(Art by Jasmin)
When I began this post it was dark and raining outside and you could hear the wind. It was very lovely. I found some really mellow music to listen to. I also came across this piece of artwork that I’ve featured on this post when I was looking for a piece for my previous post.
I wonder if we all seek divinity in our own way. Some more consciously than others and others in denial. Because it’s these moments that strike me as peculiar. A reminder, an echo, that a message can come to you in so many forms. I know there are reasons for this, that you’ve primed yourself to see what you’re looking for. Yet there is something spiritual about this randomness. It is a moot point if I’ve already primed myself to see it… but Jung calls it synchronicity so I’m going to go with that. Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls it probability. I’m in the process of reading Fooled by Randomness. I’m expecting to learn how to plan for randomness and luck. To see it for what it is. So in looking for someone to give me the broad strokes, the title here, Fooled by Randomness, pretty much whispered pick me, pick me!
Continuing on… I once read a really good piece of advice: find mentors in good books.
Often going around in circles, I found this question began to persist: Is my life governed by a higher force?
If I say no, then it isn’t. If I say yes, then it is. I wonder, when I’m 40, if I’ll look back and decide yes, that event shaped the rest of my life. But I had a year to prime for it. Again, from what little I’ve read of Taleb, hindsight is the biggest culprit in believing in more than randomness. But my intuition tells me that Taleb’s work should be great for navigating life and I’ll leave his ideas there whilst I explore the spirituality in the fabric of life.
When I first read Thict Nhat Hanh, I was struck by the way he expressed interconnectedness. In the nature of all things. In the push and pull, in the give and take of life. Cycles. In The Heart of Understanding, I could see this idea unwind beautifully in the presence of invisible strings that connect everything, objects and people to a whole organism. The table my laptop is resting on… a person exists in this world, who cut down the tree that it came from, a person who designed it, a person who moved the materials between cities.
That was the beauty of the sentiment. That the water flowing through the river will flow through you and flow out of you again. It will flow through me and out of me again. That interconnection is a mindfulness for the things we use and consume. If I see them as a random string of events that have no connection to each other, then would I ever pay a thought to the logger who needs to feed his family, or to the designer’s philosophy on tables, or the trucker who’s tired and cannot wait to get home and sleep?
If we pick a role to play and watch ourselves play, do I then have compassion for someone struggling in the role they picked? I must first have compassion for myself when I perceive I am falling short. To follow that idea to its conclusion… is to see myself reflected back in people. There. I finally glimpse this remote idea of oneness. I am surprised by the simplicity of it… Life has layers, some more translucent and others more opaque. Light and dark. Colour and shadow.
I do believe that we have a choice, every single step of the way, and those choices define us when we’re not looking. But I have the luxury of deciding that I will navigate the rest of my life upon the possibility that I am indeed the captain of my ship and sometimes the only way forward is to surrender. A paradoxical choice… perhaps…
For a moment, toy with this idea that we are god playing human, even though rationally, we know we are not god.
I watched an ant once… I danced with it… and made it my subject as I followed its journey across the balcony railing. We danced together and god… all of 1cm long… thought I was god as it journeyed on, aware of my presence. I became aware of my presence. I was not the trees, nor the birds, nor the ant… but nature watching itself play. There was a universal truth behind the illusions. In this life, we are not god. Nor can we have every role we desire. We cannot be our polar opposite. Am I the mother or the child or the woman? Are we playing god? Have I forgotten I came from god? My rational brain urges me to stop here. That to continue is to discard logical structure. Yet there is a fondness for god in me… for a god that is not a three letter word, a man with a beard, cloaked in white. for god to be an idea that we are god.
Every act of creation requires a little of you. How much are you willing to give?
In this context… bringing forth life, is the ultimate act of creation. But I am thinking of the little creations…
when you sail towards these frozen shores… all that was holy in your heart will sink beneath the ice. The new world will hunt you down for the savage you brought on your back. it will eat you up and you will drown on your way to its shore. and when you’re done heaving, you will see you’re not alone in this night. the wings of a moth will flutter through the vastness. god is sometimes nothing but a moth.
I wrote a piece of music titled Frozen Shores (Soundcloud link) last month for my foray into sound design… and that piece of writing came about from it.
There is something powerful in the act of creating. Do not leave it to other people to be creators. Creating weaves storytelling. There is a story at every level. There is something incredibly spiritual about creating… because in the process of it, you’ll leave your usual self behind and potentially discover something new.
Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi calls it flow. But is god not found in these moments?