♾️ My life as a plum pudding 🔆
Gratitude for not being dead
The tap of humility opened by Awareness of Acceptance and Sufficiency is one of a set of tools by which to travel and measure and reflect on my life among other lives in a swarm of beings, every one of whom is their own representative of the peace and love of which we are constituent parts, from which we come, and back to which we are all walking or dancing each other home.
I am grateful for the years of my almost daily practise of framing my own existence against the concept of my no longer existing.
I am grateful for the period – almost all my life – when my focus has reverted to the relationship between the transcendent scale of the universe and my small place on Earth in it.
It is this length of time spent reflecting on the scale of infinity compared to my finite world that has clicked into place a realisation.
In my early years, I used the conflict and paradox of questioning my awareness of my living existence by contrast to what that awareness could possibly be “before” I was born and after I cease to be, for the purpose of broadening my experience of mysticism and wonder.
In later years, the idea of me as a dead person would spur me on to live and live well in greater acceptance of the fact of death. And this background meditation on death has brought about a sense of humility and gratitude for every continued moment of life.
Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m very much alive, and that is more often cause for self-coronation and smugness than for humility and gratitude.
Chipper or serene, I will die.
I see I have spent decades bringing my attention to what it is to die, what it means to be me not alive any more. I look at my companion human beings who have noted nothing with measurable precision on the subject of death.
So many abstract feelings, concepts and mysteries affect my life and with my best endeavours none of them stop me from repeatedly running into the brick wall fact of death. Try and try as I might, with all my might, beyond death I cannot reach.
I can think through and use my understanding to breach mystic mysteries and paradoxes of belief and faith.
I can deploy my powers of intuition under guidance of wise healers. Revealed to me are entry portals into the flow of the arrow of time. Where my life past blurs and melts into present moment. There where I assumed contact was futile, I stepped forward to embrace my previous selves for the healing of reconciliation and personal redemption!
I can suspend received belief, accepted standard practices, cast out socially accepted axioms, and I can travel in time, meet and greet my family members past, present, future, converse as I am engaging with you now, with the younger manifestations of myself.
And I can close my eyes, and open the eyes of my eyes, navigate, float at will here and there (without protective gear) to and through any place outside of Earth in Space-time.
By means of all of this, I can arrive in some shape or form to the other side and return bearing new gifts.
Here is where I discover intimations of the supernatural. Here is where floods of infinity and awe comfort and reassure me with adequate helpings of warming endorphines of epiphany and intimations of immortality.
But death, whenever it crops up, is a hard place, a place of no compromise, no colour, which says stentorian, ‘You shall not go past this point’.
Life and death are not hidden from each other. They are not secrets from anyone. Death with life are hand in hand everywhere. Together they are, from our points of reference, everything.
Why should death be more intractable, and so much less accessible to us humans than life?
One way of thinking about all of this is to change the start point, the reference point from which we see one another and the world we live and die in.
Where we are born, interact, live, love and die is face-to-face here on this our lovely planet.
We can think of ourselves as exotic life forms, five-pointed star creatures, air breathers who walk on a planet blanketed by an air layer. We share this same life-sustaining, planet-wide, breathable shell of air with every other breather on this Earth.
This Earth and all its magical magnificent sharing keeps our gaze fixed on each other here ‘down below’.
Dearly beloved Shakespeare says:
“And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself —
Yea, all which it inherit — shall dissolve,
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
This Earth, our only home, is our stage on which we are liable to strut and fret and miss out on opportunities, all in plain view of ourselves and each other. Only let me change my viewing station. Let me seek to comprehend my little life from far above and from far beyond this Pale Blue Dot, this Earth.
We are in truth made of star dust. It is more than a noble concept. That we are made of extinct stars is integral to us, to all living sentient beings. This dust we are made from confirms our diplomatic identity as ordinary members of the citizenry of the universe.
During our span on Earth we are concerned with truths closer to our five senses, closer to our daily lives.
It is easier to be present with breakfast in front of us than to make full frontal contact with the origins of the atomic composition of the molecules which breakfast represents.
We are survivors on this Earth. We individually survive. We strain with our innate instinct for self-preservation, with our desire to propel our genetic image beyond our own generation. We strain against risk of death in every form it takes, medical, malice, self-harm, accident, fire, flood, famine. We help one another survive.
We are bound to Earth as walkers by gravity. Seldom are we inclined to look up. If we see the stars, we will shortly look down to the land at our feet. To keep our balance becomes risky if we walk looking up at the starry night sky.
