Our mistrust of institutions is innate and well founded. The more organized a thing is, the deader it is, and the more perverse. Ecclesiasts do their best but the soul cannot be organized.
Father, son, mother, daughter. These are roles, not souls. They are briefly played and impermanent. The impulse to fashion an identity from a role creates many problems.
Everything is temporary. The galaxies are temporary. One day our sun will blink out. As for us, said the freed slave with the twisted leg, we are souls carrying corpses. To illustrate the point, the Buddha upheld a picked flower. Seeing its severed stem, its petals, one of his followers stopped asking questions.
His two-year-old son died. He lost most of his wealth in the Great Chicago Fire. All four of his daughters drowned in the sinking of a passenger vessel. “Saved alone…” came a telegram from his wife. Afterward, he composed a hymn, “It is Well with my Soul.” Philip Bliss wrote the music.
We come to this: Nothing that matters is affected by death.
Where is it, this “pearl of great price”?
Where it’s always been—inside the clam.
Likewise, the chalice, suspended from a bough of the great oak in the walled-off garden of the grown-over castle.
“Look inside yourself.”