Doubting

•05/13/2010 • 1 Comment

In July of 2008, attempting to find peace and thinking there was something that I need do to secure that peace, some action, some penance, some trick of the mind, I spent way too much time detached from the living of life. Rather, I spent the majority of my time questioning, wandering, and, when lost, yet once again, lamenting. The path of understanding, when approached from so great an inner distance, seems vastly remote indeed. Hence, the piece that appears below. I happened upon it this morning and, appreciating the metaphor and word-wrangling, thought I would share it despite it’s clouded nature. Please bear in mind, there has been much water having raced under my rickety bridge since this was penned. If you can do so, appreciate it only for it’s color, depth and, though buried, ideal. And maybe, just maybe, it might seem vaguely familiar.

Diamond Dream

It is the time of my half one-hundredth birthday. It is time that I pull in my shingle, pull up stakes, fold up my tent and leave behind all that I had thought I’d made. It is time that I pass on the ring and make my way to Rivendale.

It has come to me via various avenues that what I seek, that is, all that I seek that is not truth, is but a dream. I walk in Dreamtime, a willing zombie, seeking solace where none can be found. I spend endless hours and untold effort constructing a flimsy house of cards whose accoutrements and detail, ever added and revered, only serve to make a dark and dreary dream more real.

This is what I have heard. For, in so far as I can truly attest, it is hearsay. Legend. Rumor. Myth. And, perhaps, nothing more.

I am compelled, against my great depth of wishes, to this admittance because I can but find shards of evidence that this “false” is, indeed, untrue. Like ragged bits of threadbare cloth strewn on the broken stems of shrubs that line my rugged and circling path, they hint of a passing, of the well-worn road, but I cannot seem to match all of the pieces together to form a suitable cloak. I cannot wear this garment. I can only gather waving bits of insinuation and blind optimism and stare at them in wonder, in hope, and do little else beyond conjuring possibility.

But I must know. There must be commitment. There must be some port to which I would seek to navigate for, otherwise, I founder rudderless making all that flows into my life and the life that flows from me into the horrid waiting arms of death more and more and ever more real.

Is it real? Am I me? Are you you?

I realize that, perhaps, the asking of these very questions may have been the speck of ice that incited a cosmic avalanche of shadowing fears and hapless misunderstandings.

Yet, it is still but a guess, a hunch, little more, maybe less.

I must know the truth.

I lay in bed all morning of every day of this week attempting to work out some verification, trying to blend into the sheets and mattress and pillowcases. I tried to mix with the fan-stirred atmosphere, to shimmer with the light, to toss and tumble restlessly and nowhere with the dust bunnies under the bed. I tried to wander into the kitchen, the den and out onto the deck without virtue of cell, blood, bone and skin. I tried to shake the thickening crust of a phantom life from the ember I suspect burns within and beyond. But despite all my sculpting, when I drew back my chisel, I found only here.

I believe I am here. I believe it with all my heart and soul. Every fiber of my restless being knows without further assurance that I take up this space and build these castles and shuffle these papers. I cannot escape this solid-as-diamond dream which threatens to become fragmented truth. I hold the utmost faith. I am a believer – a zealot.

So, where, then, does this leave me? I must cling to peace and unearth joy despite the bleeding and tears, shit and decay. Or I pass on the ring, the power it wields, and make my way to Rivendale.

But this consideration, or action, should I commit, exacts a hefty price. There will be less and less of me.

“What has become of him?” they will ask. “He’s no longer himself. His home is dusty and his bed is not made. His hair is unkempt and his beard grows ever whiter. Sometimes-most times-he smells and his cupboards are as bare as his conversation.”

Is this right? Is this the path? God accepts me as I am? Careless? What about cleanliness and Godliness? How can this be right?

I don’t want to be right. I want to be happy. Or so says the legend. And it is so, but at what price? And from what effort? And to what end?

Where is my teacher? Am I to do this alone? Where is the guru? Am I devotee to my own imaginings?

There are rare times I can force myself to slip into the deepest of sleep when it seems as though I can glide above the trees. It seems as though I can sing from the heart with vast love and enveloping beauty. I drift in calm and loving seas, knowing I am the beloved and knowing, just knowing … just knowing. Yet, the dream is so deep, and, so it appears, so very fleeting, when I return, when I awaken, I question. I doubt.

I do not want mystery! I cannot forever invest faith in phantasm and, for all I am certain, foolhardiness. I do not wish to hear some imagined Beelzebub’s satisfied laughter when I stand before him drained, broken and befuddled.

