Jessica Williams, jazz pianist, composer

CURRENTS

Précis on Life, Death, Love, and Time

Currents + | -

 

 

1

A difficult lesson for many: The Universe just IS.

We can rail against it and throw things at it, but the meteor will still fall, the volcano will still erupt, and the living and dying will continue. No one escapes. Illnesses will happen. Accidents will occur. Love will spring forth. Births will be celebrated, deaths will be mourned. Protesting it is futile. Arguing against it is useless. In the end, as at the beginning, this Universe just IS.

Everything comes, goes away, and returns again in its changed form. Those who try to freeze the “happy times” and make them last forever are doomed to experience all that this Universe has to offer, including the suffering. No one escapes. Many may bury their heads in the sand but never seem to understand that the Universe just IS, and this awareness liberates our souls to experience a changing, blazingly vivid landscape of immense possibilities and infinite potentials.

All Beginnings hold the seeds of Endings, and all Endings likewise hold the seeds of Beginnings. This awareness sustains us while we suffer, while we experience joy, while the present moment inevitably blossoms into the next moment. This is life. This is our Universe, a tesserae of enchantment!

From birth, through life, through dying and death, the circularity continues to populate new events, new existences, new surprises. Old forms are cast off as new ones take their place. Nothing of permanence exists in this, our Universe.

The moment one tries to "hold on forever" to a certain feeling, that is the moment that the feeling will begin to disarrange itself. Anytime a person or a group of people proclaim the "immutability of a natural law", that is when that "law" will disorganize itself until it no longer holds any sway over anything or anyone. This will happen anyway, regardless of intentions. The principle of change moves onward from each moment into the next moment until previously recognized forms are no longer recognizable.

Can one depend on nothing? One thing: change. The future will become the past. Sequential time sense is a wisp of smoke in the air . . . past, present, and future are all one thing.

Oh, and incidentally: Historians and archivists interpret the past, hardening it for preservation, attaching their own consensual views and cultural prejudices to each event ever recorded. Thus, they change the future.

 

2

The inquirer asks this: How long is a human really alive? Is it possible to be alive for only an hour out of their whole life? A day? A year? Of course this is possible. Anyone who has known Love knows about this. To know true Love is to risk knowing terrible loss. Loving this deeply welcomes risk, greets loss at the door. Often one may be very lucky and bask in many many years of such joy. Indescribable joy! And yet the Universe is always changing from moment to moment.

Death is a thing unavoidable. No one in history has escaped it.

This article of awareness actually gives life its meaning, actually supports the value we place upon it. To know and accept death fully is to be capable of full, unfettered life. Courage and passion to live life fully has its roots in the firm knowledge of one's inevitable death. That this could be otherwise is unthinkable, yet many cultures exert great effort to avoid any in-depth knowledge of this pure and natural reality . . . reality for all things living, all things existing, all things that have ever lived or existed and for all things that ever will live or exist. It may be stated simply that birth ensures death. It may also be stated that death enables and sustains life. For us, we live and we die, we go forward and go back. And everything eventually ends, to return in its changed form.

 

3

The nature of reality is perhaps not only what we sense, what we see, what we believe. A blind person may develop a view of the world that is strikingly different from that of a sighted person. Standing in the midst of nature, they may see a landscape outlined by the sound of rain falling on the hills and valleys around them. They may hear the tin roof that others "see". During the rainstorm, many features may be disclosed regarding their surroundings—a dog splashing through a puddle, a river cresting, a tree dripping water from its leaves, a person scurrying for cover from the downpour. Is this a false reality? Of course not. There are as many perceived realities as there are living creatures on our planet, as many Universes as there are sensory organs of any type in the entire Universe itself!

An uncountable infinity of realities.

What majesty the world of Nature holds! What amazing gifts it offers us! But if we do not hold ourselves open to its pains and its sufferings, we are unlikely to ever know its joys and its infinitely glorious moments. Our senses are so limited that sometimes we may perceive a thing as its opposite. We may think we are safe from "bad things" by having enormous amounts of money stashed away for emergencies. We may make contingency plans, anti-earthquake plans, anti-typhoon plans, anti-anything-bad plans. Yet all of these plans will go 'poof' and vanish like a vapor when the Universe turns on its inexorable axis and changes the rhythm one has become used to. One less beat, or one more beat, and the whole symphony of "happiness" comes tumbling down. Money becomes useless in the face of such power. This is not the power of human beings. It is the power of change. And it cannot be stopped.

4

In other imaginations
the world is not my own.
Only I can walk this path
that no one else can see.

The cavernous echoes
of other lives within
may clamor for attention
but I pause only briefly
to notice the din.

I will not ask for understanding
for I am not seeking it.
The weather in these climes
suits no one but me.

The brief but violent fall
of a hawk from the sky
swoops low across the sea
and takes its living food
from the reservoir of my life.

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