The Puzzle Ring

puzzleringThere was a fad quite some time ago to wear puzzle rings. These are allegedly Arabic or Turkish in origin and were used to insure the wearer’s devotion, in that most people didn’t know how to put them together so wouldn’t dare to take them off. I had a silver one as a teen ager. It was some kind of fashion statement.

Years later my husband and I decided to get these kinds of rings in gold when we got married. He rarely took his off since he couldn’t figure out how to put it back together. I had to keep putting it together. That is a very apt metaphor for the marriage in general. I write that out of some remaining residual tiredness, not bitterness, since we divorced some years ago.

I still have that ring from the marriage and am thinking about getting it resized to wear on another finger. Generic sorts of rings at least have a recyclability that very-specific-purpose-created ones don’t.  Now it only reminds me of things like the entropy of the universe. It reminds me that it takes some amount of work to hold things together even if they seem to be made to stay together.  It reminds me that things are not as solid as they may seem. It reminds me that what appears to be one thing is often a composite of many things. So it has lost it’s previous emotional value and become a generic thing to which I can attach any sort of value or meaning, if I decide to do that at all.

Not being a big fan of sentimentality I do once in a while get caught in that bramble bush though.

A while back I was cleaning out a long neglected closet. I came across my wedding dress-all wrapped in a plastic cover, hanging on it’s special hangar. As well was the box with wedding photos and the silk flowers I had worn in my hair on that afternoon in August on the beach. It was close to the day that would have been my wedding anniversary. I have moved on, he has moved on. Yet….[insert fluffy cloudlike reveries here]

Then some months later as I was moving some data from an old computer to a new one I happened upon some old email correspondence from around the time of the decision to divorce. Bang. That’ll cure any simmering sentimentality for sure.

The world is a rapturous place. Precious and as far as I know something that can only be experienced once. Every moment is only once. Clinging to the moment. Becoming enraptured with the moment and the infinite exquisite beauty of any particular moment is quite a trap.

Equanimity is not only for unpleasant encounters.

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5 comments on “The Puzzle Ring

  1. “Becoming enraptured with the moment and the infinite exquisite beauty of any particular moment is quite a trap.

    Equanimity is not only for unpleasant encounters.”

    Some stories:

    Part of the ritual of a Roman triumphal procession required that the conquering warlord have someone stand behind him as he rode the chariot at the head of the parade and through the cheering crowds.

    That person’s job was, at intervals, to murmur to the triumphant man, ‘Remember, you are but mortal.’

    When Sultan Mohammed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, he entered the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, and achieved an objective that generations of Muslim rulers had longed for.

    But what is also remembered is that at this moment of supreme victory, Mohammed II had the self discipline to speak an old poem aloud, to put all this, in perspective.

    At the height of his great moment, Mohammed II recited,

    ‘The spider weaves her web in the palace of the Caesars;
    ‘The screech owl hoots from the tower of Afrasaib.’

    Mohammed II was reminding himself and those around him that glory is impermament.

    Finally, there is a possibly legendary tale about Charlie Chaplain and Albert Einstein.

    When Einstein’s theory of relativity was proved through an astronomical event, he became world famous and a media icon, pursued by the press.

    So the story goes, Einstein was with the actor Charlie Chaplain, and the two were together in a car, with cheering crowds outside.

    Einstein was flustered at all the fuss and asked the famous actor,
    ‘What is this all about?’

    And so the story goes, Charlie Chaplain replied, sadly, ‘Nothing, nothing at all.’

  2. Whereas I don’t want you to ever get stuck in a bramble bush, I like to see your sentimental side once in a while.
    I didn’t know anything about your marriage and divorce so it made me sad with all that stuff you’ve spoken of… I have been shaken with some ups and downs so I can guess well what you’ve been through and why you remember them now.
    But what finally remains is that… life goes on. We can’t step twice… not once in the same river is what I believe… and that every moment, every deed, and every experience is inherently unsatisfactory.

    • Thank you Nishant. Yes life does go on. Happiness, sadness–both come and go. Like weather. No one is ever satisfied with the weather–too hot, too cold, too windy, too calm, too dusty, too cloudy, too dry, too rainy, too stormy … sometimes these dissatisfactions can become so absurd that they are funny. I think that is the root of comedy actually-to give some distance to dissatisfaction by observation. I don’t like being sentimental much as it feels like slogging through deep mud. I’d rather laugh whenever possible.

  3. Sometimes to be sentimental allows for new connections and experiences to be made…it seems as though the brambles are avoided if (like you seem to have done) one remembers all sides of a happening.
    How do we know the helpful stories from the unhelpful ones? It seems related to another issue I am struggling with at the moment…are there ever “good” cravings? If I am led to a Spiritual path through a craving for a more complete life – isn’t this a “good” craving? How does one decide what is a craving to listen to if there are indeed good cravings?

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