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.