"It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubborness of the inorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed." - Albert Einstein

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I aspire to a stubbornly incorrigible nonconformity. The degree to which I have achieved my aspiration I leave in the capable hands of those whose wisdom and humilty exceed my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It Just Is

This morning I posted another story on my other blog, Whispering Circles (http://whisperingcircles.blogspot.com/). It is a favorite story that got me thinking some. It is a folk story about the aging process.

I've been thinking about getting older a lot lately. I am getting older, which frankly I think may be preferable to the alternative. But I'm not sure.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter asked me if I was afraid to die. I know my health issues weigh heavily on her mind and in a strange way it makes me feel good to know she worries about me. I told Becca that I am not afraid of death.

Becca was horrified. "How can you want to die?" I explained that it is not that I want to die. She asked if I was afraid to die and I'm not. Whenever it comes, I will not be afraid to die. She seemed comforted a little bit by this. Not a lot; but a little anyway.

I really am not afraid to die. Apparently, I've been closer to it than not on a couple of occasions, though I don't remember any of them. That must be another survival adaptation; not storing memories of unpleasant things over which we have virtually no control.

Control is an important thing in my life. I have been aware for a long time that I have control issues. I like things to be nice and tidy and put away. I like my tools put away, the hose rolled up when it's not being used; dishes in the sink either washed or put in the dishwasher. I rarely get what I want in regards to control and I have been trying for a number of years to let stuff go. I am getting better, but I'm not really there yet.

When I think about dying now I think of a transition to a different experience. I am not sure what to expect but I do believe that there is something there. I believe that we are all energetic people and that our souls are really concentrations of that energy. I think when we die that soul energy joins the cosmic energy and is recycled into new people.

I am a practicing Buddhist and I have come to a more complete and sophisticated understanding of karma and reincarnation. I think my soul energy idea works for both. Our soul energy attracts other soul energy based on ... well, I haven't worked out all the details. I also think that our soul energy moves progressively from a state of chaos to a state of sublime mindfulness and that this occurs at different rates for different souls but for most over a few lifetimes at least.

That explains my cancer to me as well. I got a cancer that 95% of the people who get is are either heavy smokers or heavy drinkers or both. I was and have never been either. I got someone else's cancer? This was a real cosmic screw up! Or, in a previous life I earned some karma that I am paying off now. In a strange way that also comforts me. I think that I can understand and accept that.

What I don't believe is that there is some omipotent deity who is intimately interested in and tinkers with our day to day lives. The universe is a random place, stuff happens, and a lot of times there is no good reason. I didn't get cancer so that I could learn some important life lesson. No God had a divine plan for me to get a potentially fatal disease so that I could fulfill some divine scheme. I just got cancer. Maybe there was some karma involved.

The other thing that I thought about today is ownership of folk stories. The story I posted on Whispering Circles is a folk story. A woman tells me that she has copyrighted the story and that I cannot tell it without giving her a royalty. I think she is delusional. Folk stories and folklore by definition cannot be owned. And in any case, no one ever tells the same story as some one else.

As soon as I tell a story it is unique to me. If you listen to my story, recite the story word for word, memorize my facial expressions and gestrues and voice inflection; strive to recreate my telling of it; it will still be a story that is unique to you. We shape our folklore; we cannot stop that or prevent it; it is just a fact. Folklore evolves. As do stories.

So, if you ever want to tell one of my stories feel free. Actually, I tend not to call them "my stories" in the first place. The stories belong to the universe; where random stuff happens; like stories get told and retold and evolve and become different and people sometimes get a cancer they don't deserve.

It just is.


Natalie said...

Namaste, Rocci. I love your stories.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying reading your blog and learning more about your background and experiences. I hope to get to know you and your supportive wife even more through Toastmasters.
What you said about "owning" a story is interesting. That woman IS delusional. No one should be able to "own" a story. Hundreds of my stories are now "owned" by various magazines. I have NO rights to them. That's my fault. We needed the money, so I signed the contract. It is frustrating to me, however, because I'd love to share these tales, but I can't.