Thursday, May 3, 2012

no one cares

What a sticky wicket -- the wiles of spiritual endeavor.

To begin with, "God loves you" or "Buddhism lays out some common-sensical observations that touch an investigating constituency."

The generalized pointers of any persuasion invite the believer in. Life can be hard and a little relief, a little warmth, a little love are most welcome. A soaring tale, a time of redemption and peace, a credible and sustaining tapestry ... it's lovely.

But then the big question, the heart-felt cry springs up: Yes, religion cares about you, succors you, enfolds and ennobles you, BUT ... it doesn't really care about ME! It doesn't take into account the tendrils and tentacles that fill MY life, the very specific configuration of MY existence!

A trenchant observation most people might agree with is this: "Your life is so difficult that it has never been tried before." By God, that seems to hit the nail on the head! My life is specific and compelling and complicated and, last but not least, important. No generalization could ever compass or soothe the intricacies of MY life.

And it is a this point that the follower or student may lose heart. If this religion does not answer MY questions, MY sorrows, MY concerns in very specific ways ... what then? Well then, the follower may simply turn up the volume on the religious radio show s/he has chosen (you MUST believe in God because God is the most important thing!!!!) or s/he may turn away cynically (it's all a crock of shit!) or, more likely, s/he may both turn up the volume AND allow the skeptic some game time.

The fact is, spiritual life has no time for you. It offers templates and pointers, but your very specific and heart-felt difficulties (and they are enormously touching) are ... entirely up to you. The generalizations (however apt) are just generalizations. Christians may speak of heaven and hell. Buddhists may speak of "attachment" or "understanding." It all may make some good and consoling sense, but let's be honest -- it ain't ME!

The same sneaking or in-your-face suggestion that may have brought anyone into the spiritual fold in the first place is the very suggestion that turns out to be true: "No one cares!" All the meanings and explanations the for-profit religious institutions lay out can seem like an awful disappointment or lie: "No one cares!"

And the tough nut to swallow is that it's true -- no one cares. Religious organizations may some pretty good money weaving tales that will soften the blow, but the blow, for honest students, is that tales don't answer the cry.

No one cares.

But have you noticed? No one cares, but YOU care. The tentacles and tendrils of a life that is so difficult that it has never been tried before ... you care. You may be purely dying to have someone else solve the problems and smooth the bumpy road. It's not that religions wouldn't do this if they could so much as it is that, no matter how good or grasping the intentions, they simply CAN'T. It's not indifference ... it's simply an impossibility.

No one cares.

You care.

Read 'em and weep.

And get to work.

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