The Cave of Persephone
Story of Persephone
The Persephone story is one of the most interesting of the ancient Greek teaching myths. Most people see it in a straightforward manner: an interesting and quaint tale about the beautiful, young and innocent daughter of Demeter and Zeus who was abducted by Hades. Eventually, she was rescued by her mother but would spend six months of the year on earth and six months in the underworld because Hades had tricked her into eating a pomegranate (food of the dead). During the time Persephone would live in Hades, the flowers withered and the grain died (winter), but when she returned to the upper world in the spring, life blossomed anew. But there is a much deeper aspect to the story. Consider the phrase ‘Rape of Persephone,’ which is also a famous painting. It is really also a story about life initiation. The naive and innocent young girl is suddenly and forcefully taken by the powerful, mature aspects of life represented by the god of the underworld. He tears her completely away from her former child life and shows her things that she has never known, initiating her into mature aspects of life totally foreign to her. If she had not been strong and resilient, she likely could have perished from the experience. However, she thrived and when Persephone finally reconnected with her previous world and her mother, she was not the same person at all. Now, she had become a powerful Queen – of the underworld. What an amazing transformation! If she had never been abducted and ‘raped’ by the dark forces of life, she might have continued living a simple and protected life, remaining a princess forever – never to have her potential fulfilled, never to become a Queen!
Life As A Banquet
“Life as a banquet” is a phrase sometimes used to point out that life offers us many wonderful choices. When pursuing life as a banquet, your task is first to chose from which of life’s many offerings you will partake, and then to decide how much of each “food” you will pile on your plate. And in life, as at the banquet table, most people will take as much as they can load onto their plate as they sample the broad range of delights that lie before them. The successful hunter/gatherer feels self-satisfied as he moves away from the buffet table to consume his bounty. Often, much of what was chosen is more interesting visually than satisfying to the palate, and so is shunted aside. The remaining delectable selections, however, are usually sufficient to bloat the eater well past the point of satisfaction. Why such voracious consumption? Perhaps it is the realization that the banquet is only a fleeting event that will soon pass. Best to fill up while you still can! In the same way, your chance to live and experience life is now, so you better make the most of what is offered before you lose the opportunity. Most people pile their plates high, except for a few rare individuals who take only what is actually needed to sustain their bodies. The rest of us are usually left with food uneaten, exclaiming that we feel stuffed and uncomfortable, and that we’re sorry we’ve eaten so much. But the fun part of this metaphor is what happens to all that wonderful tasty food on the following day as it is privately discarded and soon forgotten. So it is with all of life’s experiences, as we race along trying to ‘fill-up’ as fast as we can. As fast as we fill our plates, the food and experience evaporates, almost as if it had never happened, with our hungry stomachs growling for more. Not a very satisfying way to live. So might there be a way to become truly “full-filled” – really satisfied? Is there anything that we can do that will make life honestly worthwhile and complete (and that will last longer than an orgasm or a good meal)? Please let me know if you find the answer.
Paint By Numbers
Living a “paint by numbers” life: by following instructions perfectly, the final product, however neat and orderly, is destined to be flat and uninspired. This can be the ultimate deception that, unfortunately, most of us will swallow. Then, what if there were no rules and directions? Beware of taking bites from strange apples!
Death Forces Us
Death forces us into the unknown–into darkness, loss and chaos. It can also provide a clearing, a cleansing, an opening toward fresh possibilities; a way into new life. Learn to ride that wave of change and chaos on the edge of the unknowable and transcendental mystery. Living on that margin is where life is truly alive!
Plus Ca Change
There is a famous French expression: “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose,” meaning “the more things seem to change the more they remain the same.” This is one of the great paradoxes, which on the logical surface seems to be patently absurd. However, at an intuitive level, most people are able to see the truth beyond the contradiction. The basic truth is that change is an illusion. It is really just the slow twisting of life’s kaleidoscope. To fully understand this insight we simply need to remember what we learned in basic science; that this planet is, for the most part, a closed system. That is to say, almost everything here now, was here 50 or 100 million years ago, and that same stuff will likely be here for just as long in the future. It is all just recycled, over and over again, so there can be nothing new under the sun, just the same stuff configured into different shapes and forms that will soon collapse to become the stuff for further modeling. The wonderful thing about this perspective is that it perfectly complements ordinary observation and seems irrefutable in its simplicity. So, the next time you believe you have experienced something truly new and amazing or you think that there is anything in this world which might be even close to permanent or lasting, you’d better look again.
Ignore-ance. Life is scary, confusing and dangerous. Therefore, I don’t want to know any more than I know now, I want only what I’m comfortable with or what is absolutely necessary to maintain my stasis. I simply prefer to ignore. Please don’t rock my boat! I am a rabbit and I like my hidey hole. I prefer to stay enrobed, as safe and hidden as possible, by not knowing, not risking and not opening any new doors. It is bliss for me, so, please . . . do not disturb!