flame
By Tom Welch

 

There is a flame of spirit inside each one of us.

It is the same flame for us all, identical in composition, which is why we are all, in a very real sense, one. This flame is also all around us, infusing every thing, not just animals and plants, but rocks and gases, even empty space. We are awash in it. We, all of creation, bathe in it. That’s why death and birth are not dissolution and creation, but transformation, from one form into another, changed in shape but not in composition.

Should death be feared? Should birth? Why the one more than the other? Why either one at all?

The flame creates form from entropy, shape from  shapelessness, but does not change the constant reality, the composition of that which flows from one form into another. Why then do we experience pain, pleasure? What is the plan therein? It is just a stimulus to internal change and self development during those times between the changes we experience in form – birth and death.

It is the knitting of our individual patterns, for we as individuals do exist and our patterns that are constantly taking shape are the great artistic beauty of creation. Just as our genes flow among the generations, so too does the flame which passes from person to another, creating great beauty along the way for all to see and treasure.

This is why we view all evil in the world as simple lack of understanding, not to discount the reality of the suffering that evil causes, but to affirm the possibility that all evil can transmute into good at any time, when finally the eternal flame is recognized, comprehended. At that time, evil finds all desire to inflict pain instantly transformed into an equally firm desire to cherish others, as it suddenly comprehends the common flame of a loving spirit all around it.

This is why we do good in the face of evil, because the evil that people do is not sustainable.

The good must overcome it each time the flame is glimpsed. The flow is always from evil to good, never the reverse, and more usually from less understanding to greater, less compassion to more, to an ever greater kindness among all creation.

Do not fear. Do not obsess on injury. Injury is always temporary, and when the injury is overcome, great is the triumph, loud the shout of joy.

 

Tom WelchTom Welch has worked as a clerk, a high school math teacher, a radio intercept operator in the army, in finance at a large company, and as a leader/teacher for groups of adjudicated teens as well as for parents and children in a community education program that explores the effects of addiction on the family.  His blog  contains the items published on The Tattooed Buddha as well as a number of other writings. The family husky, Spirit, is 14 years old and loves cold weather, the colder the better. It is Tom’s assignment to walk the dog every morning without complaint. Spirit is getting very old. We are enjoying her while we can.

 

Photo: Samie Robinson/tumblr

Editor: Sherrin Fitzer

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The Tattooed Buddha

The Tattooed Buddha was founded by Buddhist author Ty Phillips and Dana Gornall. What started out as a showcase for Ty's writing, quickly turned into collaboration with creative writer, Dana Gornall and the home for sharing the voices of friends and colleagues in the writing community. The Tattooed Buddha strives to be a noncompetitive, open space for the author’s authentic voice. So while not necessarily Buddhist, we are offering a dialogue that is aware and awake to the reality of our present day to day, tackling issues of community, environment, and compassionate living.

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