Friday, December 17, 2010


A sharply brrrrrr morning and as I read over the mail or comments that collected overnight, I realize how delighted I am to hear from people who are willing to put themselves on the line and just describe what they actually do in life -- what their circumstances are -- and what they think about it. To hear what they think or believe is OK, but it lacks a marrow of context in my eyes and ears.

The military entry below elicited a comment from someone who pilots a Blackhawk helicopter ... and a little of what he thinks. The entry also elicited an email from someone who had been a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war and whose son is now in the army in South Korea. These kindnesses put music to the dance of life ... plain-Jane, everyday facts ... inescapable and mundane.

 Sometimes I think spiritual endeavor really does shoot itself in the foot with its versions of angels on the head of a pin, intricate philosophies and buzz words, cozy imaginings that seek to assuage some current uncertainty. Seventy-seven virgins await you in heaven; compassion is better than cruelty; the only good god is a righteous god ... that kind of stuff. And I suppose that imaginings have the capacity to draw us all forward, but I do so miss the begin-at-the-beginning stuff -- the stuff that gives spiritual endeavor its honest zip ... stuff like a broken shoelace or a sunset that blows your socks off or the fact that the bread really does seem to hit the floor butter-side-down or a relationship grown stale or sour.

The sci-fi writer Ursula LeGuin (absolute aces as a writer) used the theme in her books frequently ... the uninitiated setting out on a journey with a sense of importance and curiosity and imagination. It's all serious stuff in its time in its time ... seeking, seeking, seeking. And yet many of these characters return to where they began, to themselves, to their homes, to the drab dailiness they had once longed to escape ... at which point any honest seeking can begin.

I once read a psychology book that pointed out that the hallucination is as real to the person in the midst of it as reality is to the rest of us. You can't take daydreams away from a daydreamer -- not only would it be cruel, it would also be impossible. And since we're all daydreamers one way or another I guess the only application that is worth much is patience -- patience with our own daydreams; patience until the adventure wears out and the broken shoelace or the buttered bread on the kitchen floor asserts its ascendance and magic.

About the best I can envision the spiritual endeavor that entices with daydreams is that (assuming it's worth a shit and not just some self-indulgent religion) when the day dreaming is worn out, we have the tools with which to bend over and pick up the bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment