untangling the tangled
As I move through my life with my people, I find it a marvel really that so much of the world is shaped by popular opinion and not any real attention to what should be valued. I’ll give you some of what I’m referring to.
Do you ever notice how family is a form of separation from the rest of the world? Not that we shut everyone else out but just being born into/having a family automatically draws some sort of gate around you that you are expected to stay in and adhere to the rules that they present to you. When you learn those rules, you start to want to apply them to the whole world as if it’d been born inside your gate and your gate is the same gate that surrounded your family since its inception. Being part of your community also has the effect of separating based on probably the same values because your family did not come by them alone. This is the bigger gate that surrounds all the other gates. You don’t even fucking know what it looks like to be inside other people’s gates. You don’t want to know. You want the inside of their gate to look just like yours, so you feel safe. So, let’s say you are one of those people who does not live in a diverse community, your gate, as well as those people in your community, might adhere to being in a world where you don’t care about those people who don’t blend with the collective and what you know. That is the popular opinion I’m referring to. You decorate your home like you see everyone else do. You start to see everyone is wearing a certain trend and you don’t want to stand out, so you opt for the same trend that ends up almost being the uniform of your community. You let the radio in your area dictate the music you listen to. You let the news tell you about the world you are in and how there are people who don’t agree with you, and you fear they are out to destroy you.
There are so many things we are fed as a society that really don’t add up and we never stop to question that. If “they” say it, then it must be true. I can give you many examples.
Do you believe sex is the central focus of your relationship with your significant other? Why? Is almost everything else more important? Anyone can have sex all alone. You don’t even need another person. Do you believe this because that is how it was presented to you? Can you imagine for a second, all the beautiful moments in your life with the people you love and see that as you shift from one moment to the next, that great night of sex never even comes up? You can have sex every effin’ day, with a different person or the same and you do not have to love them or care one bit about them… and…it can still be great. Sex and love do not even intersect when you think about it. That is why when you are done, one of you is probably going to roll over and go straight to sleep or at least one of you will hope that’s what happens. The only reason you get it turned around is because you were taught that way. You care so much about it because you think you should. Boys were taught how to procure the conquest and girls were taught it is their duty to service men. What if we never looked at sex like that? What if we looked at it like anything that nourishes our bodies? Like a drink of water or ripe fruit from a tree. No one is beholden to another. There is no expectation.
A lot of you believe you came from God. How could the God you believe in create a mistake, if God is what you think God is? Yet anyone who lives within a gate where things go down different than you think they should, this is somehow not God created but seen as making a choice.
Who said boy and who said girl as if these were the only options? Why a label at all? Did God decide that all sexes weren’t of equal value or did a King decide the Bible needed a version that would amplify him politically and give rise to the world he wanted to see, where women had no power or voice? If there is a God, don’t you believe your real test is to break out of your limited thinking? Did God make this person different from you and put them in your community gate as a test to see how you’d use your portion of the holy trinity (holy ghost) to love and understand or to see if you’d attack and shun? Could it be that maybe you are supposed to figure it out on your own despite the ugliness and fear perpetrated in the Bible? Could there ever be enough times that God commands men to rape women and murder children to make you finally say, “this cannot be the way.”? Will your fear of questioning a thing that is so obviously wrong, be the thing that entraps you and keeps you in the hell you are in now, but you fear is on the horizon? It is not coming, it is here. Could that be what the God thing is all about? If that’s what is in your gate, I have no right to tell you it is wrong, but shouldn’t you want to examine it for yourself or does popular opinion dictate. Being in the gate isn’t flowing. It is the lack of flow. It is your story being written for you instead of you authoring it yourself.
I was at the Bluebird in Nashville one fate filled night and along came in a long-haired stranger named Kevin Welch who imparted some words of wisdom to me when I was so deep in the church, I could not see the light of day. He asked me if I ever spent the night in Nashville when I came to town and I told him how often I attended church and that it was near impossible for me to do that. He said, “If God created everything, how can any part of that be bad if you partake of it?” In my sad little brainwashed mind I thought, “You wish, I wonder if he’s ever even read the Bible.” For days what he said rang in my head and I could not let it go. It was the first time I’d encountered someone with free thinking. I almost didn’t make it to the Bluebird that night and I’d have missed one sentence that would end up changing my life. What happened after that simple little thing was, me deciding that there might be people in the world that did not believe like the people in my little fenced up world and if they didn’t believe that, then what did they believe.
Next, I was at Tower Records and found a book called, by Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. When I bought it on February 12, 1994, I didn’t have enough money to pay for it and I bought it on a credit card I didn’t have money to make payments on. I still have the paper receipt that was ran across one of those old school card imprint things. I still don’t understand how this book found me or why I chose to go in debt for it, but it changed my life. This is on the back of the book and if you just read that, it could open your heart to something you’ve never known before:
Gurumayi tells us that the Truth, the essence of our being, is present at every moment and we must make the effort to go within and find it. In the beginning you might think that it is esoteric or beyond your reach…but when the experience of the Self takes place you realize how close it is to you.”
God is within, beauty is within, divinity is within: This is an age-old message. However, just saying it is not enough. We have to contemplate it. “It is said that man is what he thinks…When you contemplate the Truth, you become the Truth. And the Truth, she tells us, Is always full…absolutely satisfying.”
