I was reading an article in the latest issue of Parabola magazine last night about a woman recovering from cancer treatments who went on a pilgrimage to visit the home of the Brontë sisters in Haworth, Yorkshire, UK. The story of the Brontës is more tragic than hers: the mother and all of the children died before they were 40. The father lived to be 84. (According to the Wikipedia article, the brother, Branwell first painted himself in the picture shown and then removed his likeness so as not to clutter the image. You can still see his shadow. He died suddenly at 31. Was the painting a kind of self-immolation?)
So, here is a woman recovering from cancer, beset with depression, visiting the museum to a tragic family story from which we get such literary masterpieces as Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyrie. The pilgrimage for the author is the same kind of walk through the darkness of depression and out into freedom. It is a journey in which she remembers her Zen training: Do not feed your thoughts, just let them come and go. All is fluidity.
In this time of intense political drama this is good advice. We need not avoid the politics, that would be escape, not serenity. On the other hand, we need not be consumed by it either. It is what it is and it ain’t what it ain’t. We will vote in a few short weeks and there will be political fall-out, and it will affect peoples’ lives, including yours and mine, but these kinds of things come and go. Keep your center, everything else is fluid. Only from that center can true action in the world for justice and peace emerge. All else is beating the wind that will blow it all away in the long run.
Fluidity—the key to solidity.