Thursday, November 18, 2010

a closet full of halos

"An even sameness among all things."

Somewhere I read or concocted that notion and attributed it to people who seemed much more adept at a spiritual practice. They seemed serene ... or anyway serene-r than I was, and I too wanted a peace of mind that exhibited itself in that sort of serenity ... an even sameness among all things.

But it's a funny thing: If you run around trying to fit all times, places and events into one saintly box or another -- kind of arm-wrestling the mind into a perceived virtue -- life won't sit still for it and anger or love or beauty or ugliness will bite you on the ass ... hard. All that virtuous, sweaty effort might be better used making a nice pan of brownies or mowing the lawn.

Wanting to see all things with a serene eye and perhaps touting that point of view as best and most comely is just that ... wanting. My mother said, "Don't get too holy by next Thursday." And she was right. Using the very tool that led to doubt and uncertainty in the first place (i.e. wanting) is hardly likely to do much more than impress your friends. But friends cannot assure peace. Only you can do that.

"An even sameness." Words are just words, but they sure can foul the works.

So there is practice -- attention and responsibility -- day after day, year after year, anger after anger, love after love, brownie after brownie. Halos and hopes and beliefs ... how could any of them really tell the tale? Inspire? Sure. Encourage? Sure. Point the way? Sure. Does anyone need a closet full of halos? Maybe yes, maybe no, but there is no room in over-stuffed closets. Spring cleaning is required.

Practice is experience and experience beats arm-twisting virtues any day of the week. So let's practice.

Practice and see what actually happens.

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