Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Riding the Big Dipper - for Teresa

It seems as if we can’t have it both ways. If there’s such a thing as the present, it has to be all there is. If there really is a Now, then how can there be anything else? On the other hand, obviously Now doesn’t really exist, because in the micro-second it takes to say or think ‘now’ it’s become the past.

The Big Dipper has been called ‘the Wagon’, and of course, ‘the Chariot’. When an enslaved people sang ‘Swing low, sweet Chariot’ they were saying, among other things, follow the Big Dipper. It will take you to freedom. The Big Dipper rotates around the North Star, which never moves. The Chariot is always arcing across the heavens, but it takes us to the fixed point, the one thing that never moves.

I think that’s one secret of the Chariot. It’s about apparent motion, apparent stillness. You can’t have them both.

Another lies with the two Sphinxes drawing the Chariot. One is dark, one light. Always we are drawn by both – you can’t have one without the other. The rider in the Chariot stays still, the Chariot moves, drawn by the forces of duality – the rider doesn’t need to participate in duality to travel – he just stands still. Also, in ancient tradition, the Sphinxes are the eaters of sin, the scapegoats. They will carry the guilt. The Chariot reminds us that we are riding, not driving. So the Chariot carries the mystery of free will along with it.

The Sphinxes do it for love, and because they are bound to it. There’s maybe only one response to this: “Okay. I love you. Okay.” Either in the eternal Now or in the uncatchable tornado of time, either way, we are borne by the Chariot.

I find it hard to stay in either one very long. The Now can get very painful – it’s hard for me to surrender to it – my a priori assumption is that nothing very good can be happening, so let’s get the heck out of here. And the other way makes us so fragile. I used to love a song by Country Joe and the Fish. They were quoting a poem by a little girl. “The stars are so big and the earth is so small. Stay as you are.”

Finally the place I come to in this is that it doesn’t make much difference what I think it all is. It all is itself. Time is a human invention. The universe is exploding in an absol

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