Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

Desert at dusk by Lady Caroline Gray Hill 1843-1924

Spring,1855. Andrew Wilson, a young, unemployed journalist, has ventured across the western frontier of British India and begun a meandering exploration of neighbouring Baluchistan. He’s down on his luck, looking for distraction in adventure. There, in the desert, he comes across ruins dating back to the time of Alexander – vast mausoleums, marking the passing of innumerable lives. He’s moved to sit and reflect on this, scribbles some lines in his notebook, speaks wistfully of the vastness of the ages and the obscurity of the individual life, a life of infinite worth to itself but passed entirely unknown and apparently worthless to anyone else now living. Those lines appeared in a magazine in 1857 where, in turn, they gave me pause when I discovered them in dusty archives a hundred and fifty years later.

Think about this for a moment – the act of that young man, sitting down in the dust and the desert hush, being moved to reflect. Who did he imagine he was writing for? He was not well known – certainly no darling of the literati. Indeed, his own failures and obscurity at the time, must have weighed heavily upon him.

Wilson had been studying divinity, thinking to become a  minister like his father, but he’d had a head-on collision with the German Romantic movement, an experience that had rendered him suddenly too much of a mystic for the staid pulpit of the Kirk, and landed him instead in the precarious position of a jobbing hack.

And then there’s me. Where do I fit in the strange equation of time and chance? There’s not much we have in common, Wilson and I, other than the fact we’re both an unlikely pair of mystics. All I can do is reflect upon his thoughts. If I’d been with him that day I would have replied it was the uniqueness of individual experience that makes each life infinitely valuable, not only to itself but to the greater consciousness out of which we’re all briefly incarnated. Yes, those Alexandrian era lives are gone, as Wilson is now, and as I shall be one day, but for a time we each look upon this world and reflect back, if only through our hearts, what we’ve felt about the whole experience of time and form.

We exist far apart in history, Wilson and I, but nowadays disparate souls need not wait upon the ages, nor the printing press to court these serendipitous encounters. We can blog our reflections, and if in doing so one other person  reflects upon what we write we have already entered upon that vast and subtle network of  human thought, pulsating, vibrating, self-reflecting, and ultimately, I’m sure, swelling towards a transcendental awakening in the collective being.

Take heart then, dear  blogger, and believe your persistence, even in the face of your individual obscurity will play its own part in helping sweep aside the sterile structures we see decaying daily all around us, that it will play its part too in building  upon the better reflections of all who have lived, nurturing what is best in human nature, and learning to let go of what is not.

We owe it to those lost Alexandrian era lives, passed entirely unknown in the wilds of Baluchistan. We owe it to every life alive now, reflective of its own experience, and of course we owe it to ourselves.

What say you, Wilson?

Read Full Post »