Saturday, June 29, 2013

You Can Have

You can have what's left
Of this ragged frame
You can have what's left 
Of this used up chain

I'm not fighting any more
Gonna let all go
The melting of a man
Like the sun on the snow

- Daniel Lanois, Not Fighting Anymore

* * *

Here's the news: you're fucked because you don't know who you are, what you believe in or what to do with the one chance you get to live.

There, I said it.

But if you're fucked you already know that, right? You know it down in the marrow of your bones. You know it when you look in the mirror in the morning and see a shell instead of a soul. You know it because things don't work out. You know it because love spills through your hands and leaves you a wreck of close but no cigar. You know it in those hours you can't sleep. You know, my dear fucked friend, you know, but you won't live by it. It is easier to be unhappy than to risk the change required of all who need to wake up: letting go of the ego that brought you to your knees.

There, I said it.

Let it go, pal. It's killing you.

* * *

There's a saying, possibly belonging to the Zen tradition. It reads: Let go or be dragged.

That's how it feels, no? Dragged along behind the currents you cannot see: expectation, ego and their source - fear. It is a raw, unending misery of always coming up short, of not being able to figure out the puzzle. Let me help you here: you're looking in the wrong direction. It is not outside of you, but inside that all of your questions are answered. What you have to let go of is not love or desire or engagement with this world, but the cowardice of using your ego to justify your shabby life.

Trust me when I tell you I know from ego and shabby and coming up short.

It is a Promethean gutting with none of the heroics, just the pain.

You keep looking outside for how to live - the right job, the right partner, the right house, the right vote, the right God - and I am telling you all of that is meaningless. Worse, it stokes the falsity of the ego that looks outside for answers and clues and meaning. There's never a moment's quiet for you to listen to the sea inside you and each day just fucks you a bit harder and pushes you further away from knowing who you are.

Who are you?
What do you believe in (without a bible to tell you so)?
Where are you bound?
Can you hear it calling you?

* * *

And then there's this:

I'm not fighting any less
I see the sea
Feel it in the chest
Heard something in the breeze

Now I know where I'm bound 
Some kind of ecstasy
That faraway lonesome sound
Picture you so pretty

Now I know what I'm for
When my sweetness is there
Crack of light in the door
Leaves nothing to compare

Listen, you have to find your way to the place where there's nothing left to compare. You have to give up the lie that your ego tells you about success. There is only one goal, one ambition in this life and that is to be who you are - unfettered by externals, free of falsity, complete. Walk away from what's leeching your soul. Go small. Go for mastery. Go in love. Forgive yourself for not getting to it sooner. Forgive those who never will.

The fight he's singing about is between society's willingness to use you up, fill your head with its collective expectations and norms and your willingness to let it happen. But how to know if what you find inside is true and not just another trick? You'll know it when your sweetness is there.

* * *

You can have what's left 
Of this ragged frame
You can have what's left
Of this pain.

* * *



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