On considering the story of Sisyphus, an ancient Greek, destined to forever push his rock up a hill, resonated this morning. Thinking about this story has filled many a lapse in attention. To begin with, what a waste of time, how dedicated, how stubborn, how relentless rattled around the paltry brain but today the inter-relatedness of the two emerged. Sisyphus would have been unable to accomplish his life’s work without the friendly rock. No rolling down, no pushing up.
Years and years of grappling with the rock’s surface must have engendered in both of them friendliness, compassion for each other’s task, even love for the skill of the other. Perhaps the rock felt playful on some days, giving Sisyphus a break, wiggling to stay in place while he wiped his sweaty brow or downed a much needed snack. Other days, perhaps the rock dug in its heels and refused to budge causing Sisyphus to despair, rage, weep and possibly, ultimately, laugh. Some days Sisyphus may have handled the rock with appreciation for the handholds provided by its ridged surface. Others he blamed it for his ceaseless, apparently futile, labor. Day after day, what goes up must come down, toiling in frustration, joy, pain, anger, impatience, even love, in all weathers of emotion and the elements.
Is there a deeper meaning to this tale? Sisyphus is attempting to rise. He is putting his life on the line. There is nothing more important to him than to reach the peak. To do so, he must struggle against gravity, the world, all that attempts to return him to a base condition. Is the rock totally indifferent to its position? Would it prefer to be the peak or the base? Its level of cooperation bespeaks indifference.
And so it is! Engagement with the world is colored by demands and desires. It cares not, playfully tossing the waves of humanity this way and that. The conundrums faced provide the strength, and determination to continue on (provided self-pity is not indulged in overly)!