Yes, how do we attune to an entire course of events as a cycle of a certain length, a process that begins, moves through growth and decay through to death? More: How do we consciously experience each and every part of any cycle as holy? Worthy of being consecrated, venerated, celebrated?
This sounds abstract. it is not. The inability to experience time as multidimensionally cyclic, i.e., consisting of many “times,” many concentric, overlapping, intersecting cycles, a spiraling out and in — each cycle featuring ourselves as its centerpoint — infects our entire civilized existence as humans on this planet.
The most intimate cycle we are each moving through is that of our own lives. We were born, we grow to maturity, turn the corner to eventual decay and finally, death. Throughout, we see our lives as a straight line, ending in oblivion (or heaven, or purgatory, hell, or another life, but in any case, this one life suddenly and irretrievably and sadly finished). So we try to “stay young,” or “appear young” — forever. Because old is ugly! Old has no value! Besides, after the linear line that suddenly ends, who knows what! Unless we are willing to “commit suicide,” we can’t control either the manner or time of death, so very unlike that “straight line” of our lives that we strive to control, to keep it straight — forever! Yes, we don’t want to die. We see death as failure. In fact, we are terrified to die, and prefer all manner of medical torture during our final days and months and years to an acceptance of that finality as the final rounding out of a rich, multidimensional spaciousness bounded by a certain cycle of time.
The same sickness — viewing time as linear rather than cyclic — infects personal relationships. I think about my primary relationships with men, and how I managed to consciously complete some of them and not others. Not because I didn’t want to, but because, early in my life I was ignorant, thoroughly mind-controlled into seeing time as linear; later in life, though I had awakened from that narrow 3D dream, I did not always enjoy willing partners. For example, one man, with whom I had intimate relations for a little while, suddenly upped and left my bed one evening. Didn’t hear from him for months, and then when I did, asked for closure on what had gone on between us earlier. Did not hear back.
Looking back on my first three marriages which all ended in divorce: with the first, my ex-partner did agree to experience conscious closure with me, 15 years later — after 15 terribly poisoned years — and this five hour meeting, though difficult, transformed the course for both of us, including our already grown children.
Closure on my second marriage dragged out secretly inside myself over a number of years, since a part of me was still “holding on,” even though it appeared to others (and to him) that we had undergone conscious closure, and in fact I had introduced him to my friend, the woman who became his next wife! And still is! That was over 30 years ago. The three of us got together this past summer for a chuckle or two.
The third “marriage” was in name only. I was there to “heal” him, I thought. He taught me a thing or two! The end, after a dramatic one-year cycle, was also dramatic, and decidedly final, involving both guns and psychic power. And yet, and yet! Over a decade later, when I visited a cemetery in the town where his beloved grandfather had lived, and there discovered his grave — I broke into tears. So I finally did experience closure, in my felt recognition, coming many years later, of the humanity of this decidedly war-wounded veteran.
Lack of closure in personal relationships is paralleled by lack of closure in collective movements. Which, just as with personal relationships, usually results in ugliness of some kind. An ugliness that tends to turn our original idealism on its head, into cynicism. Think of how the beautiful loving hippie movement ended — with the Hells Angels at Altamont. More recently, think of how the beautiful loving Occupy movement ended — with U.S. mayor-coordinated police crack-down of Occupy camps nationwide over a single weekend.
Now see what appears to be happening to the NoDAPL protest camp. So sad, how we do not recognize when the time has come to shift our attention from continuing the same thing over and over again to spiraling into whatever wants next, to be born.
I view our incapacity to consciously complete our personal, interpersonal, and cultural cycles as what happens when we view time as linear, rather than cyclical. In linear time, once we begin something, it’s supposed to go on and on, “until death do us part.” But why? Nature does not move in straight lines. Nor do we, if we would only begin to understand that.