Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Meaning of Life

I'm going to tell you right here!  Well, not me, exactly.  I'll pass it along from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from the end of chapter 30 ("The Old Doctor") of his novel, Cancer Ward.  I think this may be the most beautiful and profound couple of paragraphs I've ever read, anywhere.

He had to take frequent rests nowadays.  His body demanded this chance to recoup its strength and with the same urgency his inner self demanded silent contemplation free of external sounds, conversations, thoughts of work, free of everything that made him a doctor.  Particularly after the death of his wife, his inner consciousness had seemed to crave a pure transparency.  It was just this sort of silent immobility, without planned or even floating thoughts, which gave him a sense of purity and fulfillment.
At such moments an image of the whole meaning of existence -- his own during the long past and the short future ahead, that of his late wife, of his young granddaughter and of everyone in the world -- came into his mind.  The image he saw did not seem to be embodied in the work or activity which occupied them, which they believed was central to their lives, and by which they were known to others.  The meaning of existence was to preserve unspoiled, undisturbed and undistorted the image of eternity with which each person is born.
Like a silver moon in a calm, still pond.
And there you have it.  Every now and then, calm down.  Be still.  And become a perfect mirror for that which you neither made, nor dreamed up.  And I'll try to do the same.


1 comment:

Mimi said...

I never seem to calm down. I don't think I can.