You Are the Fates. You Weave Your Own Destiny.

Winter                                                                        Winter Moon

Yet another caesura, this between Christmas and New Years.  Often a time of let down, regret, self-flagellation as we drive ourselves toward the New Year, whip in hand.  Again the self/no-self conversation comes to mind.  A good while back I used the image of a jockey riding our day-to-day actions, sometimes encouraging, sometimes holding back, sometimes using the quirt.  It’s this image that gives me pause when thinking about the no-self idea.  How can I have the clear sense of a guide, a jockey at work and maintain a notion of the no-self?

That is, if there is some part of me, no matter how small, that moves me to conform my actions to some roughly consistent standards or ideals or conceptions (whatever they are), at least that part has to be continuous.

We must be some combination of the two ideas.  My jockey is not a super-ego, or at least not only a super-ego.  My jockey loves his steed, has an intimate bond with it and wants only the best for it.  This is a relationship of love, not control, so all of the jockey’s urgings aim to enrich the life of the mount.  The bond between jockey and mount, between crudely put, mind and body, requires some ongoing entity whether that entity be a portion of the mind, a certain kind of body/muscle memory, an unconscious or subconscious cluster of hopes and dreams or whatever.

With the idea of a jockey or guide or a host or a friend of my journey there does come the evanescence of day to day experience, that flood of emotion, experience, thought and action we bathe in constantly.  Constantly here means waking and sleeping for our–jockey, guide, host, friend of my journey–never completely walks away from the task.

OK.  Let me shift metaphors here, maybe to a better one, our weaver (our own personal norns or fates) constantly has weft and warp threads in hand, shuttle rattling noisily back and forth across the loom weaving the tapestry that is our life.  Our weaver does not pluck all the threads (experiences, moments, feelings, thoughts, actions) out of our life to make her art.  No, she picks the threads that seem especially significant, or memorable, or important, somehow worthy of affecting the ongoing design.

The design for the tapestry shifts as it is woven, sometimes future threads wind back and alter scenes long wound up and considered done.  But note, and here is the no-self aspect, so many threads get dropped, no longer part of the thickness.  In this dropping of moments and in the selecting of so few moments to include in the tapestry (think of the total giga-peta-terabytes of information packed into anyone’s lifetime) we discard selves by the millions, the billions and the selves (the you interacting with a particular moment) that the weaver keeps are in a sense so random that the linkages seem not to exist at all.  Therefore, no-self.

However, and here is where I end up honoring the idea of the Self, there is the end a tapestry, a tapestry that gives visual shape to the life we have lived.  That tapestry of course is who you are at this moment.  Which will, following out this metaphor, change as your daily experience changes, sometimes, perhaps often at some points, altering understanding and appreciation of the past and thereby changing the design.  The look of the tapestry is never complete, never finished, always liable to change, even drastic change.  But there is still a weaver, a hand with the shuttle, working quickly and surely to see that our tapestry is a rich one.

A New Year is not a new year, of course, but a moment in time, an arbitrary moment when we pause, pay attention to the weaver.  What’s been added recently?  How does the design look?  Am I proud of it?  Could it use some spiffing up?  Perhaps a new image here and there?  OK.  Let’s see how we can create some new threads.

Let me take this idea one huge step further.  Our tapestry gets woven into the ongoing tapestry of our species and will always be a part of this larger work.  The hominid tapestry joins itself to the ape and the primate tapestries which in turn get knitted together with the mammalian.  You can see how this goes.  I’m not proposing a weaver in the sky, not at all, what I am proposing is an ongoing visual image which future conscious beings will be able to see.  They will marvel at it.

And, they will be, just like we are, the universe collected in a particular moment and looking back over the whole and saying, “It is good.”

This entry was posted in Commentary on Religion, Faith and Spirituality, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant.. Bookmark the permalink.

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