Greatness of soul

Sometimes my spirit soars.  It feels as though I am among the clouds and dancing on treetops.

Sometimes I want to pull into my self.  Where there is no noise, no light, only darkness and heartbeat.

What greatness of soul is there that I might find?  What way of being?  What greater patience?  What simmering love?

Sometimes I am the most vile being on Earth, ready to bite and issue out harsh words.

And sometimes I am ready to open my veins to give my blood for a stranger before me.

Would that I could treat those I know as kind as those I do not.

What is there inside of me that I’ve not listened to?  What spirits move about the caverns, whispering their promises and whispered threats?

From Spinoza…

“Minds are not conquered by arms but by greatness of soul.”

I worry at my ability to do good, to help, to affect change.  I am envious of those strong souls that thrive on it, that seemingly without effort move mountains for a cause.  I wish that were me.  To do one thing, for me, feels like a workout.  No… not a workout… it feels… unguided.  No… not quite it either.

There is strength in me and were it as easy as strapping on armor, grabbing a sword, and riding out to face a charging enemy on horseback I’d gladly take that call.  For that is a gathering of forces, a knotting of purposes.  What collection is there in one’s daily life?  What import is there in sitting in traffic? My life is not traffic, and yet looking back over past journals, one before me now from four years ago on my desk, what guiding theme is there in those pages to show the great work that I’ve done?

And worse… what greatness of soul is there to be found?

I want to cry.  For there is, within me, something that is clawing away at the interiors of my heart to get out, something that is raging and screaming within a soundproof glass that nothing outside of me can hear.  It is beneath all my words, beneath all my glances, beneath all my actions.  When I am most clear, when I am most still, I can almost make it out through some sort of vibration as though I had a finger placed against the imprisoning glass.  But I cannot hear it.

I read past entries of when I was twenty-five, of twenty-seven, of thirty, of thirty-three… and I sit here now at thirty-seven.  Forty is around the corner… I am staring at it in the face and I am still so unsure of what greatness of soul I have won.  I can recall mountain paths worn thin by my searching, of frozen roads at night, of rain storms with my tears added to them, of sunrises of exhuberant joy, and I wonder, still, what good, of this, have I?

I find that I am depressed and content, now, at the same time.  It is strange.  Its been said that one cannot hold two emotions at the same time, but I think it was meant that one cannot hold two oppostive affects at the same time (positive and negative).  Perhaps the contented nature of depression is part of its power, for it is so easy to do, so easy to give in, and it is so warm to curl up into the darkness.

Ah, my Mistress, its been so long.

But I am not ready to lie down with you tonight.  No… for there are new stars that I’ve noticed in the sky.  What are they?  Where will they lead me? What depth of soul will this new path engender?

Once more, Spinoza.

“An emotion can neither be hindered nor removed except by a contrary and stronger emotion.”

I think of those turbulent storms within me.  My quick temper, my fast flight from others in intimacy.

Spinoza, again, (paraphrased)

To be great is not to be placed above humanity, ruling others; but to stand above the partialities and futilities of unimformed desire, and to rule one’s self.

I must enter into myself, slow down, and find that deep wellspring.  I know that it is there, and yet memory is tied to emotion in that those things we remember with an emotion we remember the most.  What does this mean of those memories of emotion and when it is hard to recall?  For surely they exist (this if funny to me, the existence of a phenomenon not being, which is the opposite of the non-existence of something that is).


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