William H. Shannon begins the last chapter of Silence on Fire with a quote from “The Four Quartets” by T.S. Eliot:
“Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before or after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment.”
Later, Shannon alludes to a Zen poem exhibiting a similar sentiment:
“Silently a flower booms,
In silence it falls away;
Yet here now, at this moment, at this place
the whole of the flower
the whole of the world is blooming
This is the talk of the flower, the truth of the blossom;
The glory of eternal life is fully shinning here.”
Both these poems suggest that when we live fully in the moment, we flame eternal. We burn brightly at the center of creation. Each moment is life created anew. We bloom eternally in the moment. We leave a trail of fiery moments in our wake when we walk an authentic life path.
Each moment shines. Each moment has a life of its own. The average lifespan of a small, adult butterfly is one month. If we are all butterflies dreaming we are people like Chuang Tzu implies, then we have little time on the earth. Or perhaps, we transform ourselves from caterpillars to butterflies in each moment. With whatever form we take on in each moment, we must flame eternal.
Photo without words by Bilal Lashari.