Sunday, July 30, 2006

Like water, like fire

I am like water. I flow from here to there, but remain mostly unchanged. I pick up things. I carry my favorite things a long way, my music, my science, my God. They mesh with me, embrace me, stay with me. Heavy things I can drop quickly. They have no handles, just the arbitrary nature of people who insist on having things their way. Let them go.

I am like water. When the way is straight, when it makes sense, I am so agreeable. Some of the things I’ve stored deep inside can bubble away, and I am flat. But when there is an obstacle, I churn and am relentless. Either the object moves, or I find another way. These have been my teachers. Had any of my teachers known a smooth way that went on forever, I would have gone that way and been clueless about the world, but if such a way exists, it has no name. It has features, to be honest, to be open, to be willing, to love those who don’t love me, but only so much. Then it’s time to appreciate those who love me enough to move along with me.

I am like water. I am a few feet across, but there is more to me that is unimaginably vast. Someday the part that is the most like me will evaporate. Anything left will be trash. And I will continue living in a different place, maybe a smaller place if I rain down over the mountains or the desert, maybe a much more collective place if I reach the ocean, as everyone does sometime.

I am like fire. I change those who come close enough, transiently for those who keep a distance, penetratingly for those who come very close. No one has died. I am not that hot. Some have been singed and still resent that my mark is on them. It wasn’t my plan to do that. I didn’t even know I had such heat until people complained of it instead of harnessing it. But I have seen what I can do, and it fuels me. Sometimes I wonder where so much fuel comes from, to be relentless, to continue the next day, even if this day has been long enough already. I know it comes from around me, not within, that I react, not creating anything by myself.

I am like fire. I feed off my surroundings. Yet a time came that I realized that even with nothing feeding me from outside, something fed me from within without consuming me. It wasn’t me. I thought it was at first. I thought I was the one who was so smart as to be able to understand everything and remember everything. I thought I was the one clever enough to find solutions to problems, to get that 98 on the quantum mechanics final, when the median score was 50 and the low score 2. I knew my method – do what I know to do. I didn’t know to say it so simply then, but that’s it. Be the fire. Be the dynamic process that is nothing by itself, but only what it transforms. In the small view, such a process always dies. But in the large view, it lives forever, even churning out universes, yet also heating the smallest places to just the right temperature.

I am like fire. I smolder, even if no one sees it and no one cares. If they only care when I erupt and pay no attention when I smolder, if they don’t feed me and tend to me so that I can be a steady flame, I want to give up, but I can’t, because I am like fire. I will still be smoldering even when I don’t realize it. Then even if I am the only one who can recognize that the flame still burns and that it is and always has been the same flame, at least I know it’s not arbitrary. My fire has burned through to places many people have heard about only as rumors. It’s been busy no matter how different that is from the expectations of others. They’ve ignored their own fire, thinking it destructive or fantasy. I’ve tried to show people, but people are such poor listeners. It takes a bigger fire than me to get their attention.

How can I be this way? How can I be one thing that would quench the other and the other thing that would boil away the first? Maybe that’s why it doesn’t go on forever. It is something dynamic and not sustainable. But it is more than that. I am not a consuming fire or a smothering column of water. I am life, a special type of life that is aware that it is life and all of its features, that has chosen a fluid way, a dynamic way, even though there are still reasons to stay the same in some ways.

I am water. I am fire. I am united with something much bigger than me, and I am contained in my small place at the same time. Science and experience, along with something nameless that bubbles up from within, have let me know all this, also let me know that I follow the way that’s good for me. It wouldn’t be a good way if I were just water or just fire, but I am so much more than both. Those who insist on simple words to see reality, so that they can manage it themselves, are ones eventually to be burned or washed away or both. It’s not as if I ever made a decision to be different than that. I just flowed to a different place, whether as water or as fire I’m not sure. I just did. I am sure that something greater than me moved me there, but exactly where She would have me go next and how is not in me. It will come to me, and I will dress appropriately.

No comments: