On The Subject Of
by Arleen Lorrance
of the happiest periods of my life was when I was 18. First of all,
as some of you may recognize in yourself, I knew everything. Secondly,
I had few responsibilities. I was dating, going to college, dating,
working, dating, etc. Young men were very much on my mind and in my
life explorations. The fellows I dated had one important quality in
common. They were all intelligent.
most nourishing memories from that year were dates in Greenwich Village
in New York City. My young man of the evening and I would sit at a well-worn
wooden table in a smoke-filled coffeehouse drinking cappuccino, or my
favorite, a hot brew with a cinnamon stick standing in it. As we sipped
and gazed into each others eyes, we talked philosophically. We
pondered life and meaning. We came to irrefutable conclusions.
and then, strangers from other tables would join our probing of truth.
Opinions would fly. Resolutions would be sought. Arguments would ensue.
Consensus would be reached. We would drink more Java. We would solve
the problems of the world every Friday night and wonder why the troubles
started up again before the weekend was put to sleep.
evenings were especially important for me because I was suffering the
frustration of not doing well in my college philosophy class. The professor
fed us famous philosophers points of view and wanted us to be
able to parrot them. By this time I had had 13 years of this ineffectual
kind of education and I was into rebellion. When I was called on to
speak in class or asked to respond on a test, I offered my own thinking
on the subject. I incorporated some of what the studied philosopher
expounded but then I took it all to the next level as I saw it, adding
the implications of the times in which we lived. This did not endear
me to the professor. The class had not been designed to encourage independent
those Friday nights in Greenwich Village coffeehouses gave me free reign
to explore the corners of my mind, permission to visit inner rooms of
intuition and to bring forth knowing that was no where requested in
my formal education.
were all young and searching for meaning. This life we were living had
to be about something and we were determined to find out what that was.
As it turned out for me, meaning came only after my spiritual breakthroughs
when I had had a first-hand experience of knowing and merging with the
I am 41 years later. A lot has changed. The coffeehouses are not smoke-filled
anymore and I know a lot less today than I did back then. I can hardly
believe how sure I was of everything when I was 18.
days, my convictions are held together with fewer nails. I leave myself
the option of taking down the structures I have built that represent
truth as I know it.
for example the matter of reincarnation. I have done recalls of past
lives with two of the finest people in the field. I have confirmed the
validity of at least one such life by going to England and not only
finding the town but seeing a sketch in an old church of what the area
looked like at the time I lived there as John Selby. It was just as
I had described it. Now if I were 18, I would tell you, there it is,
today I would say, its possible. But then again, am I considering
this in too linear a fashion? Perhaps the truth lies elsewhere. Perhaps
lives are lived concurrently. Perhaps each of us is sometimes able to
cross barriers of time and space and experience other personalities
as if they were our own. Perhaps
there are many such. There are
possibilities beyond our dreams.
again, I ask myself about the meaning of life. For starters, I know
there are as many meanings as there are people asking the question.
So much for consensus or dogma. And there are also those who believe
that there is no meaning.
recently had a date with my own mind. I wasnt in New York so I
didnt take it to one of my old Village haunts. But I did look
into my own inner eyes and raised a question that I am pondering still.
we here to discover the meaning in all things? Or are we the creators
like to think that there is meaning and that our purpose in life
is to grow, evolve, and uncover the wisdom that awaits us. But there
are times when I wonder about it all. What if we are in fact the creators
of meaning? What if we have developed echelons of evolution and invented
paths to walk and spiritual milestones to accomplish? What if everything
we believe in, or convince ourselves we know, or think we have deduced
is our fantasy, our form of entertainment while we live out our days?
wonder about all this because of how many different belief systems there
are. We all cling to our approaches, our methodology, our complex ways.
We envision that if we follow our particular path, we will arrive at
at what? Everlasting life? Heaven? Sainthood? Avatar status?
The need to no longer be embodied?
our belief, knowing or system, we humans seems to have it all carefully
laid out so that it can be taught to future generations. We have highly
creative structures, perhaps, to convince ourselves that we are here
for some grand purpose. And maybe we are. Maybe we have, through sages
and seers, developed the means to discipline our lives and guide ourselves
to the next and waiting stage of humanness. But what if weve made
it all up, developed meaning for solace lest we go mad without purpose
we here to discover the meaning in all things?
are we the creators of meaning?
theres no difference between the two?
the real cosmic joke.