Horses running free, coming vibrantly alive after they escape from their wooden attachment to a merry-go-round (or carousel). It resonated with my irreligious non-soul.
Interestingly, Anne Wipf, the artist who created "Freedom - the Carousel," is big into fantasy. The image is posted on Elfwood, described as the world's largest sci-fi and fantasy community.
Well, each to his/her own.
I saw this image and thought free of fantastical religion!. Others look upon it and think free of restrictive reality! Fine. We're on the same wavelength of Free!
Which I look upon as meaning "open to changing," rather than unfettered from all outside influences.
I don't believe in free will (see here, here, here, and here). As a non-card-carrying Taoist, I do believe in the inevitability of change. There may be some invarying aspects to the cosmos, but as life is lived by us humans, constant changing is the only constant.
Browsing through "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism" this morning, I came across:
In the following quote, is it the man or the river that changes?
"No man ever steps in the same river twice."
Great question. Both seems like a good answer. But I might change my mind about that.
Today I boxed up most of the books published by Radha Soami Satsang Beas that have been part of my life since 1970. I was an active member of this Indian spiritual/mystical organization for over thirty years.
Even though I'm no longer involved with the group, and don't subscribe to most of RSSB's "Sant Mat" dogmas any more, for quite a few years I stored the books away in the attic of our garage rather than giving them away or selling them.
Then, recently, I heard from someone in India who was looking for early editions of the RSSB books.
I emailed him back that most of mine were early editions. She isn't a member of Radha Soami Satsang Beas; she just enjoys reading Indian philosophy and doesn't like how RSSB has edited some of its books over time.
I realized that the time had come to take another step off of the religious merry-go-round. Those books had meant a lot to me. That's why I'd stored them, rather than getting rid of them. Some I'd read many times, highlighting passages in various colors over decades of re-reading.
Binders had come loose of some books that I'd had for over forty years. Handwritten notes were inserted in many pages, as I'd used the books as references for talks ("satsangs") that I'd given many times at RSSB meetings.
The Indian woman and I are trying to figure out how to get 87 pounds of books to New Delhi in the least expensive way. Any ideas would be appreciated (leave a comment). Surface shipping seems to have mostly disappeared, with the modern emphasis on air transport.
This morning I decided to figure out how many boxes it would take to ship the books. Answer: three 12 inch by 12 inch boxes. Not many.
Seeing them on the kitchen floor, I thought about how much of my previous spiritual life was reflected in those three boxes, those 87 pounds of pages.
When I had gone through the books a few days before, determining the publication date and edition of each so the Indian woman could decide if he wanted a particular book, there were moments when I started to become emotional. I was remembering how much a certain book had meant to me.
But almost instantly I realized, that was then, this is now. I've changed. Change happens. Change is good. Also, inevitable.
I've given up some beliefs. I've embraced others. That's how life goes, for as long as we're alive. I'm glad my books will be going to someone who appreciates them (assuming we figure out how to ship them). They used to be important to me.
Now, they're not.