I don’t get out of the house as much as I could (should?). I work from home doing coaching, sales, blogging, marketing, writing, and being told what to do by my wife (I love you, Caroline), and chasing Solomon around…. but that’s not work.
So I woke up this morning and did my morning reading and quiet contemplation. The morning light poured in to my bedroom as it does every morning here in the State of Jefferson.
Possibilities roamed freely in my thoughts this morning, running, skipping, cart-wheeling, jumping like children released into the schoolyard for recess. My mind was at play in the fields of the Lord (I never say ‘the Lord’ but it sounded poetic).
My visions energized me so I decided to go for a walk to channel that energy.
I stepped out into the serene glow of this Sunday morning, and of my visions, and headed north. I walked until I reached the shores of Lake Shastina with Mount Shasta behind me. The mountain looks more naked in its earthy brown, as the July sun strips it of its winter coat, once white as moon.
I stood at the shore of the glassy lake, taking in the breath of her serenity. Silence filled the spaces around me, and I let the silence into my being. Thoughts eased away until there were no more.
It was just me and the lake.
She reflected the image of the sky and mountains surrounding her; and of the gulls and sandpipers flying over her. She receives and she gives, from all, to all, while demanding nothing.
Her stillness and the reflections it offers, the silence it inspires, took me to the thought of Narcissus, the maligned self-lover and symbol for vanity and conceit.
But Narcissus gets a bad rap. We see only the surface details of the myth, that Narcissus falls so hopelessly in love with his image in the lake that he eventually dies. He who was desired by many because of his looks (they saw only the surface) would fall in love with his own image until he was overcome by death.
Look more deeply.
Narcissus indeed becomes enamored with his reflection on the lake’s surface, and does die…. and then becomes a flower. Look more deeply. Narcissus saw himself in the lake. Narcissus beheld the oneness of his being and the lake’s being.
Narcissus fell in love with the revelation (hidden beneath the surface) that he was one with all things; that he was reflected in all things, and hence, all things in him.
Look more deeply.
Narcissus was the object of infatuation and superficial desires. Many women desired him. But they only flitted about on the surface, like flies. It was easy for Narcissus to reject their affections – they were not genuine, not of substance.
But in his image, reflected in the lake’s surface, Narcissus saw more than what lay on the surface – he had intimate knowledge of himself, of his deeper, inner self which was hidden to all and desired by none. And due to his intimate knowledge of self he decidedly rejected the shallow desires of others. And his self-knowing merged with this secret now revealed by the lake – I am in you and you are in me.
And so he dies, overcome by his immersion into the one life of all. Then he grows into a beautiful flower.
A flower. Narcissus becomes a flower, that expression of life’s beauty admired by the ones who see and vital to the life of bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies – fitting symbols of transcendence and transformation – and hence, to the life of the Earth.
In the myth of Narcissus we are invited to look more deeply, to perceive what lies beneath the appearance of all things, and to experience the mysteries that belie appearances. All things appear as we see them. Thus, it is our seeing – and our listening, our receiving, our giving, our feeling – that shapes our world and ourselves. We are invited into the depths, and heights, of being.
As I gazed into the face of the lake, I felt moved to raise my hands over her and speak a prayer aloud. I closed my eyes. I prayed.
I blessed her and thanked her for being, for giving, for teaching, and for blessing all things.
I was keenly aware that she was listening, and watching.
And the lake was. She always is.