The objects we see in the sky show us that the objects on our planetary home are outnumbered by orders of magnitude utterly beyond our grasp.
The clue is in that fact the visible stars we see at night with our naked eyes are just a few thousand. Whereas, in stark contrast, our eyes can’t see the billions in our home galaxy, our Milky Way, and the improbably huge numbers in the universe at large.
I was about 12. I read avidly about astronomy. I used to force feed my head with visualisations of infinity – our place in the vast cosmos.
At some point, like many other children, I conjured up a crude vision of the extraordinary inverse proportions of my surroundings on Earth compared to Universal space.
As the years passed, I continued to satisfy by reading my thirst for knowledge of astronomical discoveries, with the widely broadcast research into cosmology, astrophysics and quantum physics.
Cosmology was, and still is my passion. This completely out of this world perspective, together with my almost daily practice of entering into the concept of death, the view of myself not alive, either before or after my lifespan, have become the third party, the confirmatory reference, my rock of rational vision.
These two awarenesses, my death and infinity, still fears, bring security, as well as sanity and comfort when Earthly events fail to calm my pain or to satisfy my curiosity.
I read into this quotation from Teilhard de Chardin that he sees all matter as interconnected and so replete with interdependence as to render fruitless the inspection of dissected portions.
Our Human interactions on planet Earth, however they blossom and flower, are bound by history as well as by gravity on this place where all life as we know it began.
In the history of ideas, we have relatively recently created the tools to study and open up our perspective to view places in time zones we have never inhabited, we hitherto could with difficulty imperfectly imagine.
Today people still argue over notional lines on maps, notional labels handed down from ancestral eras. We many of us give our undeviating agreement about the old ways we are to treat our dearest, or manage our attitudes to our nearest kin.
We do not take into account that those elders of ancient days knew about the microcosm of human existence, and they knew little or nothing of the generations of humankind in relation to the macrocosm.
They had no scale, no time-line by which to compare our collective births, lives and deaths with the birth and death of stars, galaxies and of matter itself.
They had but an inkling of the scale of the growth and development of populations all over the globe. In fact, in the world communities of settled, literate, commercially active populations, it was not possible till recently to even be aware of populations who lived elsewhere, nor could they have knowledge or appreciation of others’ different relationships with their own ecosystems.
We agreed to live by the rules they gathered to themselves from their limited knowledge of the finite resources of this planet and their necessarily restricted understanding of the effects on it of their exploitation of these resources, both human and material.
People invest in fighting and killing with the same ancient tribal fervour. People fight for tribal reasons from the perceptions of one group that prioritises their need for territory and resources over another.
They who fought, those who died, used to die and fight in tragic ignorance of one simple fact.
Every living thing on this Earth is connected to every other life form by intricately and delicately balanced webs of interrelated interconnections.
This widespread and balanced planetary network of cause and effect has had a few thousand million years in which to become established. It is likely that such a type of stasis pre-exist in the universe at large, and it was a natural corollary to the formation of our Sun’s planetary system.
We have recently discovered that our human actions – we peoples of the Anthropocene – are the cause of such network disturbance as to threaten its stability. This is the stability necessary for Human Beings to continue to breathe, drink and sustain ourselves in the same way as we have been since we first struck two flints to make fire.
A very small number of men and women in this modern era – the Anthropocene – have had life-changing impressons of the three-hundred-and-sixty degree beauty of our Blue Planet.
They who have looked down at Earth from Earth orbit come back convinced that our ability to influence our long term fate is through the cross-border agreement and cooperation on the part of all inhabitants bar none.
The understanding of the scale of humanity in the universe is not some sort of amusing curiosity to lock up behind the walls of our museums. It is the stark reality of our common origins.
The early fables, myths and legends humans composed to understand and come to terms with the eternally unanswered questions about life on earth are today fabulous stories.
Yes, there are old ideas which may continue to cling to the newly expanded popularised astronomical imagery. Our place in the universe speaks its own message – oneness – a message so many more people today can find common ground with than in past eras.
I suggest all education, all media in all inhabited places be flooded with the discoveries of modern astronomy with the purpose of bringing humans into awareness of their third physical point of view: human-human-universe.
After I was exposed to the modern grasp of the full scale of the Cosmos, it will forever be entirely possible to reconcile my brief life as integrated into the fabric of the universe.
