Whatever our troubles, we should be glad to be alive. Even in sorrow, we should rejoice in our capacity to feel that sorrow, for it implies an equal capacity to feel joy.
In the vastness of a universe 14 billion years old and spanning tens of billions of light years in all directions, 96% of which consists of undefined dark matter and dark energy, where only 4% consists of matter as we know it, how fortunate that we are part of that minuscule 4%. And even within that tiny bit, an infinitesimally minuscule part consists of living, thinking, feeling beings like us. To date, as far as we know, we are the only ones here. In the great scheme of things, you and I have won one hell of a lottery.
Still, there are times when solace seems out of reach. I understand that.
Perhaps the solace we seek is right under our noses as we engage in our daily deeds. I often find inspiration from this poem by DH Lawrence that I first encountered in my high school library. It has been my calm, dependable companion through thick and thin:
We are Transmitters
As we live, we are transmitters of life.
And when we fail to transmit life, life fails to flow through us.
That is part of the mystery of sex, it is a flow onwards.
Sexless people transmit nothing.
And if, as we work, we can transmit life into our work,
life, still more life, rushes into us to compensate, to be ready
and we ripple with life through the days.
Even if it is a woman making an apple dumpling, or a man a stool,
if life goes into the pudding, good is the pudding
good is the stool,
content is the woman, with fresh life rippling in to her,
content is the man.
Give, and it shall be given unto you
is still the truth about life.
But giving life is not so easy.
It doesn't mean handing it out to some mean fool, or letting the living dead eat you up.
It means kindling the life-quality where it was not,
even if it's only in the whiteness of a washed pocket-handkerchief.
"as we work, we can transmit life into our work" - I encountered this notion a few years later in Salman Rushdi's "Midnight's Children" where he describes how a woman cooks her frustrations into her food and how the resulting meals are strangely unsatisfying for the diners. The concept was brought home to me soon afterwards when my father died and my mother's cooking, always excellent, suddenly tasted bland even though she used the same ingredients and same methods, the same stove and pots and pans.
Some may seek solace in religion, others in a non-religious spirituality of sorts. However if you find yourself praying just out of reflex and without thinking or feeling the content, then it is time to re-think your spirituality.
If there is a God, and he speaks to us, then surely an omnipotent God would speak directly to each of us and not through a parchment, priest, guru or mullah.
Or consider for a moment that, perhaps, to some people, he speaks through DH Lawrence. Or not. Who knows?
I guess what I’m saying is:
May you have comfort and cheer—however it is that you find it.
A Happy New Year to all my dear friends.