Did you know that…“embargo” spelled backwards is “o grab me?” Colin Mochrie
Love is like a fart, if you force it, it’s probably crap. Joe Wiley
When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone. Tennessee Williams
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. Carl R. Rogers
Obviously, life can be both messy and wondrous. As the comedian Chris Rock noted, his solution “is trying to find God, before God finds me.” That end-run notion has some resonance.
Sometimes I feel like I’m watching myself on a Nat Geo program as though I was an animal trying to figure out a solution. It’s a feeling of amusement and cuteness followed by an “Oh no!”
Personally, I’ve operated on a set of experiences/interpretations I was initially lucky to discover when I was an early adolescent and which continued to resonant and grow from there. Unfortunately, though the compass works well, I frequently find myself on some tributary that has nothing to do with the path I intended to follow. It’s not that tributary exploration is the villain, it’s that I can forget my intention—forget to look at the compass. In other words, it might look like cuteness to an alien looking on, but fumbling about is not so much fun to either the animal trying to solve a problem or to me.
Nonetheless, like any sentient being, there are guides. These are my “dashboard gauges” that work pretty well if I remember to check whilst wandering and wondering about. I haven’t found better gauges so far, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. In fact, on that same dashboard, I have caveat gauges.
1) The Divine cannot be usurped. The devil in me can be. Caveat: I could be wrong, so tread carefully. Contaminated drops returning to the ocean could eventually contaminate the ocean. However, I can easily see that oceans have boundaries, I cannot fathom limits of the Divine. It seems to me the devil has limits. Keep checking in anyway.
2) Everything is offered, nothing is asked for. Later I heard a corollary, a line in whatever movie it was: “everything is permitted.” Caveat: By no measure or means does this mean “I can go willy-nilly” because I think it would make no difference. Cheek in with the paradox of nothing matters vs. it all matters. Both interact with being and doing.
3) Beauty, love, and happiness are inherent. We can usurp them. Caveat: Don’t take these three lightly. Watch out for screwing up, but that’s not the head measure as screw-ups are guaranteed. Failure can mean I haven’t learned yet.
4) Mischief can be divine, just like divine comedy. Use wisely. Caveat: There is a line between positive, playful mischief and negative, disruptive mischief—watch my step.
5) The meaning of life is being asked of me, not the other way around. I answer in my behaviors. Caveat: While every behavior is an answer, some are better answers than others. Awful answers mean correction time, not crucifixion time.
6) The Divine safety net includes re-assimilation and accommodation if necessary—a stop-and-start-again, get-out-of-jail-free-card. Caveat: Also, not a reason to go willy-nilly. Re-assimilation may be the end of a self, like a drop of water returning to the cosmic ocean. If there is not a “self,” there is no sentience, no sense of right or wrong, no remembering—ergo no heaven or hell.
7) Hell is optional, not required. For example, hell is my creation and/or other’s. I do not honor any worthy teaching by creating hell. Caveat: The “zombie effect” is in play. Parasitic or viral invasion of the nervous system can usurp one’s humanity and thus one’s behaviors, posing a danger to other human beings (other life forms are also vulnerable to this effect). Being so usurped is not the same as dehumanization inflicted by humans upon other humans. Become even more empathetic, even while realizing the danger.
8) “My” soul is not mine to sell, it’s on loan. I may get to keep it if I’m clear enough. If not, see item #6. Note: I’ve noticed that every Faustian-like story, whatever the culture I’ve run across, requires the devil to get an agreement from an individual. Hmmm. Caveat: Respect that I can and will be fooled. Find a “place” that is mine to rest and refresh as being on guard is wearing.
9) All beings are worthy of my respect. Ugly and hate are apps to use at my peril. Caveat: This does not mean there is nothing to fear and that I won’t interpret the unfamiliar as ugly. There are realistic fears and reason to be cautious of the unfamiliar. Being appalled is a way to build a moat, not a bridge. Many beings may need a wide berth. That means others may need to give me wide berth. Check softly to see if it’s personal or not.
10) Suffering is optional, not required. Crucifixions are not necessary—the point is to stop it. Caveat: This does not mean being self-righteous is okay—it is no good thing to assume a god-like judgmental stance, even if smiling and professing love.
11) Struggling is not avoidable, beauty, love, and happiness are. Caveat: That one has lost sight of beauty, love, and happiness, does not mean I get to pat them on their heads and feel glad it’s them and not me. Besides, it’s a guarantee I will be in the same boat at some point.
12) I am free. Try not to make a mess out of it. Caveat: Freedom comes at a price. Anxiety at least. Blood is not a required offering. There are beings who sense advantage in those who shout the joy of freedom. Those looking for advantage want to be right by proving others wrong. Many times it can be done. It doesn’t mean such folk are correct, it means freedom can be usurped by a nervous system parasite.
Love is not a gauge on my dashboard, it is that which runs through everything. How can I tell? If I am really still and attentive, even for a nanosecond (that’s about what I’ve accomplished), awareness is. Consciousness, like sentience, is awareness to another degree. Both awareness and consciousness are. That’s it. It feels like love to me, if for no other reason then it’s so comforting and amazing at the same time. If one is a “don’t tread on me” believer (that flag has limited applications), this is a gift. But it can also be a terrible responsibility, especially for the animal trying to solve problems. It’s not simply about being left alone, it’s also about accepting true help.
Love and help are challenging for those full of expectations (I got ‘em). Disappointment abounds. So does “settling.” Happy mate, happy fate, is an anchor, not worn with pride. Happy mates, is another issue. But being gamey to get what one thinks they need is a sure way to not get anything but gamey. In other words, one’s true love—if there is such a thing—could reside in another galaxy, one with no wormhole in sight. It takes more than one to be, in, love, together. And it takes proximity.
The older I get and the more time in this physical vehicle I reside, the more time narrows and the more frustrating the elusive quality of bonded mates is. Still, I’ve loved. I’ve been loved. I still love. But relative to love with a mate and them with me, I’m alone. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s them. Maybe it’s both. Or maybe it’s just tough. As I told students, to be an average student is one thing. To be above average requires a different standard. To be an outstanding student is another standard altogether. To demand continuous outstanding of oneself or another is delusional—none of us are outstanding 24/7. I am not the latter. I chose to only be gamey if playing (I don’t always get that one right), so the field narrows. With each new standard, the field always seems to narrow until it either opens up or heads to metamorphosis. Makes me wonder how a sentient caterpillar, infused with intention, would feel about its impending cocoon?