Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh The River

Indiana John
Oh the river she knows your name
From the Brazos to the Wabash to the Seine
No two journeys are ever quite the same
But the river knows your name
Oh the river knows your name 

- J. Hiatt, The River Knows Your Name

* * *

Aurelius tells me of the logos, the life force that animates and is part of all things. This logos also animates the makings of men, guides their actions and when one acts in accord, in concert with the logos then one's life adds to that life force, makes it stronger, more apparent to those who do not act in concert with it. Part spirit, part civics, part faith Aurelius' logos became the animating spark of his life, his actions, his thought.

This idea sidles up to the truths spilled out of the bottom of Dylan Thomas' pen: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower.  And like Thomas I am dumb to tell what use this force will have of me and my common bones, and yet I know such a force drives my green age and now my soon to be wintering brown.

What is this thing known but unprovable? This surity that has no basis other than consciousness, desire and self-knowledge? I don't know how it is for you, but for me I call it The River and for me the analogy extends outward to include the banks, the headwaters, the delta and eventually the sea.

* * *

It is a cruel God that you can pray to that can hear your prayers. Cruel beyond all possible telling. Cruel because the hearing of prayers does not include the answering of them, and if not answered why hear? If yours are answered why not mine? It is a cruel God to conceive of. It galls and turns penitents into slaves.

Joseph Campbell wrote that the gods who are named, who are the source material of our myths are but signs pointing beyond themselves to the God beyond the gods. If you can name it, you ain't got it. You are stuck in the realm of warring religions, of duality - good and evil, and while those myths provide great comfort/understanding/solace to their adherents, they are just one level of the story.

And they are each and all true.

The crisis occurs when one says it is truer than another, when faith becomes politics - and do not think I am referring to macro movements. No, no, no. I am referring always and always to just you and your fucked life.

When you work against yourself, when you become another's functionary, when you become, in Frankl's term, "a plaything of chance" you are fucked. The faith, the sure knowledge of yourself, that exists with or without you, that you are separated from by acting against yourself can be restored, renewed, discovered by entering the stream of your life - by choosing to be who you are in your deep heart's core rather than as others would have you be.

The fucked life is one that never enters the stream, or if it does tries to swim upstream against forces far greater than any one human life. The River, the stream, the logos is the force of all life. You are to decide the shape of your life and then live in accordance with it. It is neither good nor evil, but is. The River is the vehicle for you to use while you live to express that life. When you are gone from our company you will continue to exist in our memories for a while, but of greater import is the fact that your life will have been added to the stream, to the River making it stronger, more apparent to those who do not act in concert with it.

When you get to the Sea you are part of it all.

* * *

Life feasts on life.

And so do you.


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