May she ride through the bardo on a carpet of squirrel tails....
Indeed and ahmet. And here, for me, the Tibetan bardo ("intermediate state") does not have to mean the time between two lives. Rather, for me, it means simply the brief space between the incarnation I knew as Sophie and all the countless transformations and reassemblies of that constituent matter into other no less valid and no less lovely forms. The matter that became Sophie and which produced her consciuosness, existed for billions of years before her birth. It came from the nuclear furnaces of stars. It drifted across interstellar distances on cosmic winds and comet tails. It was here during the days of the first cyanobacteria and then the trilobites and then the dinosaurs and then the woolly frelling mammoths. Because a particular and transient form may pass away, but the Cosmos endures. The atoms that were Sophie, and were trillions of things before Sophie, will become soil and stone, trees and grass, atmospheric molecules and the dust about which great rain clouds form. They will live again, and they will not live again. For me, this is immortality. It matters not if some particular consciousness or body ends, because its constituent parts go on almost forever. To quote Charles Darwin (1859), "There is grandeur in this view of life...and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."
We all have our myths, and they make life bearable. For me, there's no afterlife and no "soul" beyond living consciousnesses. Ego, which craves conscious immortality, is only a transient artefact of consciousness. But, in my eyes, Ego is only another thing which passes away. I hope I don't sound like I'm proselytizing. That's most emphatically not my intent. I just want to say these things, so I'll have written them down. That's all. We all have our myths, and they make life bearable. These are some of mine. I'm not presently disposed to challenge anyone else's myths. I'm taking a few days vacation from mythbusting, so to speak.
The hard part, for me, is not allowing myself to fall back on more immediately comforting beliefs which are not my own, simply because some hurting part of me might need them at this moment. As Anne Sexton said, "Need is not quite belief." I'd be a hypocrite and would betray myself were I to take solace in someone else's belief of conscious immortality. Times like these are the tests of just how confidently we hold our myths to ourselves, as a part of our conscious selves, in all their comforting and uncomforting aspects.
But I miss her. I miss her like hell.
There were other things I was going to say, but I'll say them in some other later entry. Maybe later this afternoon. Today, I'm going to clean this messy house, try to get eBay started again, lose myself in a little unfinished Wikipedia, and so forth. My contributor's copies of John Betancourt and Sean Wallace's Horror: The Best of the Year (2006 edition), which reprints "La Peau Verte" just arrived. I'll look at those. I'll stay busy. I may be able to start writing again tomorrow. We shall see.
Postscript: Does anyone know what's happened to sclerotic_rings, why he's deleted his LJ?