Since COVID touches every aspect of our lives, you see a lot of people giving credit to God when a family member is spared from death. I seldom see anyone thank the doctors, nurses, or multiple hospital staff members it takes to keep the place running or the healing happening. I see God get a lot of credit for what other people do. I see people put every ounce of themselves into something and then thank God when their work pays off. You’ll say, “thank God I found someone to help me move” while that person stands there in front of you, wet with sweat and worn to the bone. I hear people say their thank-yous to God for the planet we live on, and they will ask you how it could all just be without a creator. We watch this world create itself every damn day. Do the trees, the bees, the wind, the rain, the soil, the sky, the moon, the sun, and all the living beings not deserve that gratitude?
We’ve all been trained inside our little gates and this struggling world is what we have created with that training. Would you ever consider maybe, trying to question on whose authority this lump of shit was handed down to us? Can we just look at all this ugliness we believe and maybe cast some sun on it instead of blaming or thanking a God? I’m sure if there is a God, that being is without the ego mind of human beings and would not need nor want credit for anything good that happens in the world. No one decides what’s in your gate once you are of an age that you can think for yourself. Yet here you are continuing to be controlled by it and you are too scared to examine it. King James made sure of that. Why would Jesus say that you are God, turn around and point back to it being said in Psalms to reiterate and not mean it?
Psalms 82:6 I said, "You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, "Isn't it written in your scripture,
I said, you are gods?
If that scares you it should. It means you are too brainwashed to believe the thing you say you believe because you have been taught to fear analyzing how you see the world and if there is truth to it. It also means you are probably not living up to the potential you have to live an extraordinary life.
If we go back to where we started on this piece of writing, we can see that beauty is in the details. It’s in the diversity. It’s in allowing a thing to be what it is with as little resistance as we can give it. That means people won’t always agree with you. It means you won’t always be right? It means at the end of it all, there is no moment when it all becomes perfect. The ocean is so beautiful but not without its hazards and danger. The one hope you have out there in those waves is to go with them. That wave does not allow anyone to determine its path, it does what a wave does, and it cannot be trained inside a gate to do anything else. You can live by the laws within your gate, or you can realize we are all in this together and we ride it out however we are moved. It won’t always be pretty, and it won’t always be safe, but it will be. If your only option is to stay in the gate, you’ll always be separate. I think keeping us separate is exactly what those in power hope for. If we see our power to pull together and flow, we won’t try so hard to compete and have and have and have. How will the rich stay rich? How will the powerful stay powerful?
In meditation recently I’ve tried to imagine my ideal world into existence and then expand it out to all living beings. When I do this, I always get stuck at expanding this imagined world out to everyone. When I do that, these thoughts start to emerge of a formless, golden emptiness that encompasses only love. At that point I lose any comprehension of how all of that would work and how useless that world would seem to be. Would we all just be a glob of golden loving goo without a self? Do we really want heaven or utopia? If you try to see your way in a world like this, you quickly realize how little purpose it’d serve. Do we want to be a formless/emptiness that only exudes love? Try as you may on your own but if you do try to imagine it, do you find yourself more lost? Now, let’s think about this, glance back over the last time you just felt like you had the night of your life. Was there anything in that night that wouldn’t make it in heaven? Think about all the times you laughed over the shitting on of something you had a mutual distaste for with your friends. Think about your stories that make you happy but are not even office safe. Think about the times you pulled off some foolish feat that made you happy, but you know you shouldn’t tell certain people. There were times you broke every rule, and it was amazing. Now, think about all the times you were giving to humanity and performing something selfless. What about the time you gave, the money you gave, the love you gave? Could only goodness sustain us? Would we witness goodness at all if that were all that existed?
When you give yourself time to look at these different pictures of how your soul might exist, it’s not hard to see that the purpose of life isn’t to only be happy and succeed. If it were, there’d be no death or pain. So, what is it then? Is the purpose to walk through the earth, fire and ice and be in harmony with it all as it comes and goes? Is it to learn that nothing good would exist if we didn’t have the contrast to help us see? Is the purpose of something bad happening in our world the chance to start over, like moving to a new house where you get to caste out all those things hidden in your closets that you forgot was holding you down? Is its purpose to make your life new and not be caught permanently in the disruption and live there?
Somehow, we have been sold that happiness and having more is the goal. There are so many rules to keep us confined and in line. At the end of life, we just want to win some prize and we try so hard to get to that moment that we forget the prize is living every day.
I realize I’ve been all over the map with this piece and there is so much else I could refer you to as examples of the point I’m making but I’m not trying to write another book with this. I just want to remain within a few pages and keep this in a range someone might take the time to read.
Do I understand that I am both telling you to allow people to be behind their gate, but I am also telling you to check out of your own? Yep, I do. If someone steps out, it shows others the way. Freedom isn’t in flags, borders, religion, laws, taxes and making someone else less than you. Freedom is when everyone feels equal and able to walk in the world holding their own space. Let’s get out of the gate and move in the wind whether this next moment is good, or if everything just went to ruin. It will be both and that’s okay. That is life.