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ON BECOMING
(for Alice Hammerschlag)

Those higher levels Maurice
Nicoll talks about, above
'personality' - is it really
self remembering? mere
'mindfulness' that gets us there?
Doesn't
raising a child take us
beyond personality, it being
another personality
acting on us - as the church
you don't believe in
is - or can be -
Jesus
experienced as a force
acting on us?
And the war! What is the war
but a pair of bullying hands
pushing us, this way and that,
kneading us, shaping us?
External circumstances, they are
what we are here for.
The child, the church, the war,
the job, the
pestilence - they are our
partners in a dance
and we have no business
pretending indifference.
Wall yourself up in a cave and you dance
direct
with the darkness. And the demons.
With what is not you. Even if 'you'
are multiple
something is pushing through - something
maybe cancerous, maybe
beautiful - something
is becoming
something - a shape,
an utterly unique
accumulation of impressions.
Millions and billions of time though the miracle
might occur, it occurs
every time, and so
the personality becomes the person - it isn't
a 'higher level' but it is
what you are.