Posted on 07/13/20 by in City Silence
by: Rudy Siegel
“Stop the world, I want to get off!”
In these days of COVID-19 and widespread public unrest, who doesn’t long for the elusive epiphany of Littlechap in Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s enduring musical.
In his dying, Littlechap watches his daughter give birth to the son he never had; a new life full of possibility. In his dying he sees the boundless potential of his own grandson, the legacy of his own having been. As Littlechap, in his eschatological moment, perhaps we are subliminally miming the death of our own social systems and historic assumptions that just don’t seem to work.
So, if one had the luxury of Littlechap’s metaphorical rebirth, the chance to wipe the slate clean, where would one start? Perhaps as Lewis Carroll suggested in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” “Begin at the beginning..."
In our daily waking, we face such a beginning, a rebirth in our waking self. Each day is full of possibility—and choices. As the old saw goes, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Perhaps a fundamental choice in these crazy days is between separation or collaboration. Do we really want chaos? Who is served by chaos? Who doesn’t prefer civility? Chaos yields dread, civility breeds peace.
In mindful waking, I begin with my breath. I begin with my hydration. I begin with my first repast of the day. These are our literal shared human contingencies to be, to live, described by the rule of fours: I can live four minutes without breath; I can live four days without drink; I can live four weeks without sustenance.
The rule of fours describes our vertical contingency—that which sustains us moment to moment. But there is also a horizontal contingency—that which enabled us to be at all. There is a prime contingency that enabled our becoming. Each of us is the glimmer in Littelchap’s eye, the progeny of prior generations in seemly endless progression.
In our own beginning, we eventually wonder about ultimate beginnings, the inciting incident in our story of becoming.
In Carl Sagan’s cosmic musing, “A Pale Blue Dot,” we find our own Earth “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” In his timeless musing Sagan challenges the importance of our divisive religions, our nations, our seeming personal and social self-importance against this vast cosmic backdrop.
Is it this self-importance that divides us? Aren’t we all passengers on this “mote of dust”? Do we not all participate on this grand cosmic stage—together?
In my daily waking, I breathe the same air as you. We drink shared water. We enjoy a repast that carries the energy of our one Sun.
Over the last few years I have spent many mindful moments on the idea of the Eternal. These musings tell me that I am not self-sufficient. I eat, I drink, I breathe. I am born of unseen generations. I walk a contingency, a continuum, a path back to Source, like walking a brook upstream to its beginning.
Source is not capitalized here out of religious piety, but out of recognition of its primacy in my very act of being—that I am; that there is anything at all.
Yet there is. Yet I am.
In this primal act of being, how should I be—in separation or in collaboration? This is a daily discernment, the seed of an ethos that works. It is a personal authority, as I am the author of my own acts. All of us carry this opportunity, this responsibility, to be and to become--rather than be and destroy.
Perhaps the answer is in the stars. As Sagan also famously said, we are all made of star stuff. The dust of a nebula from prior stars coalesced into a new star, our Sun, and this pale blue dot that happily orbits in a gracious habitable zone, a rare cosmic luxury that is the Divine Feminine in our story of becoming.
To borrow from ancient imagery, this Feminine Shakti dances around the abundance of this glowing Masculine Shiva, giving the paternal energy of life to the maternal substance of this great, good Earth. There is a trinity of Source, substance and energy that yields our being and our becoming.
There is a cosmic divinity in this knowing, the infinite becoming from an eternal Source. We should sit mindfully with this knowing, a literal parchment for a new commandment that flows form a shared divinity. It is a shared divinity from unique expressions of Source. We act individually while being mindful of our unity, our potential—our need—for collaboration.
Here, sage words from a contemporary seer: “If you can understand that the Divine as you in its expression is what transforms your world, you will stop waiting for a savior to show up in a cloud and do it for you.” ~The Guides of Paul Selig, “Beyond the Known: Realization”