Thursday, December 3, 2009
It has been brought to my attention in the last few weeks that this little blog has actually helped a few friends out in one small way or another, so I guess I've already accomplished what I set out to do. It's funny to me that so many people want or feel the need to talk about their spirituality and yet it seems to be the most taboo subject around, even more than sex. Especially in a town like Austin, where so many people want to appear hip, smart, and self-reliant. It's just not something you bring up in casual conversation. Of course there's very valid reasons for that... no one seems to agree upon what spirituality is, or how to interpret that experience.
Well, I think I've reached a point of epiphany: When faced with impending doom, no matter how it actually plays out, you may find that you reach some peace with these ideas fairly quickly. Allow me to expound: My whole life, and yours too, I would imagine, we've been charged with subscribing to one specific belief system or another. If we're unable to do that, or have questions, then we're labeled as "heathens" or "unworthy" of the deeper meanings and gifts that a strong belief system can supposedly give us.
Well, maybe it's because lately I'm delirious from the side effects of this disease, or maybe it's because I'm just too tired to fight what I know in my soul to be true anymore, but here's what I know, without a doubt, that is undeniably, irrefutably true:
It doesn't matter what we believe in as long as we do the right things. There. I said it. You may now open the floodgates of dissent and hatred, folks.
I personally believe that there is a force that lives inside every part of this universe, including us, that is benevolent, powerful, and quite conscious and active. I believe we are all a part of that, and that all the differences among us make up a part of that greater whole. I'm not here to condemn anyone for not believing in a certain God or religious ideal, because I'm not in a position to pass judgement on anyone else. No one is. All I can do is be as good and as positive as I possibly can be, and put as much love into this world as I can without rest or hesitation or fear. And yet, I still call myself a Christian. How can that be?
It's certainly not because I live in fear of screaming for salvation on my deathbed so that I'll get a free pass into some gilded palace in the clouds. It is because I believe that something divine and otherworldly happened on this earth, in that a man was able to become more than a man, shedding all the useless illusions of this reality, and show us all how to love one another purely and simply. Follow that example fiercely and you'll find it's the easiest thing in the world to do. When you create love out of nothing, it comes right back to you. Insert Beatles lyrics here.
The reason I can say these things with pure conviction lies in the fact that I'm just not afraid of anything anymore. It's an ecstatic and blissful feeling, and one that I hope will last. I have often been criticized in the past for being "too nice". What the hell is wrong with that statement? I think the biggest wuss move to make is to continually keep a guard up and worry only about your own problems. I guarantee you that it takes a much stronger person to be consistently kind, open, and helpful to every soul that one encounters. Or, to quote the mob boss from "A Bronx Tale", after he and his cronies have finished giving a violent lesson in manners to an unruly biker gang: "Don't ever mistake kindness for weakness again!"
It's that very lack of fear that enables me to be at peace with whatever life throws at me. Letting go.
I was getting prepped for an MRI yesterday, and as they strapped me in and I started to go up into the long, claustrophobic tube, the tech related to me that I merely had to squeeze the squeezing thing they put in my hand if I felt like I was freaking out or I couldn't handle it anymore. At first, it seemed ridiculous that those thoughts would even enter someone's mind, but then I got it: It's that lack of control that some people can't handle. When you're stuck inside a long white metal tube for thirty or more minutes, there's nothing to do but be along with yourself and your thoughts. You can't check your email or facebook or take your kids to soccer practice or go get a cup of coffee. It's just you, alone, with your worst critic. Then the deafening, rhythmic sounds of the machine start up as the scanning begins. Somehow these sounded more musical to me than terrible, and I automatically played my own melodies over the top of the sounds, akin to mashing up a happy song by Pulp with some hardcore industrial techno music. It helped pass the time as I had to hold my breath to blue-in the-face levels for each image.
I traditionally loathe the stereotypical ideas of all that New-Age crap, like "put yourself in your happy place." But I did find myself high up on a mountain, smiling down onto the snow-capped peaks of the happy world below, jumping around from cliff to cliff and singing a joyful song to nobody. Turning demons into potty jokes.
Laughing, laughing, LAUGHING!