The reasons are time-honoured. They're ancient.
Yet they're not really that time-honoured, not really that ancient. Two thousand years may seem long, but it isn't long in the bigger scope of human history, let alone in the bigger scope of Earth's history. People believed in gods for far longer than they believed in God. And people believed in God far longer than they believed in Jesus. Adding geography to the picture, we see that people in different locations believed in completely different Schemes of Things for thousands of years.
For instance, the idea of karma-samsara (reincarnation) existed before Jesus and is still believed in by as many people who believe that only Jesus can open the Pearly Gates.
Kali-Ma, Brahman, the Dao, they have quite a pedigree.
Beach Scene 2
It's April 2016 and I'm walking along the beach in Stolós, Crete. It's almost dark, and the sands stretch into the sea. The calm sea stretches into a horizon where sea and sky are barely distinguishable.
I think about the enormity of the space around me, and wonder where we fit in this immensity. Or where we go once this fleeting moment on the beach is gone.
I imagine that I'm a grain of sand;
One tiny grain amid the sands of time,
drifting downward toward entropy
through the hour-glass of the moment.
In the moment I walk unsteadily
here on the beach in the encroaching dark
and imagine myself falling
from these seaside stretches of sand
here beneath my feet,
falling through the moment --
the narrow waist of the hour-glass --
back into the sand dunes of greater time,
which are cold and dark beneath the ocean,
or searing hot, high in the desert sun of the Atacama
deep in the Valley of the Moon.
I fall within the confines of a metaphor,
an hour-glass I can hold in my hands
or set on a still table in the wee hours of the morning.
We're part of these vast stretches of time
these beaches and deserts of time
and we're falling through this medium
hour-glass or chronometer of quartz
amethyst and vermarine
themselves but tiny bits of silicon
heated into transparency.
The whole thing seems almost magical:
we see the seaside grains of time falling through the contours of solid rock
that has been changed by us to look like nothing at all.
While glass was a rarity in early China, it's a fitting metaphor for the Dao, which (according to the Dao De Jing) seems like nothing -- clear, empty, invisible -- yet gives shape to everything around it. Glass complements the Daoist metaphors of 1) the uncarved block, out of which any form can be shaped, and 2) water, which makes life possible yet lays no claim to sovereignty. Glass is also like Brahman, which (according to non-dualist Hindus) is the spiritual dimension that resides in the smallest particles, is invisible to the eye, and yet is everywhere. Within us. Around us.
We're the sand that falls through the glass, and the glass itself.
The Sands of Time
The sands of time shift
pushed up and down the strand
sometimes like Sisyphus' boulder up and down
and sometimes like the breath of lovers
in Keats' sonnet: Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
in and out
like the breathing sound of our brief lives
The waves fall rhythmically on the shore
as the tide moves in and out
working its magic on a larger scale
to the dark waters of Earth from the distant moon
We catch, in momentary drift
the music of the spheres
Walking along the beach in Stalós, I imagine that I'm a grain of salt dropped into the distant waves. I imagine that the afterlife could shake me like a grain of salt.
Poor little NaCl. You were so proud of your name, and knowing where you came from, when all of a sudden -- you were eating salty chips and watching the Montreal Canadiens and it was sudden death so the stakes were high -- you were flown head over heels over the goal post and into outer space. They called it a cardiac arrest but you weren't arrested, at least not by the police.
As you flew over the net, you asked yourself, What was the goal, again, exactly? What was the score? You looked at the scoreboard but all you saw was a sky dotted with stars. You looked at the referee and saw black and white lines like on a highway, grey and silver curves, strata of granite and zirconium, silicon and bilactium, jisticulite and col;dindg^gidum. You saw strange fishlike creatures in the layers of what you used to call rock.
You dipped and tumbled along valleys of sediment. Twenty centuries banked on your left. A trillion leagues of salty water were once on your right. The centre plummeted till the notion of co-ordinates, east or west, sat there iconically, like the way Kali used to blink at you, ten lifetimes back.
Planes, viscosity, your self packed into a full metal jacket of dreams. You splintered into a billion parts, then cohered from each of the 780 million local galaxies.
A bit of you came in from each part: eyes that can't yet see, ears that can't yet hear, little toes. You were no longer rotating along multiple planes, but rather you were sitting in a high-chair, your arms lifting a spoon, tasting salt for the first time. Learning to say Ma.
Next: "Open Your Heart" 3