Wednesday, November 14, 2012

no more compromise

No more compromise.

Am I wrong to think that spiritual longing and endeavor finds a foundation -- if not the foundation -- in these three words?

And further, am I wrong to think that spiritual longing and endeavor, in pursuit of such a heart-felt certainty, willingly submits to endless compromises ... vastly ornate confections that seem to promise that at long last the time will come and the place will arrive where there is no...more...compromise?

A compromise with death.

A compromise with calamity.

A compromise with uncertainty and doubt.

A compromise with love that lies just out of reach.

Through the forests and thickets of this life, through the brambled undergrowth up ahead, now and then there is a glimpse of what it might be like ... a unicorn seen briefly ... a flank, perhaps, or tail or peeking face ... no more compromise. Yes, it does exist ... it does for sure ... I have seen it in brief moments and am assured that this strange, insistent longing is no joke or fairy tale.

No more compromise. No more toys. No more restful pretense. Pure and simple and ... well ... no more compromise. No more bending of the knee to "freedom" or "enlightenment" or "compassion" or "joy" or "heaven" or "hell" or "sickness" or "health." No more "lies" or even "truth."

Over beer and chips, I think I might argue that the horrific wonders of the Taliban or similar lock-step, locked-down persuasions are little more than an expression of what life might be like without the compromises. Girls wouldn't go to school. Women would be modestly clothed. Men with mustaches would be in charge ... and the world would at last attain what everyone longs for ... a world without compromise.

The Taliban and their ilk offer a make-believe actualization and from where I sit, they are horrific expositors of something true. Ugly and self-centered and unwilling to make the kind of effort required for each to expose their deepest hearts ... hearts assured and relaxed ... hearts that made no more compromises.

Kinder persuasions view such unkindnesses with a reproving stare: They -- the improved and wider and more kindly persuasions -- do not indulge in such unkindness but offer a more thoughtful, more genteel track. They distance themselves from cruelty and propose the compromise of kindness and clarity and ... well, less bitter herbs.

And yet ... and yet ... here too the longing is not stilled. Cruelty is vile, but kindness does not reach. Something is still missing. The brightness of the unicorn remains hidden or at best fleeting in the undergrowth.

What is it? Where is it? .... no more compromise!

Since there is no escaping compromise, the only track out is the track in. Deeper and deeper into chosen compromises. Deeper and deeper into thorns and briars, seeking out and then forsaking one compromised resting place or another. Does it never end? Is there no time and place of easy release that is bright simply because it is bright ... and not some well-adorned compromise with the circumstances that spring up and fade away? Whole lifetimes can be spent ignoring or papering over the deepest, whispering wish ... no more compromise. Men and women lie on their death beds and sigh in resignation, "oh well...."

But "oh-well" is such a compromise, such an assignation with resignation. It surrenders without surrender. It clings even in extreme moments to a lifetime of compromise.

No more compromise. Something whole and unlimited and easy. A time and place that laughs at the very notion of "oh-well."

Does a dandelion compromise? Does this moment compromise ... or this breath? Look into the brambles and briars and see. Compromise requires something else. A family or job or love of money or automobile or intellectual achievement or a container of yogurt. Compromise requires a "me" to strike up a deal with what is "not me." But is this true... honest-injun true? What does the dandelion say? Or this moment or this breath? Or this unicorn?

A dandelion does not make deals. It neither gives nor takes.

Same for this breath.

Same for unicorns.

Same for "me."

Is there some reason to go through life dumber than a backyard weed?

1 comment:

  1. When you come to a fork in the road.... take it.