Yes, I know, it’s all good. That’s the spirit. Don’t worry, be happy. Chin up, old boy. Keep the faith. Fight the good fight. Stay on course. Damn the torpedoes…all’s well that ends well. All that jolly rot.

But it simply is not that simple. For I do not do what it is that I do in seclusion. There are others I have enlisted to march before, beside and behind me. They have been willing to set their declarations aside to hear my musings about what may or may be not. They are willing to follow if I am willing to lead.

For sure, I did not carve out his hollow on my own. Or did I? The myth implies that even the myth itself is of my very making. And that all who partake of it are but musings in a desperate flight of fancy. So, then, I lead us but round and round an ever-shrinking set of chairs until the music stops and we fight for a seat on a ride to nowhere. This cannot be right.

So I lay in bed every morning this week attempting to shuffle off the coil. Attempting to touch the hem of God. Attempting to tip the scales in favor of fluidity over finality, in the hope for freedom over fastness, in determination that there is more to me than merely me.

I must have a truth so as not to continually relay a lie. Not unlike myself, my brothers seek safe harbor. Every gull, seeking ground. Not unlike myself, they are myself, or so the story goes.

Yet there seems but one way to know, one path, one road, one hope. I must pass on the ring and make my way to Rivendale.

Unseen Angels

•04/06/2010 • 1 Comment

Whilst absorbing the pep talk from my morning Oprah newsletter that discusses how one can tap into one’s true power (that one being me today), I ran across a mention of a video that clearly demonstrates the meaning of true empowerment. The shocker is that it is a video involving what most of us would consider to be a hopeless person. Turns out this “hopeless” has spread far more love and hope than many of us would dare. And, unwittingly. In other words, she had no idea how her small act would open the hearts of so very many.

I don’t want to elaborate too much because this is simply something you need to see for yourself. The short of it is as follows: the film crew of the reality show What Would You Do?, once again taunting the public so as to gauge their flexibilities, had set up a scenario wherein a person would “fall out” in public and response would be captured on hidden camera. Their documentation shows that should a well-heeled person suddenly fall face-forward onto the pavement, within a few seconds some passerby went out of his or her way to offer assistance. Alternately, should a person who appeared to be a beggar or homeless or drunk crumple in place, most folks just walked on by. With one glaring exception.

Angel Linda Hamilton

Often homeless herself and barely able to walk without the assistance of a cane, Linda Hamilton, not only stopped in her tracks to check on a fallen brother, but, not possessing one of her own, prompted person after person to break out their cell phone and call for an ambulance. Most people ignored her as readily as they ignored the fallen man. When, finally, someone decided to engage and the authorities were alerted, all who’d come to the man’s aid waited patiently as the man (an actor, of course) found his way to his feet. All except Linda who, having done the exceptional, was allowed, suddenly forgotten and under-appreciated by the lingering crowd, to wander away from the scene as though she had never appeared.

Naturally, as all of this, with the exception of the passersby’s and Ms. Hamilton’s interplay, was staged. And what a film it makes. You can see it on Youtube.com by clicking here. Go see it. Now. What you will see is a blatant demonstration of contrast, similarity, misinterpretation, and, eventually, forgiveness.

When the affluent looking actress hits the pavement, most anyone, who sees her as they see themselves, stops immediately to help out. “This could be me,” they think. Similarity. But, in contrast, when an assumed indigent passes out in public, most see him as definitively separate, apart, different and, unfortunately, unworthy . .. or so shows the film. That is until someone, having likely walked in this male actor’s shoes, appears on the scene. Here, even in a mind perhaps considered less capable of critical or abstract thinking, the thought surfaces, “This could be me.” Similarity. Yet most of the people approached by this well-meaning Samaritan, not only rushed past the fallen actor, they saw both him as well as the pleading “accomplice” as unworthy.

Judgment. Fear. Arrogance. Separation. Division.

When one of “our own” is threatened, we’re all over it. When, however, it is “the other,” we could seem to care less. What we fail to recognize is that we are ALL our own! Each and everyone of us! No, in a hectic world, we may not have time to take care of everybody. But we must “bother” to exercise compassion whenever the moment should arise. We must “bother” to lift each other up.

