The Rivers of Lethe (Λήθη)

Truth is not something to find like a treasure in the most distant mountainside. Nor is it something to be found through logical or scientific proof. Truth (αλήθεια – aletheia) is only what must be remembered, that which rises and flows from the darkness of our humanity into the light of our awareness. That is how the truth will set us free.

There are some stories that only the rivers remember. But these are no ordinary surface rivers. These are rivers of the underworld, questionable graces who echo in our blood through all our hearts, ancient terrible songs that we can hear only when we sleep or have a vision in the thinnest part of night, as the earth’s heart beats her subtle drums. It would take the deepest stillness for one to hear them rushing through the day; for during the day we try to be busier than the trees, preoccupied with what we see, our mental games, every question we can chase: whether to buy this or that, whether to forgive this one or not that one, whether to get a new job or go back to the one that’s old. And yet still there are many days when the light shines through our dusty windows, and we remain in place to listen to something bright; and we create the most magnificent poems and songs and laughter, things of wood and clay, things born of our heart no matter how deep or far away, scrumptious feasts, all prepared with a love that always finds its way through the denser parts of earth. These are things that give us hope that there is something worth living for, something valuable in our birth: freedom, joy, mirth.

But still the waters continue their flow, deep below, regardless of our chosen play for the day.

Yes, the rivers still flow through us, and they are no meager rivers, but mighty ones whose tow is more powerful than the tides of the deepest sea. They pull each one of us daily, endlessly like a frightened or angry child that has been forgotten. Each one of us can feel this river through our heart, for it carries the blood of our ancestors and the blood spilled by tyrants; the screams of children and families ripped apart. It carries the cares and the fears, all that has germinated by a love eternally dear, but one that did surface panic by the bloody dove, suspicion and terrified surrender to below from above. We, each of us, still carry those ancient stories of pain within us as we brush our teeth and worry about our jobs; as we lose control of our relationships and fear being alone; as we look at our lives and shutter at the emptiness of our home; for we fear that we are marksmen who ever fail the test. And even where we find our peace, that river rushes through us again, always reminding us that our bliss has an end not later than soon and that life will turn our hopes to rain again, just like the story it is telling us.

Yet while we are young we can resist somewhat and we can ignore, forging ahead, making better than what we feel is down below to dread. Nightmares of drowning are soothed with dreams of flying away.  Illusions keep our feet walking far and astray, though happy in our stride, we are only hiding, weeping on the inside, scrambling for psychology to tell us why we are dying inside. For that is where our apparent strength lies,  in withstanding the brutal flow of the river’s blood arising; but it is a strength that soon will weaken as the body’s heart begins to slow, and as time rolls past our proverbial prime, we will find that we are losing our power over the ancient stories’ flow, for they wish to carry us with them into what they know, their rises and their falls, their philosophies and their destinies are the laws they wish upon us to impose.

Until we finally completely drown, into death we finally fall, into the romance of those ancestors we will fall, doomed to repeat what mother, father, grandfather, grandmother and great-grandparents saw in the stories that only the rivers remember.  And we run the risk, if we do not stop to discern their theatrical songs, their lessons and their rights and wrongs, of allowing them to engulf our children, to pull them into their swift currents, unless we remember to discover, to finally tell them the greatest news, that their stories are now no longer true.

Meditation: Patiently We, Turning, Await

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! Some day I wish to be only a yes-sayer.

The Gay Science, Nietzsche

In the Northern hemisphere, it always begins and ends with the leaves. It always begins with Spring and ends with Autumn. It matters not that in between the Two, they are a triumphant green, for whom the mighty Sun gladly guides along his ways, his eternal turning and returning; their coming to their going; their going to their coming. It matters not that outside the Two, they become into nothing, and that all the World waits patiently beneath the silent cold.

And these perceived beginnings and endings absorb into the wheel circling round, years written to spin upon rims, reminders that what will be has long ago always been, revolving round the sun, careless of the yearly number and the spaces that they’ve won. For on they roll, neither contending with each other, nor fighting inside themselves. They are just as they are, each passing through, whether they are or they are not noticed by I or you.

And so it is a blessing I suppose that we seem to stop Time’s journey with the scent of leaves who linger upon the earth, with the symphonies of red, and orange and yellow matched only by Springtime’s mirth. We translate all into the voice of the Poet or the song of the musical Seer. We remember that great Spectacle, the sight of Autumn scattering upon the ground, a Muse of Art to repeat the Summer’s sweltering crowds, a Passion play to melt all Winter’s frozen sounds.  What we remember makes us feel as if it will live forever. What we remember makes us feel we will live in it forever.

But I have seen Man desire the beginnings and fear the endings, to hope that Summer stays as fixed and frozen as Winter’s dying, and wanting Springtime’s hand to pull Autumn off his grounding.  But I have even more seen Man despise the Seasons as they flow through him and within him. Why can’t I remain the same? Why must I ever be becoming one into another? Why not Line instead of Wheel? Why not forever instead of timely me? Why not keeping this and that, instead of ever letting go? Why do I seem to be nothing, nothing true and chasing rainbows? Thoughts rattling questions like snakes inside a child’s head until they surrender into a pool of suffering and dread.

For in one hand, Man holds Desperation and the other, He holds What Man calls love, but it is a love that grows in the soil of His fear, and so perhaps it should be called just that, only Fear.  For day in and day out, He works until he dies, not with joy, but with the sorrows he conceals with entertainment, petty battles and holy lies.  And He willingly sacrifices all the primal energy of His Seasons, all of what is left of His dance around the Sun; all that is left of Will and Love already won: the birthright to his Bliss he himself, deftly swindled, has forsaken.

