Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Gilded Cage of Magical Moments

Time stretches both languorously and lightening fast between that moment and this one. The more time that I feel there between us and our eyes and their first electric meeting, the more I begin to wonder about The Magic that I've spent the last three years steeping That Moment in. I gave the millionth retelling of The Story the other night before a new friend suggested that These Magical Moments could simply exist in their particular time and space without attempts to prolong them. Some story arcs span decades, some only a matter of hours or days, but the length matters little. Strangers can transform our lives in an instant with their love or hate, kindness or courage. Just because a moment doesn't last "forever" doesn't mean that it wasn't magical.

Por ejemplo: At the beginning of summer I took a spectacular, sweet, sweaty trip to New Orleans. One afternoon found me solo adventuring, as I'm apt to do, through the French Quarter on the way to a yoga class. I stopped to admire some street art and was engaged in conversation by a wizened older woman eating ice cream. Set behind her network of yawning wrinkles and weathered skin were eyes of an unfathomable depth and complexity. She ended up being one of the most profound and authentic spiritual teachers I've yet to have, a living sage who blessed me with her clarity of vision and powerful prayer. It was a deeply moving, magical exchange, the ripples of which may still be spreading, but which I will not attempt to retain or extend.

On the other hand, one can try to write forever into the narrative, which we'll call "future building." Even if a moment with someone was magical or cosmic, it doesn't mean that we will be sharing long term destiny with them. I'm not a big proponent of the one night stand, but the usefulness and natural flow of some connections really doesn't extend beyond an evening. However, we interpret The Magic as a lighthouse in the otherwise terrifying and unknown darkness that is the future, and begin building an as-yet-nonexistent reality based on this Feeling which may be meant to expire very soon. There is no way to know what It means in reality without being willing to walk into the darkness and find out as your story unfolds. As scary as that can be, isn't part of the fun of life marveling at this intricate and delicate unfolding, at how many things go right for us every day?

Of course, there is challenge and heartache built into the experience of life. Future building doesn't inoculate us against that, though. If anything, nonacceptance of the transitory and ultimately terminal nature of all things creates more suffering as we cling to our ideal vision. The narrative is ever evolving. You don't know what It is and what It means until you know, and it's okay not to know. It's okay to fumble through the darkness without understanding the nature and scope of the entire arc. You may never understand.

Perhaps through the wisdom of time and space, though, you may begin to see the arc. Perhaps this will calm the nervous bird that wanted so badly to perch forever on the moment that you spent years gilding. Perhaps you will begin to be able to appreciate that that singular moment pales in comparison to the flow of grace and magic that followed. Perhaps you will find that you were right; the moment was magical and important, just not in any of the ways that you could've imagined at the time. Perhaps you will see that today's reality is far better than the previously built future. And maybe, just maybe, you will let the magic moment take its rightful place as something nice that happened one afternoon three years ago that initiated you into a wholly transformative, massively magical adventure.

You will finally understand what It Is and what It Means (for now) and in this knowledge, you will be free.

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