As clearly shown by this poignant document, it is a matter of seeing. Truly seeing. If we see others, anyone at all, as unworthy, we become unworthy. Judge not less you become the judged. Think I’m missing the point. Watch the video again. Those who helped the affluent fallen woman saw her as worthy and become worthy helpers. Those who resisted the unworthy man, become, right before our very eyes, unworthy. Some of them, in the eyes of many viewers, being far too like us, leave us feeling a little heartless and ashamed.  (If they don’t, perhaps you should check yourself for a pulse.)

Why this sense of discomfort? Because in some deeply buried dungeon of our hearts we instinctively, inherently recognize that ALL are worthy. It matters not who falls or who walks by or who reaches in to engage. When our brothers are mistakenly seen as different, forgiveness is nowhere to be found. But when we understand that we all tend to fear as well as fall, some more or less often than others, when we can see that we all need a hand up, ALL, at one time or another, forgiveness is all that remains.

Your world will push you today. Respond with love and forgiveness and watch your world change.

It’s the Message

•03/30/2010 • Leave a Comment

Jesus could never have said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” No compassionate teacher would plant such an misconception. To do so would be to deliberately confuse the messenger with the message. All Jesus ever did was point to God declaring, ” See!”

What he said was, “Mine is the way, the truth and the life.”

Though he offered the knowledge of life, he never claimed to own it.

Granted, I recognize how this revelation risks my alienation from many who know and love me. But many who know and love me tend to view Jesus in a light he himself never accepted. A closer look at his entrance into Jerusalem prior to the last few days of his physical life clearly shows this perspective. It is a superb model of depth, reach, humility and grace.

Prior to his arrival, Jesus had foreseen how he would be regarded by the masses who greeted him. He also knew that should he allow such a false impression to take root, the poisonous and wiry hedge that sprang from it would ever obscure the truth of the simple message he was intent upon delivering. He realized that the glorifying crowds, seeing him as deliverer king; come to wrest power, life and wealth from the governing Romans, would be solidified should he boldly glide on gleaming steed over the fronds and cloaks tossed into his path. Instead, and so as to amplify his humble ties to a beloved brethren, he chose to meander quietly past the city gates on the colt of a forlorn, and borrowed, donkey. And though word of his works had arrived well before him, magnificent and miraculous as they were, the unspoken message made via his carefully selected mode of arrival said, “My brothers, I am no more magnificent or miraculous than you. And how magnificent you are, indeed!”

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” – John 14:12

Though offered by many of the followers of David lining the street that day, (as well as by the impetus of dark thought as Jesus fasted in the wilderness many days prior), Jesus accepted no crown beyond the one of thorns offered by taunting Romans on his slow march toward resurrection.

Foregoing his intense and extreme example, this is the resurrection Jesus would have us undertake. To cast off our crowns of specialness, to accept our humble love for one and another, and to celebrate our Oneness in his and in God’s brilliantly shimmering love.

“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me . . . ” – John: 14:11

Dreaming the Dreamer’s Dream of the Dreamer

•02/11/2010 • Leave a Comment

My dreams can be vivid. Engaging. Alluring. Thus, I tend to spend too much time in bed riffling through them and having a good ol’ time. That is when they don’t turn on my like a vicious dog, which many a dream has done. Then I awaken with a start—sweaty and shaken—usually shouting aloud, “What the hell was that all about? Was that really necessary?” Of course, I never receive an answer to those rattling blasts. But then, I already know the truth of it.

Clearly, according to both legend as well as the science of psychology, what I witness in that fluid realm of mind-flutter is merely my deeper self unhinged—untethered to the conventions and behavioral patterns of the “waking world,” so called. I spend my nights attempting to get at the heart of my issues. It is as though I was on the psychoanalyst’s couch and he was coaching me through some odd but alleviating metaphor, a hypnotic hallucination that reveals and unleashes, hence brings to vision those parts of myself that, in broad daylight, I refuse to attend.

I say refuse. Oftentimes, though,  these nightly jaunts through a timeless, mutating landscape are mere clarifications of things I know, but could better grasp seen another way. Last night’s dream provides a case in point.

This dream, which came right before arising, spotlighted a pair of twins with super powers. I was one of the twins. We had one grand adventure, which I cannot now recall. Yet, at the end of the adventure, I found myself climbing a wall, at the top of which, my twin sat waiting. The wall was short at the outset. But I saw that as not much of a climb, not much fun. So I extended it, and the cliff grew in height as I forced it to do so with my thoughts.

Climbing in Granite Gorge, CO - 2007

The cliff was of dirt, not stone, offering little in way of a secure grip. In fact, I think I recall attempting to turning it to stone so that the climb would be more certain. It may or may not have, I don’t remember. But I continued the climb for the sheer fun and challenge of it.