But still there is Hope in the songs, the songs that spell away from stinging thoughts to celebrations of His Sun.

Begin in the Northern hemisphere, it always begins and ends with the leaves. It always begins with Spring and ends with Autumn. It matters not that in between the Two, they are a triumphant green, for whom the mighty Sun gladly guides along his ways, his eternal turning and returning; their coming to their going; their going to their coming. It matters not that outside the Two, they become into nothing, and that all the World waits patiently beneath the silent cold. Fearless we await beneath this silent cold to begin and end finally once again.

Sunrise Opening

It’s as if Night showers shame upon her Days;
Just as Sea overruns Her bright and sandy shores
in a panic to silent Her secret songs once more,
so too does Night hold what is precious hidden.

So all is silent over that dark land and darker sea
except the cackling rows of the bickering crows
and wandering whispers of death and disease;
hearts anchored by fear, closed in anger seethe.

Still, at morn, the Sun shines and will shine again
but He begins softly illuminating in cooler colors
lights swirling within the moods of purple showers
a gentle portal for the Heart who wishes to open    

to stretch wide along yellow-tinged edge of Days,
His entire world: the good, the bad, is His music,
Love streaming from the radiance of Who He Is
whom Moon mirrors into a Night more fearless.

You, the Cosmos

You are who you are right here and right now. You are already your own potential. And your potential already exists. It is already present swirling in your flesh, your blood, your bones, your spirit, your stars. It just doesn’t appear that way now. The cosmos is already who you are, but it has not come into awareness yet. You are still squinting your eyes, barely opening them due to the salt that stings. For you are swimming in the primal sea of awareness but you haven’t been able to distinguish it in your mind’s dark lies.  You long to hear the voice of gods or angels to tell you how to be something better. You are imagining that you see land and that you can reach it if you play your cards right. You want to be saved from your situation, for you are lonely and do not know what you are supposed to be without someone telling you the way. You think the way is always away from here. But it is precisely here that is the way: where you exactly are.  No need to run, no need to hide or fight. Just open your eye, the one that feels and sees all. Ignore the stinging salt and soon it will fall away. Get to know your currents and the tides that rise and fall. The sun that bathes you in the day and dives into the water by night; the moon that cradles you in the dark and sleeps when morning gets her start. Get to know your dolphins and your whales, the fish of your ocean. The birds of the air fly above, but the water is where they hunger to be. All your universe gathers here round and in the water for the great feast that is your life, both above it, and below it with you in the center learning, evolving, forever expanding, ever being.

Sea of Awareness

Our awareness is as the sea. It ebbs and it flows. One day you are up, the next you are underwater nearly drowning. There are many creatures of the sea, some that look like you, and some that seem to want to consume you. There are warm currents and cold currents and they intermingle beneath the sun that scatters on the surface. The sea captures the rain from the clouds, returning them to where they began. The sea feeds and the sea destroys. All begins and ends in the sea. All are born and die here.

And there is a deep darkness in the depths of the sea, a place to where we shudder to travel, for it has not greeted our eyes.  We pretend it is not there, that hidden part of the sea, and remain on the top ever carried by the wind and the surface of the water. Always the clingers of the surface, are we. Always diminishing the importance at what below us might be.

But during the reign of the moon when, as the sun sleeps, she lights the way, that which from the bottom will surface to the top, These creatures will surface and you will experience beings that you never knew existed, some frightening, some kind and angelic, some beautiful, other terrible.  All the same, you will witness these if you stay open and vigilant beneath the light of the moon, and when you do, you will experience nothing short of wonder and glory, for all that was previously invisible to you, all that seemed impossible, was always ever here beneath you waiting for your discovery, for you to begin your life anew.

Modern Tree

We are as seeds of the giant trees,
and as time grows, so grow do we,
for we are on our way to ether sky,
growing stronger upwards to high;
yet suddenly we cease that blooming,
but continue expanding only wider.  
Year upon year, adding one more layer;
and within that armor, we grow staunch
more impervious to the windy elements
we become hard and cross, unbending;  
now as home both to eagle and to sparrow,
our first purpose a mere cup for our sorrow.

The Shady Tree (Returning to What Was Left Behind)

Climbed a mountain
then I turned around

Stevie Nicks, from “Landslide”

there were no trees in the playground’s grassy field
there were no friends, not on that day nor any other
I could hear the far laughter of the rest of the children
and distant laughter rings hollow and unsubstantial
like cackling branches as mighty frost breaks them

but there are spaces between the blades of grass
I tell you they are there, for I spent the time to ask;
in between the choking pride of green all around
confident they swarm towards the brightest sounds,
as ants below start praying for moon’s cooler songs

I’d watch the ants go to and fro between what is tall
for there are little highways giving transport to all
but no tree was there to give hope to their despair
hot sun of the day sweltering grass to a yellow sear
laughter still bellowing pain too much to bear.

but there are deeper wounds where Earth is exposed
where I’d plant my seeds for the Shady Tree to grow,
and I watched it there as it made for clear blue sky
while birds – ever unaware – would pass it swiftly by,
the more none paid mind, the deeper sad would sigh

even my tears didn’t give that tree its longed for life
and the taller it became, the more it wanted to die
even sunlight couldn’t rest upon its widest shade
for shadows of imagination are fruitless in the day
tiny teardrops reflecting what was to prayer lost

now it is time to fell that old and bellowing tree,
the one that gave comfort to ants and then to me,
for no one ever lived there, not as far as I could see,
and so perhaps when I remove that great misery
I will find empty space of the life that I’d left there

(In the playgrounds grassy field,
laughter calling me to the distance,
sun lighting the way for ants who are lost,
leading them to the cooling of the moon.)