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Flame & Ember
by David Sparenberg
2013-06-05 09:37:02
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Everything feeds on everything.  As is said in the philosophy of India, “the big fish eat the little fish.”  Indeed, this could be cause for despair.  Buddha dropped out and turned in to an ultimate response to this suffering conflagration.  But the burning universe is the way of creation and even the most extreme ascetic does not attain absolute purity and live.  To attain liberation may not be extinction, but within this particular frame of purpose it aims to be beyond existence.
I do not look at it this way—perhaps because I have an animal in my soul that senses fear, an AmerIndian in ancestry, and an angel with dirt between toes and under angelic fingernails. 
Perhaps, I say to myself of the all, it is like this, similar to a flame and an ember.  The flame eats the ember and by so doing ember becomes light and warmth, which is what is commonly called love here on Earth.  Eventually from its matter-transforming feeding, flame leaves the ember as a trail or prayer of smoke.  When the ashes are scattered on the ground (which is that which we commonly call death) and the smoke disappears into our dancing atmosphere, it is easy, I suppose, to say the ember had its time, is gone, now is nothing—is no more.
But I do not find it so.  For if the flame of this parable is God and the ember is conscious life, in the give and take of metamorphic interplay there must, in wonderment, be a stage, or stages similar-dissimilar, beyond the visible.  After all, God never completely goes out of view and consciousness, even when abused, does not desert us.  Passing thus from ember-solidity to even one floating spark and from spark to lifting smoke suggest continuum, a storyline that might well move from articulation into psalms and liturgies of a core-sublime, lost language.
Even the Buddha who found his way out knew that you are what you eat and what you eat becomes what, and who, you are, and he could not do without the myth of Nirvana, a cosmic shine, like the beacon of some eternal flame.  So too passage of sentience from solidity to subtlety may be a masque of banqueting—affinitive savoring—where from flame there is light and from light throughout a furtherance of warmth and love.  After all, should it not be remembered that even as flame feeds on ember, it is ember that feeds the flame.
What then of the all?  Is it horror or holy?  How we see decides what we desire; what we desire shapes what moves us. Is the ember then a dying mass or mystery play of learning lines while letting go, a surrender, dancing into life?
What then is liberation?  To disappear and thereby extinguish an eternity-tempting extension of flame, or to move nearer, connecting and extending the creative glow…
David Sparenberg
28 May 2013


RD Laing used to ask, “How often are you simply handed a cup of tea?” A Zen question! Or gifted 2 free eco ebooks? Just check HERE!  


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