During the climb, the wall seemed to change grade and complexity. Some moments found the grade steep and sheer. Others found the wall with ample precipice and grip. Either way, I never found the climb overly taxing, just fun to do.

Just before I reached the perch upon which my twin sat smiling down at me, a large, Sikorsky-style helicopter was flitting to a landing. I say flitting because it’s rotors were not turning and it was as though it was flitting like a leaf in wind. One of it’s rotors appeared to be locked perpendicular to the fuselage axis and was servings as a wing. While watching this flitting landing with amusement, I said laughingly to my twin, “Look! Our bambulance has been converted to a fixed-wing aircraft.”

The aircraft was painted as though it was an air-ambulance, hence the joking term “bambulance,” a humorous association from my past that I’ve neither time nor inclination to recount here. And it appeared that the aircraft belonged to us, the twins, as an integral part of our mission to save.

Twins? Super powers? Mission? Save?

This little piece of a dream lasted only a few moments, but many potentially intriguing things were conveyed. Trick is, can they be teased out?

Who were these omnipotent twins of which I was a bookend? No doubt, twin aspects of myself. They seemed Pan-like and playful. Yet, ever-ready for action. Since no action was apparently to be had, I invented the wall. Something challenging to do.

Hmm. Here’s some thought. Go with me . . .

All aspects of me are omnipotent. But, for some reason I have decided to split myself into two aspects. One rests calmly at journey’s end, high atop an imagined mountain. The other is so enamored with the idea of drama and challenge so as to invent it where it does not actually exist. The ambulance is a joke. Without its rotors turning, such a vehicle would drop like a stone. Yet ours fluttered from the sky like a leaf borne on a breeze. Another invention. Unnecessary, but interesting, alluring. A technical abstraction, yet with a noble purpose, saving those in peril. No one in peril was ever seen, thus the purpose was, indeed, no more than abstraction. Yet, it felt important [read: special?] to be at the ready when called upon.

Reviewing this last paragraph I can see certain affiliations with my own life (which, what else would this demonstrate?). My mission, at present, though not couched in such terms, is, from a Teacher of God’s perspective, to save. At least, to help truly. Yet, according to ACIM, this helping is little more than sheer fantastical exercise, like climbing the wall since the whole works in the ego domain is no more than phantasmagorical dream. The truth of myself is that I am already at the peak, watching the whole works in calm, detached amusement. Impossible things are projected before my vision while some split-off aspect of myself feigns heroics. Interesting, though, how I more readily identified with the climber than the sitter. Still too inured by illusory shenanigans to just sit idly by smiling. After all, what’s “special” about that?

Wow. No wonder I tend to sleep too long. Fascinating, captain.

Yet, the time has come to wake up. Best to do so before I’m forced to deal with the “alarm.”

Knock Knock

•01/28/2010 • Leave a Comment

Most people spend their days in reverie—on the job under remote control, in the skies on autopilot, along the highway asleep at the wheel. For this very reason are there conflicts, turbulence and potholes. Awakening is no accident.

Morning Prayer

•01/27/2010 • Leave a Comment

Though I have shared this Morning Prayer once already in an earlier post (Showing Up and…), I have since adjusted it a tad and I has a bit more, oh, shall we say, umph. Plus I wanted to isolate and sort of showcase it for those who may wish to use it, though, if you have your own that works, by all means stick with it.

There is a bit of a routine that goes along with the prayer itself. The instant I agree that it’s time to finally oust myself from under the covers after waking, I give a good hardy stretch. While doing so, I reach within to allow for as much love as possible to fill my heart and mind. Then I give a light smile and offer the prayer which goes like this:

Holy Spirit,
Supplant me this day.
Use my hands, feet, body, Mind and Voice as your own.
Guide me as to where to go,
What to do,
What to say,
And to whom.
Help me to perform those miracles that you would have performed this day.
I give this holy instant to you.
Be you in charge.
For your direction reveals peace.
And as to all my blessings,
Including those as yet to be,
Thank you.

There you go.

I never do the Amen thing afterwards. Can’t say why, exactly. Just don’t feel it I guess. But feel free to adapt this little Morning Prayer in whatever way best puts you into an awareness of gratitude and eternal connectedness. After all, that’s what it is for.

Be blissed!

