Monday, March 21, 2011
Die While You're
and be absolutely dead.
Then do what ever you want:
it's all good.
- Bunan (1603-1676)
* * *
The key is to be absolutely dead. Not partially dead. Not wounded, but dead. We fucked fuckers prefer our wounds to our deaths and so linger miserably in our longing for an end to our fuckedness when a simple death would be so useful.
But it is not so simple, is it?
You've got to die to the accouterments of the half-life you are living: fear, vanity, false suffering. (The whole baby with the bath water thing.) These habits must die absolutely. It is you who must live, that essential Self buried under the weight of so much fear and longing. Do that and Bunan's words become true: you are then free to do whatever you want.
With freedom at hand, what is stopping you?
* * *
What are the obligations of your life? To feed and clothe your children? To house them? To care for parents, family, your community? To work? To earn enough money to live as you would have it be? To love your partner? To be loved? To build? Create? Fight against injustice?
There is grace in daily obligations, the million and one small gestures of a life connected to other lives. These obligations, these minor graces are the warp and woof of living. And they are all pointed outward - from you to the other (who or whatever that may be). This is what Dr. Frankl identifies as the key to happiness and freedom: living for a cause larger than yourself. But few do. I don't. I haven't. I'm trying, but I am not there. There's no jumping to the end of the line here. First things insist on being first.
Like dying while you are alive.
If I am to love another, if I am to give myself to a cause that calls me to its service, what is it that I will bring forth if I carry my fears and vanity and useless suffering forward? You know that answer, right? To love another freely, to serve the cause that frees others, you must first be free of those habits of mind and experience that limit the expression of that love, of that service.
I am a humanist, a believer in the power of the individual, of the unique and irreplaceable value of each life. I believe we best love God when we best become ourselves. Fear, vanity, and the ineptitude of suffering by our own hand are the walls that separate us from our essential selves. Without fail this must die.
Can you imagine your life without those habits? Can you imagine what it would be like to love freely, without the effluent of fear and narcissism? To act directly? To be that which thou art?
For years I could not even imagine it, but I know it exists. I believe each word brings me closer.
What are you doing?
You can do whatever you want: it's all good.