It is commonly believed that life is marked out by the passage of time – by the passing of the years. One year to the next. Years that have been decorated and embellished by the happenings of life. Others would contend that life is measured by what has been achieved and accumulated along the way. The monuments built and the accolades received. And these are ways of looking at things and you can’t say that they are exactly wrong. However, from another perspective altogether it might be said that life is not marked out by any of these things at all, but by the splashes of love that have accidentally landed on your coat and the understandings that you have been invited into.
I don’t know much about music. However, I have been told that in classical music each piece must resolve. In the same way, you have to resolve. Until you resolve you will be going here and there. You’ll be scratching your head about things. You’ll be attaching yourself to this idea or that. You’ll be stumbling around knocking things over. You’ll be bumping into things. It’ll be one disaster after another. But don’t worry. Just keep at it. Keep stumbling around. Keep knocking things over. One way or another, if you keep at it, you will resolve. Everything resolves in the end. You will resolve too.
There was once a donkey who had one wish. This wish was to visit the holy city of Rome at least once before he died. Now as it happened, this donkey’s job in life was to pull a little cart carrying American tourists around the holy city. Blindfolded, everyday he would ply the streets of Rome carrying these American tourists to all those famous sites, St. Peters, the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi fountain. After many years, one day there was an accident in the street and the blindfold fell off from his eyes. In front of him he could see St. Peters. “Where am I?” asked the donkey. “Why you are in Rome of course,” replied his master. “Where else would you expect to be?”
A very real question that has concerned thinkers over the ages is, what is the real? As questions go, this is one slippery eel of a question. People have speculated backwards and forwards about this across the centuries. People have even stood on their heads in the expectation that the increased blood flow to the head would bring about an answer to this riddle. Others have gone on crusades about it.
Now personally I have no wish to weigh into this whole argument. Frankly it’s a dangerous topic. However, some fellow whose name escapes me, once said that the real is never other than what it always is irrespective of how it might appear. Now this might be completely off the mark. Who am I to say? But what I can tell you is that as far as slippery eels go, that’s a particularly slippery eel of an answer.
If you go to a shoe shop you will see lots of shoes. Some are finely crafted and well-proportioned whereas others might be a bit more prosaic. There’s actually no limit to the kinds of shoes you might see. Nevertheless you might well take the view that a shoe is a shoe is a shoe. In which case for you one is probably as good as another.
Now when it comes to the question of consciousness one might ask whether consciousness is one uniformity. Whether it is just one shoe. Or whether this shoe can express itself in a multitude of fashions. What if consciousness is much more alive, dynamic and reflexive than you think? What if how it is experienced is actually determined by you? By how you see things. By the limits you impose upon it. By the quality of energy and attention you infuse into it. By how observant you are. By how awake you are. If this is the case doesn’t this change things? Aren’t you going to have to reconsider things?
Some are good with keeping accounts and some are not. Between you and me I’m no good at all with numbers. I find counting things tiresome. When I get past one, I get into trouble. But when it comes to things, I can tell you that things have to balance out. If you look around you will notice this thing of balance. Everything is always in the process of balancing out. Everything is constantly falling in and out of balance. The blue boy on one end of the see-saw goes up and the red boy on the other end goes down. The red boy on the other end goes up and the blue boy goes down. That’s how things work. Everything must balance out you see. That’s how it is. Existence divided by non-existence equals one.
According to those who purport to know, two is the cause of all problems. They say eliminate two and become one. But actually, if you think it through, there is no one without two and there is no two without one. They are like the left and the right arm. You cannot cut off one arm to produce the other. The attempt to manufacture one has been tried by the religionists and the Marxists. Where does it lead? Homogeneity. Homogeneity is the strangulation of the ebullience of life. And the strangulation of life is death. So let me give you two for the price of one. Not one not two.
When it comes to seeing things, it has been said that one eye is pretty much as good as another. And yet everybody sees different things. It is most interesting. Everybody sees something yet some see this and others see that. Some see less and some see more. Whilst one person may only see one thing, another may see ten. In fact, there is probably no limit really to what might be seen by somebody if they are inclined to seeing things. Obviously then it’s not the eyes that determine what is seen. If it were, we’d all see the same thing. And if we all saw the same thing… well can you imagine anything more frightening than that?
Sometimes a thing looks all wrong. Everything is in the wrong place. The arm is where the leg should be. The leg is where the arm should be. The head doesn’t fit properly on the neck. The foot doesn’t connect where it should. The nose is upside down. The ears are back to front. The eyes are inside out. There’s nothing right. Everything about it is wrong. We describe such a thing as a useless thing. But sometimes it turns out that the useless thing can be more useful than the useful thing. In fact, you just never can tell. The more useless the thing, the more useful it might turn out to be.
Some people go around saying that a fish is a horse. Others insist that a horse is a fish. And if somebody disagrees and says that a horse is a horse and a fish is a fish they get upset. They say, “There’s no need to be disagreeable. Can’t you see that a horse is a fish?”
Now if you happen to be one of these people who is confused about whether a horse is a fish or a fish is a horse, there’s only one thing for it. You’re going to have to ask either the fish or the horse. Take it from me, you’d be better off asking the horse.