Christmas Every Day

•12/03/2009 • Leave a Comment

Recently, a friend growing gingerly despondent as “the season” approacheth facebooked his lament on the jolly rigors of the holly days. First let me say that I’m almost certain that William Zinsser would recommend relegating the particular pseudo-verb—facebooked—to strict residence in the Land of Noun. But then, I’ve yet to check with him on this and will have to get back with you. Let’s just say he’s not likely to go all a-twitter. That piece of editorial biz out of the way, I’ll now go on about my friend’s going off. He was basically paralleling (another tasty pseudo-verb) Charlie Brown’s dissociation with “the season” due to it’s rampant, and I do mean rampant commercialism.

I get it. It does seem a little strange to see tinsely, glittery Christmas trees going up in Home Depot before my jack-o-lantern has turned to mush. And this more commonly occurring oddity is, of course, followed immediately with the fury of the mad shopping dash—mad because it requires us to push ourselves way beyond our already blistering pace. We end up ditching our rarely appreciated daily respites such as a simple lunch, a hardy workout, meditation, a quiet dinner, some quality face-time (not facebooking time) with family, the kids or dear friends. All of those reinvigorating moments get sucked like sewage into the spiraling vacuum of the holiday maelstrom, surfacing only momentarily if we can manage to get a vacation day or two before the sudden onslaught of the New Year. For me, it just all goes by so blindingly fast. I no more hear, “Deck the halls with . . . , ” and WHOOSH, it’s time to settle up with the IRS. To quote Fred Willard’s Mike LaFontaine character in A Mighty Wind, “Hey! Wha’ happened?”

Then, there’s the guilt.

“GUILT! It’s Christmas! Birth of our Lord! Happy endings! Coming together to celebrate,” you say.

One of those is on the money, but I’ll toy with that in a minute. First, as I said, there’s the guilt. And this particular guilt is born of expectation (as if the other flavors of guilt aren’t.) Expectation, that is, of things piled high under a glowing indoor pine. Let me tell you, my son has expectations. This year, things being as they are, like the tree, we’ve trimmed those expectations. Yet, if the soft underbelly of the tinsely conifer should turn up lonesome or overly sparse Christmas morning, you can bet there’ll be nog a-flyin’. So I must make certain to put enough time as well as dough aside to meet said expectations or the guilt that’s driving me to make certain I do not fail in my obligation will literally drive me into utter oblivion. That is, an oblivion beyond that which I already claim as my daily comfort zone.

Okay, so I’m mountaineering a molehill. But, then, am I? Really? How many of us are pushing ourselves and our bank accounts into the “ouch” column so as to make certain that we’ve “done our Christmas duty?” Be honest. Makes you want to use the other spelling of duty.

“Hold on a scad there, Roy boy! Christmas is not about getting. You’ve got it all twisted around. It’s about giving, bonehead! Where’s the love?”

Absolutely right! If I buy one item, one teensy microscopic thingy whilst driven by guilt, I’ve gotten the whole works backwards.

My point.

Christmas is not about rushing madly to and fro, competing with family and friends, or self, over latest and greatest; dashing into crowded stores, being dredged through dragging lines, or feeling that if we’ve not done our best, done enough, or spent the most, it is the same as doing nothing. To that I say nothing doing. Rather, it’s the spirit of giving that matters, the spirit of Christmas that makes all of the rushing about worthwhile. In short, it is all about Spirit; also said as connectedness, reunion, and love.

Christmas, beyond all of the tinsel and trappings, is a celebration of oneness. It’s the giving to one another something we too often fail to share during the rest of the year, the rest of the year being the majority of our lives. Love. Quiet, unexpectant, unconditional, unmistakable love. Most of the year we bury this love under a smoldering pile of needs, or disguise it as something it isn’t like sex or food or work or money or fill in the blank. But when Christmastime rolls around, true love threatens to burst forth like the bright red leaves of a freshly purloined poinsettia. At least, we all somehow agree upon a reason to come together, to share in our good fortune, if only by giving gifts, and to recognize, if only subconsciously, the whole, that being us,  is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Peter Gabriel said it as, “More Than This.” And so it is.

For this one reason alone, I look forward to Christmas. Yes, the shopping is inane, the crowds brutal, the traffic snarling. But when the quiet eve before comes, and I’m snuggled under a blankie in new jammies with footies and the bottom buttoned up, sipping hot cocoa among the most wonderful, giving and loving people on the planet; singing, laughing, sharing, and celebrating a deep warming joy, whatever the effort, it’s worth it.

I vote for Christmas every day. With certain modifications, thank you.