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Meditation On A Sunday

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Sunday morning is a time of prayer. Even those who are not praying, Which is most of us, feel the quiet lecture of Sunday morning mass in the stillness outside, punctuated with the occasional car, or a tram. It’s different, in this way, from every other morning. And such precious moments of peace are few and far between in the modern human world. Even the birdsong seems subdued. As if Sunday was a holy day for mother nature too. Demeter laying down to rest a little longer on this morning of all mornings, a happy exhaustion settling upon her from caring for her many babes. Who can say? Beyond the bottles of wine of last night, and the solemnity of the runners who go a little later today than usual for no other reason but it being Sunday, it is hard to discern, now, why this day retains its character. Perhaps it is simply thousands of years old now. Since the Hebrews let the Old Testament slip out of Judea.

I wonder what it was like, the first Sunday. How did the man or men, or women being this holy day? Was it with a prayer? A tragedy? Did they decide it on a Monday and carry it through? Or was the natural course of things so strong that when Sunday came around, there seemed nothing left to do but to sleep a little later, and go about whatever seemed holy enough to do. What makes a thing Holy anyway? I certainly don’t know. Who came to Vronsky and told him Anna was dead? The man knew his guilt at least. And how did we go from Karenina to Chernobyl? What cataclysm is this? I cannot see a line between the two. Unless it is the self-concern of men like Vronsky and Karenin. Their inability to sublimate their desires to higher ideals beyond themselves as Levin does. And yet, in the Russia of Chernobyl, Levin and all his peasants, the spiritual core of Russia, is dead.

All gone to the Gulags, or shot.

Perhaps this is why we arrive at Chernobyl. A noble working class, and the aristocrats, selfish and repugnant, replaced by bureaucrats, selfish and repugnant. Replacing one lie, the lie for sophists, for the lie of the communists, but it’s the same lie.

This brings us back to the primal question. Back to our fundamental disposition. This is the eternal mystery, and one which requires a piety beyond what we consider piety and reason beyond reason, and love beyond love. It stems from - is sustained by - an openness to Being. Our responsibility as consciousness is all this truly is. Our responsibility as love. It is our nature. Truly. Yet, so easily forgotten. The more easily forgotten, the greater the suffering of our souls.

Virginia spoke of this when she immortalised the heights to which we can reach through it… Moments of Being, she called them. So many of us chase them. It is easy to believe that they are out there. They are, at once, out there, and in here. Tolstoy himself tried to express this in his character of Levin, and Kitty too. What are their fundamental dispositions? For Kitty, it is to be love. And for Levin, it is to be consciousness. This is why he toils in the field with the scythe. Not to curry favour with his peasants, or to keep an eye on them. But because his orientation towards the moment, and towards a higher good, GOD, leads him to do so. He is seeking not for himself, and not for others, but resting in being to seek the will of God. It is a simple, yet extraordinarily rare thing. As rare now as a Sunday pray. And perhaps as rare again as that rarest of prayers, a hymn.

I have been a lost soul. So lost to myself and my God that the mere memory makes my spine tingle with a kind of nostalgia for that ignorance. For ignorance is bliss, until revelation comes. And when it comes, it comes as the beats and the cataclysm within and without. The lie of our aloneness, and of our personal and ultimate place as the centre of the Universe, is torn down around us. Many go on believing the lie, unto death and disaster. As Karenin shows us, he is unable to sustain his reorientation to being. He becomes instead self-concerned for his status, as a cuckold, as a statesman with appearances to uphold. Thus his heart hardens, and his obsession with chasing the little pleasures and protections of the self continues in the form of a new mistress.

Much of Westen literature is an extension of the bible. That is why we call it Cannon. And that is why we ask of it to speak to the great mystery of being before we will consider it worthy of the name. The Russians are the same as the Canaans. The Egyptians, same as the French. The British the Romans. Wherever we go, the story only goes on, ever deepened by the interweaving. Evermore mysterious by its layering and loss. Just as a certain choice dish becomes ever more enticing, difficult and rapturous the greater the time and complexity of its process. So too, humanity, (and perhaps life’s) endless waltz only deepens the astonishment of those who wake up long enough to see the tide they are in, and to behold the vast immeasurable ocean which it pulls them out toward.

Sin is not a bad deed. A sin is to miss the mark of knowing God within. To misstep away from God. And thus, through knowing, to repent and go towards that Divine impulse, which can only be found within, and then, is to be given up as an offering to the world. As a gift, as a sacrifice.

Yet here I am, an old goat of a kind, harping on after God, when God is to be found in the smallest things and emptiness itself. To know God, one must only be open to the presence of this moment, gratitude and awe being often the best response.

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