if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
2 short essays today – “2 for Tuesday”.
These lyrics from the song, Freewill, by RUSH (1980, Permanent Waves album) are apropos when people choose to remain indifferent and ambivalent to what is going on around them.
Here is one stanza of lyrics at the climax of the song.
“Each of us – a cell of awareness
Imperfect and incomplete
with uncertain ends
on a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet.”
From the YouTube uploader’s comments on this song:
“Freewill” (Sometimes written as “Free Will”) is the second track on progressive rock band Rush’s 1980 album Permanent Waves. It is written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson with lyrics by Neil Peart. The song’s lyrics deal with the subject of free will, emphasizing that free will is not a gift but rather a choice; explaining that Man can attempt to evade the fact that he must choose, but that evasion is itself a choice. (Bold font is mine.)
We are each a cell of individual consciousness, but we can make a difference. Perhaps we are parts of a larger super consciousness we call “God”. Perhaps we are separate, distinct, infinitesimal pieces of God (from the Vedic scriptures, we are tiny pieces of God’s marginal energy). We can only live in the eternal and ongoing now.
Before continuing, here are two links on YouTube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2L8z5Mmv7Y – Freewill (with lyrics)
Here is link to The Girl from Ipanema. Once you get through the Portuguese, you get the English lyrics sung by a great female singer, Astrud Gilberto. Stan Getz on saxophone!
Transmigration of the Soul
Laying awake last night, not able to sleep, my mind wandered among many subjects. One of which was what to write in a new blog essay. Here is what I decided upon. The wording will be difficult to convey the intended point, but I beg your understanding here. This is offered with good intentions as food for thought. We are not per se endorsing belief in reincarnation here. Westerners, who do not believe in reincarnation, can still gain some perspective by reading on.
One thing Srila Prabhupada (1896 -1977) stressed in a few of his books was the continuity of our consciousness (my terms, not his). Basically, even though our physical, material body changes throughout our lives, we are the same personalities or identities. In other words, dear readers, you are the same “you“ throughout your lives. (I am the same soul today (edging mid 50s) as I was when I entered kindergarten so many years ago, and can remember the milk and graham crackers they served us back then in school. 😉 )
Your body starts forming in your mother’s womb and grows and develops until you are born. After birth, your body grows as an infant into a child. Then over the years you reach adolescence, then adulthood, followed by old age and eventual death (with dissolution of the physical body). Even though the body is constantly changing, your identity, your unique soul, is the same and remains untouched by the body’s changes. This is true even with growth in maturity and development of your consciousness over your life time. (Hopefully, your consciousness is burning brighter now that you are an adult with growth and experience gained!)
One does not really notice the gradual changes in the body during one’s lifetime. Unless you are experiencing health issues, you take the body for granted and do not think about it much. So, why should we be so concerned with bodily death? The soul (consciousness) has remained unchanged all the while the body was changing throughout one’s life. (You are still the same person even when you are at death’s door.) Srila Prabhupada tells us this is unnecessary worry. It is understandable that a person does not want to die in the prime of his/her life. But, when one reaches old age, and the body is worn out, why do we fret so? Prabhupada likens bodily death to donning a new suit of clothes, and throwing on a trash heap your old worn out clothes that are now rags. One does not fret when they part with clothes that have outlived their usefulness.
I did not do a very good job with the wording here, but hopefully the basic idea has come through. The soul remains unaffected by the body’s changes even in bodily death.
Here is an image that conveys the idea. It is from krishnalounge.com. This image is included in a number of Srila Prabhupada’s books.
The soul, or atman (spiritual monad), stays constant as the body changes, and even when a new body is taken on for continued growth and experience and learning of lessons.
Thank you for reading. Best wishes to all!!