My friend was anxious to give adequate appropriate answers to her growing child’s ever more direct and specific questions about death, the end of life and the soul. My friend was anxious to give her child as much honest reassurance and wisdom as she feels he is capable of assimilating.
I said, “One thing that he will take from you and keep deep in his heart forever in these conversations are not the words you choose to reply with. What he will take is wordless. It is his perception of the light of joy that shines so bright from inside you, his Mother. It matters little how ‘accurate’ your replies, but how much love you show.”
We all die. We all question death. The way we put the great big questions to ourselves makes them insurmountable, unanswerable.
The big questions become reduced to manageable, comforting, comprehensible proportions when we replace with something far bigger the old, restricted, shrunken image of ourselves as individual units of temporary life, springing from uncountable unknown generations of exactly the same temporary units of living being.
Here is I, there were my parents, and there were my parents’ parents. On and on to a beginning so far back, all I have to keep is the idea of a beginning, and it is as remote from me as can be.
What else is there?
It might have been the sight of the trees growing, maturing, and disappearing in quick-time, fast forwards described dramatically in a scene from HG Wells amazing story, “The Time Machine”, which set me thinking about my own place in the landscape of existence.
The landscape of existence, when viewed from the perspective of a single observer over millions of seasons, becomes a metaphor for a new way of seeing death in terms of life, and life in terms of death.
I exist. Other sentient beings, like me, come and go. Who am I? What is my sentient existence, in an inevitable plurality of beings?
I see the continuum (only apparent to me for the duration of “me”) of the naturally occuring processes which constitute life in organisms great and small.
I see me as having been given/been infused with/been assumed into the life-force at my inception in the same manner as that blade of grass, this elephant, that newborn over there.
The unavoidable facts are that we arrive, we arise, we melt away. This precession of continuity has been the standard continuum of life for as long as organisms have been living. And dying.
These are facts I accept. I accept I am a manifestation of life’s continuum. My justification for writing such stuff as all this is that my acceptance of this concise description of what life and death is “works” for me.
It holds true under close scrutiny by my intuition, if only for the one reason that I no longer am puzzled, or anxious, or carrying the same old unanswerable paradoxes around with me for more than fifty years.
I avoid varnishing my acceptance. As far as it is in my power, I will not ascribe meaning by labels to my condition of being alive, sharing life, while I am alive.
Like so many, I have wondered at my life of consciousness, which seems to be so centralised in me. My consciousness has its own Fool perched on my shoulder. It has an amygdala voice which says in my head, “You’re alive” or, more misleadingly, because it invites a dualistic bifurcated concept, “I’m alive”.
So I kept on fruitlessly asking the big questions about “my” life in me, and how this related, or equated with the life in others, alive now, who used to be alive, or who would at some future time be in life.
Then came the concept of the swarm.
An individual among similar individuals, like a tree, a bird, a human, is no less unique as a singular conscious living entity as the collective life of the sum total of its own kind.
I arose, I flower, I am to melt away.
I have no need whatever for creeping vines of significance, or encrusting jewels of verbal decoration. “I arose, I flower, I am to melt away.”
How did I acquire, how was I given, how was I assumed into the conscious sentience from which I appear to be observing, commenting, influencing the world in which I move?
If I think of putting these questions in front of me, it is to enter pointlessness. It is as if I am disrespecting the very gifts of this life. Wasted time is always regrettable. To imagine swathes of human populations waste time on pointless mental challenges over huge timescales is tragic.
Waste no time asking questions of time.
No question; Answer is before
I accept, with all that I am, all of my gifts, whether they are naturally occurring, or come out of my own striving.
I accept my Acceptance above all.
I value and accept my Acceptance, because this Life, which is superabundance of Joy and Love, has found an acceptance in my identity, and has assumed a proportion of my identity without my volition and with an attachment that never did, nor ever will depend on my acceptance of it.
This life allows me to glimpse with understanding, humility, unending gratitude and awe the common condition of conscious sentience that I share with every particle, subatomic particle and energy wave that ever was, is and will be!
Miraculously, far away from crude casuistry or intense interrogatory, out of non-existence I am born.
Into the selfsame, unanswerable, miraculous non-existence I am to return.
This crucial instant in which the stasis of my sentience pivots, which never begins and never ends, sways and rocks me with tender reasurance, like I’m in a womb, suspended in bliss between my two non-existences.
Virtually undifferentiated and all but indistinguishable from the continuum, except for the mystery of life…
… “I Am Love”
~Love is present E v e r yN o w