Sunday, July 17, 2005

Looking for God with a Carload of Hitchhikers.

Most people seem to have a problem with how to approach God. It’s one of the things that make group activity like churches and temples and mosques and ashrams popular. In a way it’s like swimming at a crowded beach. Most people are more comfortable with that. Of course, when a shark gets someone there are a lot more people running up and down the beach; being excited for some reason and chattering with nervous energy that is almost an insult to the victim. At night, out in the ocean alone, it’s a different thing.

I suppose everyone knows the feeling, or can imagine the feeling of being in dark water, the bottom untouchable and the knowledge that large things with teeth swim in the currents below. It’s true in the oceans of the world and it is true of the ocean inside us. Most of us don’t want to go too deep into either one of those oceans. Unfortunately, in some cases, with the ocean inside you, you don’t have to go there, it will come to you.

There are ways to cause a storm upon the ocean within; alcohol, drugs, unbridled emotions and a too firm belief in the unreal. These can all individually, and especially in combination, lead to disaster. Mind how you go.

For most people the approach to God is a casual thing. You go to church on Sunday, you operate according to a generic moral code that keeps most people on rails and allows for most people to walk around most of the time without the kind of unfortunate events you might expect in Baghdad or ghetto-land. But shit happens everywhere. It has a DNA of specific content and a direction finder that would amaze you. It has a tracking device and a memory of the last place it was in when you were the shit that happened to someone else. There is no safe hiding place but one. That safe hiding place has certain sanctuary requirements though. You need to go through the cleaners; be ‘washed in the blood’ as some put it, take off your shoes, take off your persona and generally cease to be the person that its come looking for. Some great fonts of power can neutralize these forces through grace and by faith. You can lay it off on Jesus. You can take refuge in the dharma. You can do many different things that all amount to the same thing and that is my point.

Most people not only have a problem with how to approach God but they seem to need to complicate it as much as possible. This is one of the good things about finding God through great tragedy or trauma, you’re not so inclined to embellish the rose or gild the lily. Some people think if one chant is good then fifteen of them are better. Some people think that you need as many bells and whistles as possible; after all, you’re dealing with the ineffable (grin).

Then again, most people, when they are shopping for their God access kit are looking for ready made and not do it yourself. Depending on their sense of drama and, of course, depending on what they got fixed up with on arrival, they will opt for plain or fancy accordingly. If you look at it logically and objectively you should tumble immediately to the fact that all of this is extraneous except for the simplest possible position, perspective and practice. It cracks me up to see the aristocracy of the Catholic Church all got up in their Halloween outfits. It’s true as well of a number of religions that should know better. The thing is, when you come down to it, it’s all about maintaining power in the external. It’s about getting paid big so that you can walk big. It’s another kind of Las Vegas and you know; Las Vegas is about money.

The most amazing thing just happened. Occasionally I like to smoke some tobacco and in the midst of this essay I decided to take a break and go get some. Instead of going where I usually go I went to another place. This is because the other night I was performing at a club (the place I would have usually gone) and it was one of those great evenings. People were very responsive and later, sitting at my table, many people joined me and all started singing with me. I had a few beers on this soft summer night and when it broke up a young German musician asked me to join him in the garden outside and continue. I went out there with him and wasn’t singing long before a lady, who had been sleeping in an apartment above, started yelling at us. She knew who I was. I apologized and left quickly. I didn’t want to run into her today so I went to another place. I stood at the counter and waited for the waitress to come in from the tables outside. Guess what? It was her. I said, “What are you doing here?” She said, “I’m working here now.” You have no idea how strange this is. She never worked anywhere but this other place. Imagine. Well, she was very friendly. She likes me and I like her. We cleared it right up. I walked away shaking my head at the strange irony, even more so considering what I had been writing.

You just never know.

Truth is unadorned because, clothed in its own essential beauty there is nothing it could add that would enhance it. As I have said before, ‘when the truth takes off her clothes the world disappears’ The world is the clothes laid over the truth. All appearances, all the things you see, are an overlay. Only the truth is real. The world is a kaleidoscope and the truth is the light that makes accurate perception possible. The world itself gives off another light, a false light that provides another meaning to perception. It is here that your troubles begin.

God and truth are what remain AFTER appearances are stripped away. Before that there is no truth except that of the relative world constantly changing. One chant, one prayer, one direction are all you need to get to the heart of the matter. The more things you add, the more clutter.

For those whose approach to God is casual, progress is determined by time spent. It’s like learning to play the guitar. One hour a week is less efficacious than one hour a day. Five hours a day is far more efficacious than one hour a day. And God is content to lead folk at their own speed. The mother watches her children at play. THE mother knows where each of them are at; her attention ratchets up a notch when they get rowdy, more so when they cry, especially if they are injured. Often they wander far afield into many lifetimes. You have to cry intensely and incessantly to get her to come. She’s not going to materialize at every little thing, especially if your intention is on the appearances instead of her. She is in the appearances too but after a different manner.

Pray without ceasing.

If you want God to come you have to make it your full time job. God will come. I don’t really want anything else. Of course I would like a nicer, more secluded environment, but only because it would make my pursuit and engagement easier- or so I think. Now, my environment is not bad at all but I am still too close to those who are far more casual than I. At my present stage this is often a distraction and an annoyance. Later on it won’t matter where I am, now it seems to. I feel pulled down by close proximity. My telepathic nature is under assault by the thoughts in the slipstream as if I were in a crowded theater and... I live in a small village surrounded by forest. Well, five or six thousand residents I would guess.

Perhaps I am still too casual. And I think about what else I might do; some new approach, some new technique that would bring me closer quicker. It’s not a good idea to change horses in midstream. There’s no point in digging unless you know that what you are seeking can be found in the process. Quite obviously, in this case, the digging takes place within. We have heard God resides in the heart so it is there we must dig. You have your shovel; your chant, your prayer, your intensity, your faith (which is made stronger with every shovel load); why....just carry on. Just carry on. If it is not going quickly enough for you then dig harder, dig longer. And ask for help.

I look at my life now and I measure what I do against what I want. Some things we must discard. Some things must change. I returned to my macrobiotic diet and Wow! What a wonder. Some things come back and pester me; sure, I used to go out with them. They don’t understand why I don’t want to do that any more. Some things have to die and we are reluctant to do that but... when it comes down to the nitty gritty there is less confusion about your choices. There are far fewer choices.


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The 3rd Elf