28 Feb FLUX.
My hands come together and ground me; the hands together fuse the sky and the sea, calm and ferocious, chaotic and serene.
A blend of masculine and feminine, dark and light, sky and sea and earth and fire, dancing within our cells. The hands together unify. Congruent energy flows throughout one’s arms and legs and eyes and into the world.
The hands come together before a meal and hover above the table, graciously accepting the food before it’s eaten. They grab hold of the wheel, the pen, the tool, the brush — the hands of another human being.
They open a book and turn the page before the final cover closes.
Adorned in gold, amethyst, and topaz, then naked in nothing at all, they lift the binding of another story, where the words imprinted are imbibed and infuse with the desires of the soul, for anything you long to be dwells within those pages.
The hands are scratched and burnt; they heal the self and those who need it. They make peace and they fight and forget when they have fumbled. Take your hand and feel your heart, for its beating is music; its radiance is the fire to warm you on the coldest nights.
The fire’s ever-changing, a stationary sway of chaos.
But when you look into the flame, it’s not just burning colors. What dances is a story, the times that you have hurt, the moments when you cried, the richness of the past, glowing in the swaying flame.
Because you feel it now, you’ve changed, and that’s to be embraced.
We as individuals are a continual process. The earth is in a state of constant flux. The meaning derived from every moment, every experience — even from the ones we think we know so well — shift — grow.
Nothing is fixed.
Perhaps that means nothing more than acknowledging how interesting life can be.
No man steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.
Heraclitus was a native of Ephesus, a city that was then part of the Persian Empire, modern Turkey. He posited the idea that all of life comes from fire.
The Pre-Socratic philosophers questioned the initial — the essential — substance of the universe. Thales believed the source of life was water, and Anaximenes believed it was air. From the elements, everything flows.
The Pre-Socratic philosophers were those who came before Socrates, the famous Greek who lived in the 5th-century BC and is recognized for his persistent questioning. He wrote nothing, and all that we tell of what he said comes from Plato’s writings — Plato was his pupil.
According to the University of Toronto professor John Vervaeke, Plato was a wrestler and was given the nickname of Plato, meaning ‘broad,’ perhaps because of his stature or the breadth of his eloquence.
Imagine not just the ideas which we associate with these mountainous minds — imagine being in the same room as Plato. Imagine getting into a passionate debate by the edge of the glistening Aegean Sea with Socrates.
What could it have been like?
History, philosophy, studying the past — what makes it so interesting to me is that in one way or another, a man named Socrates walked around the docks of Athens — Plato and Aristotle conversed in the dirt beneath a tree in the sweltering heat; they laughed and shared ideas between the white columns of Plato’s Academy.
These ideas laid the foundation of Western thought. However, the concept of impermanence pertains to Eastern tradition as well. The 20th-century psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm writes in his classic To Have or To Be:
Living structures can be, only if they become. They can exist, only if they change. Change and growth are inherent qualities of the life process. Heraclitus' radical concept of life as a process and not as a substance is paralleled in the eastern world by the philosophy of the Buddha. There is no room in Buddha's thought for the concept of any enduring permanent substance. Neither things nor the self. Nothing is real but processes.
Hundreds of times, I’ve watched the sunlight slowly turn the morning sky from black to blue as it transitions to dawn.
It feels like any other day — but I am not the same man; a day older perhaps, and I carry yesterday’s decisions on my back, and I look to the future as a strange dream, where I hope to one day wake.
Yet we’ll always only be in our present state. So why think about the future?
It rained hard in the middle of the night. I couldn’t sleep, as much as I tried. As I listened to the pouring rain, I couldn’t help but lie there smiling in bed. I thought of time and this story as I listened to the falling water.
The sound, each individual drop which rattled in the gutter and pattered on the roof, told me time is passing. You can just listen to that for ever — the world’s turning, the clouds moving, the darkness lifting, the earth growing.
There’s something to be said about truly seeing this as worth it.
Meaning & Perception
Who knows what this is? An inter-dimensional enigma. And we’re thrown into it, not of our doing.
The late-19th-early 20th century German philosopher Martin Heidegger called this thrownness, being arbitrarily thrown into the here and now, not a hundred years ago or a million, not in the future — but here, now, in this body and soul, at this particular season of the earth’s floating in space.
So the excavation begins, as we ourselves are the mystery waiting to be solved. It’s okay to be imperfect, human, nuanced like Heraclitus’ river, which never flows in perfect serenity.
I don’t think perfection’s what we really want. Or maybe that’s what I tell myself because it just doesn’t seem… possible? While retaining a sense of joy for this experience.
Perfection is a fixed point, unsurpassable, immutable. I’d rather live the rugged journey.
This journey, this process, has brought us from fish to mammals, according to evolutionary biologists and inspiring power couple Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, in their recent book, A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century:
When bone, a molecular relative of teeth, showed up as internal skeletal material, rather than as armor, replacing the cartilage that came before it, we became Osteichthyes - bony fishes. We are also, still and forever, eukaryotes, animals, vertebrates, craniates. Group membership never disappears, but an organism will try to pass as something it's not, if enough of its traits transform. We are nucleate, heterotrophic, vertebral, brainy, bony fish. We are fish.
We are fish, looking into each other’s eyes. We see a fire raging, a soul seeking, an imperfectly beautiful, eternally changing human fish.
Although now our fins are disguised as hands which cash a check.
Don’t turn back now, you’ve made it.
You’ve touched the golden light which falls behind the purple clouds. You’ve seen the way the colors shimmer, draped across the shore.
We exist in becoming — the world transitions from day to dusk, from dusk to night, from night to dawn and dawn to day.
It’s a constant movement forward, and sometimes we forget how to just appreciate the world’s becoming. The changing seasons. Our seasons change too.
But the world still feels the same, because the books haven’t moved from the shelf and the room’s the same, and the reflection in the mirror stares back and studies, looking for the day from dawn, the dusk from day, although we haven’t moved, haven’t pushed against the walls of our soul, haven’t stepped down the stairwell of our heart, haven’t looked into the sky of our perception.
The grass grows green and the waves break and roll to the shore.
Man, it feels good to just roll with them and cherish life for what it is. A rolling rock, a crashing wave, the lightning in the sky. But we’re human, and it hurts to break.
On my walk back home from the beach, the shadow projects on the hill from the light of the oncoming car.
The daylight shifts, and the world becomes shadows. Imagine a world without the light. No orange lamps to illuminate the road; the empty road. Only the light of the moon, with beasts and people, like us, crawling through the hills, thousands, millions of years ago.
The mind, especially, is constantly moving.
The mind moves with one’s attention. The breath is never the same breath, not with the same air rolling through it. But it’s something to return to, a sort of home for the wandering mind.
It’s nice to sit in the quiet.
The silence changes when you listen to the sounds. The gurgling of bubbles in the pot of boiling water pop and let out steam. It rises and warms the room.
The lights come on and flicker in the sky. Morning comes. We’re alive.