Some stream-of-consciousness reflections from my journal today:
I looked up at the stars and watched the heavenly dance about me, a slow dance measured in the steady rhythm of the universe. What is up there, out there, down there -- I say "down there" because in a sense, I am up here looking down on other worlds. When I was a boy, I used to get dizzy looking up. Flying and looking down at the ground from tall buildings never bothered me, but looking up at an airplane or a tall skyscraper disoriented me, made me feel woozy and a little nauseated -- do they make groundsick bags? It is because I realize the concept of up and down is an illusion generated by the random direction of gravity, and gravity, being the weakest of the four physical forces, shouldn’t be allowed to dictate as much as it does. Of course, I know gravity has power over me, and for that I am mostly grateful. It would be most uncomfortable to keep floating out of my seat as I try to type or read. Yet, it would be most dangerous if I decided to fly off the top of a tall building hoping to fly over the countryside to explore its beauty. I would die. That’s what gravity would do to me. Gravity is weak, and it has no conciense. (If I am wrong, I apologize to gravity.)
When I was a boy, I used to love climbing into holes in the ground. Nowadays I am claustrophobic, and there is no way I would go into some of the holes or crawl through some of the tiny pipes that I did in those days. I cringe to think about it now, and yet in a way I long to be able to do that again, to do it without fear. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become fearful of being trapped -- of being trapped in the debris of a collapsed building or the crumpled wreckage of an automobile. Perhaps it’s the looming fear of being forever trapped in the grave. And yet, I feel - I believe - there is something more. The grave cannot hold me. "O, death, where is thy sting? Grave, where is thy victory?" Is there existence beyond death, or is it an all-encompassing, eternally peaceful rest trapped in the debris of a dying world - universe? What is existence anyway? Philosophers debate and speculate and argue and become self-assured, but in fact, nobody knows, not even the most brilliant of the philosophers. All of us are doomed to speculate, to believe, and we divide ourselves most hideously and most violently over issues of what will happen after death. The Muslim extremist kills himself and innocent people because of the promise of an afterlife full of sexual bliss. The Christian fundamentalist spends her life in torment with the world because she believes everyone around her is going to hell "without Jesus". There have been times in my life where I was cocksure I knew. Now I’m humbly uncertain, yet eternally hopeful. But I’m still avoiding small spaces.