Monday, October 19, 2009

The Universe and Commitment Thing

Lots of people these days "preach" the idea that the universe is supportive of our dreams and desires. Marci Shimoff, the "Happy for Nor Reason" guru, makes this one of the foundations of beginning to take responsibility for your own happiness. She calls it "Guiding Principle #2": "The Universe is out to support you."

Of course others have said it long before this current age. The American sage Ralph Waldo Emerson being one of them; his version is this: "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."

(OK, I'm aware that Jesus probably said something sort of like this somewhere along the way, too, but since Jesus isn't on my current reading list, I'm not going down that road right now!)

And there's that quote that often gets attributed to Goethe but that was really written by author and mountaineer William Hutchinson Murray in his  1951 book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition. He speaks of Providence where others might say the Universe, or a host of other variations. These are Murray's words:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way."

Why am I writing this here and now? I'm not entirely sure! Mostly it's because I think this supportive universe idea may be one of the themes or sub-texts of the story I'm unwinding (and discovering as I go) in writing this blog.

There have been moments, especially over the past four years, when I've been given glimmers of this reality, although I hasten to add that my native tendency toward skepticism over what can only be called an elemental form of "faith" has often dismissed such glimmers as insignificant or merely coincidental. (So much depends upon how you choose to see things--as well as upon "a red wheel/barrow/ glazed with rain/water/beside the white/chickens"!)

One of the great gifts of writing a story is being given, and taking, the chance to see things differently. To see connections that might have been missed the first time through, or that might have been briefly acknowledged, then brushed aside or dismissed.

I have to say that somewhere between writing yesterday's post (based on writings from 2006) and this morning, it has occurred to me that the hummingbird's visit to me as I stood dripping wet in cool morning air was a pretty damn good "unforeseen incident and meeting" for someone who had only hours before stated her intention to let herself "be taken" by the natural world! And who only weeks before had written about wanting to start over,

"to know what I know
and feel what I feel,
from earth to skin,
blood and bone,
blossom and leaf bloom."

Not to put too fine a point on it, but who cares whether one embraces God or godlessness, providence or universe, all or none? As long as you are alive and sensing and responding to this amazing world? And on top of that, or on the basis of that, or in response to that, gathering and patching together glimmer after glimmer, and then daring to imagine a Universe that is out to support you (and to go on trusting that Universe even when the evidence isn't forthcoming). Hmmm . . . .

Of course the possibility of this being all illusion or delusion or wishful thinking is never far away, but if it makes for a happier life, then . . . .

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