Friday, June 3, 2011
Rigor Mortis Nix, Vigor Vivus Best Way
My discovery of Rigor Mortis vs. Vigor Vivus has been an important one for our understanding, giving us a new framework for looking at the eternal tussle between Death and Life. We've tended to look at them as external, the given conditions of existence, and not as something to be existentially engaged in internally or in our daily experience. But restating them as Rigor Mortis and Vigor Vivus has given us that deeper understanding.
That's certainly been true in my own thinking. In the last few weeks I've done my level-best to keep my mind focused in the Vigor Vivus way, always enjoying and appreciating life, thankful for each breath, my sleep, my waking, showers, meals, and even appreciating the things that I wouldn't ordinarily like, like checking mousetraps, mowing the yard, or coughing. I said I'm doing my level-best, meaning sometimes I, like anyone, sometimes forget. Then I see the creeping vines and tendrils of Rigor Mortis crawling up and beginning to entangle me, working up my legs, and immediately it hits me, get back to Vigor Vivus!
The greatest sorrow I have is for everyone else out there who don't even have the first glimmerings of this realization, because I know it has to be in the millions. Their psyches are so ensnared, so overgrown with the presence of Rigor Mortis, it's only with the bitterest struggle that they can live at all. They think, What's the use? And yet something -- I'd call it the divine gift of Vigor Vivus in spite of it all -- impels them forward. How much better would it be were they to know the focus, the full experience of Vigor Vivus and its very present victory (transcendence) over Rigor Mortis!
There used to be a cartoon that I'd see, of two donkeys roped together, each pulling the opposite direction, trying to get to piles of hay on each end. At first they couldn't figure out what was wrong. The harder I pull, the same distance I keep getting to the hay. Then suddenly a light goes on over each head. Their thinking changes: If we work together we can each eat from the two piles of hay, netting between us the equivalent of one pile each. And so it works out, they eat and are filled!
The moral of the story, of course, is that life is a lot like that. There's something we want (in this case the fruits of Vigor Vivus, the best life) but we're doing something wrong, we're not getting there. Then a light suddenly goes on over our head -- we've got an idea! -- and we realize, I've been dwelling in Rigor Mortis far too long. Why not find the Vigor Vivus pile and eat from it? The bread of life is given from heaven, if we choose to share in it, and that is the simple truth of the matter.
Like the two donkeys, you and I are in the same boat. I'm not just teaching you, I'm reminding myself of the problem and the solution. Because I myself, admittedly, can be pulling the wrong direction, can be trying to eat the piles I can't reach, just like anyone. Then I see what it is I'm striving for, the piles of Rigor Mortis, the ways of Death, that will never satisfy. But aren't our desires funny like that! It's at that point that I turn and look for Vigor Vivus. And, yes, maybe the piles of Vigor Vivus aren't always perfectly labeled, but in part the problem is simply our inability to see. Because they're there!
Even the brute animal knows, Rigor Mortis (Nix), Vigor Vivus (The Best Way.)