It can be difficult to accept oneself saying "I don't know". At any age. Especially for me when I was a young man. I'd pretend to have some knowledge of the artist mentioned, the singer's name overheard, the place name on the global map. "Ah, Oman!" I might've wisely acquiesced, knowingly, as if the speaker and I were in an esoteric accord. For I did not then think much of the distinction between knowledge and wisdom. I was not yet in a matured certainty between fact and intuition. And I certainly was then determined to find my wealth in Knowledge, the gleaning thereof, the accretion thereof, the banking and trading and commerce thereof. After all, knowledge was power. And to risk not to be au fait with the pop culture, the literati, the opera goers and the politicians and the intellectual purveyors was to be, well, 'less than'. After all, many a soul has been withered by others in the know.Ha! Even so, just this year I bought a book, ‘Know it All’.
My long-time friend sits on the bench beside me in the autumn sun. Ian wears my old friend Vic Peter's borrowed blue cap. They knew each other way back, in another lifetime, before I met either of them. Vic gave that blue cap to me as he and I set off in our power-chairs for our last vista over Calgary's Glenmore Reservoir, a few months before he died. But now, many years later, it is Ian who sits beside me on a bench overlooking the sun-baked Willow Beach. And much of our conversation is about death and dying, our comfort with its inevitability, and I introduce good old reincarnation too: "Ever been here in lifetimes before?"
"I don't know," Ian responds. "And at my age I'm comfortable with that."
"Yes, neither of us identify with reincarnation; we have no direct and intuitive recall to some other lifetime; we have no certainty of its existence for ourselves; we have no authentic and inviolable connection. Perhaps, like many books by Dolores Cannon suggests, we are survivors of The First Wave! Ha! If true, then alien souls have been sent in three waves to integrate earth-beings with compassion and a caring sense of a need for integration, for those earthlings in the cycles of reincarnation have missed the mark, and without compunction are destined to blow up earth and seriously affect the universe. In fact, as Steven Hawkins has of late said, given our Higgs Bosun experiments with the God Particle we are inevitably about "to destroy the universe!"
Ian smiles, "And how can one say for sure that Dolores Cannon is right? Or for that matter, Hawkins too?"
"I don't know. Ha! And..." I beam at him, "I'm comfortable with that."
Before us here and there on the beach are bikini-bathers, dog-walkers, children building sand-castles. My latest painting, Intercellular Connection, comes to mind. The beach is pock-marked in either direction with a hundred hours of footsteps, cellular and molecular, and the sea glitters away and toward us in a billion little bowls filled with light. Even the distant mountains on the horizon are enmeshed in a fog that re-assimilates their solidity into the landscape. It all is one.
I was waylaid today as I made my way downtown to my Friday reflections perch above the compass in The Bay. Just outside at the entrance lay a near-naked lady in the sunlight on the pavement, as if on a giant's plate with its huge cutlery to either side, related vegetables and sauce strewn about and on her, and a sign saying "Relate to the Plate!"
To be vegetarian or not? To be a tobacco user, or not? To be a democrat or a republican? A conservative or a liberal? A believer or a non? To know or not to know?... But to be comfortable?
We live with a certain passion that combines knowledge and wisdom. For the rest? I don't know, OK?