|Don't forget the fucking joy part of it.|
And the stars held up the night
Destiny set me free, destiny
I miss the games we play
With innocence we place
Oh, yes you still amaze me with your
Joy, joy, joy.
- Daniel Lanois, "Joy"
It's all hard, man. Real fucking hard sometimes to put one foot in front of the other. All around it seems like your life is pinched and cut off from the good shit you always figured you'd somehow have. Things narrow. Things hurt. Things suck. Love, money, peace - it's all outside your reach. Right? That's fucked, no doubt, no doubt. Get to this place and maybe you just harden yourself against it all. Your life drains a bit of color each day and though your life is hell, at least you are familiar with it. Maybe you turn inside and start scratching at the door of your soul. Religion, gurus, the spirit seems to invite you out of the dolor. You believe, man. You believe because you are told when you believe all the bad juju goes away. You turn to Christ. You turn to Buddha. You get all esoteric and deep and solemn and you're a right regular pain in everyone's ass with your depth.
All that won't do you any fucking good, my friend. Not a goddamned bit. You're missing something:
Joy, joy, joy.
* * *
You have been down so long, my sweet friend, that up is a joke. No worries. I have been there. Shit, most people who draw breath have been there. It is all encompassing. It is claustrophobic. It is a bitch. So much of our religious education focuses on the suffering part of living as proof that we are born in sin, born unclean, born broken and only through self-flagellation of the body, and more insidiously, the spirit can we be shed of our troubles.
That's a hard road, man. Real fucking hard and having walked it I can report back there's nothing at the end of that road. Let it go.
Oh, Lord, heap mysteries upon us, but entwine our work with laughter low.
That's a bit of Joyce from Finnegan's Wake - maybe the only part that's intelligible, but that's the key right there, my brother, my sister.
Yeah, man, there's pain here. There's getting lost. There's suffering imposed and right next to it there is joy and laughter and peace and love. There is nothing you can do about the chaos that surrounds you, but you can reduce to perfect order your response to it and if you neglect to see the joy in this life you've excluded yourself from the fullness that was possible only by you.
A bodhisattva forgoes nirvana in order to hang out with us and help us get there. He or she won't go until we all go. Right on. I dig that. Joseph Campbell writes that a bodhisattva participates joyfully in the sorrows of the world. I dig that, too. I promise you, you have met and known and been helped along the way by bodhisattvas of unending colors. You were so wrapped in your sorrows you didn't notice or recognize them, but they were there. And here's the thing: we are all each others bodhisattvas. True statement.
* * *
Our worries blot out the sun of our joy. Don't let what is hard convince you there is no joy here. It may not arrive in the shape or form you want or expect, but it is here and without it your life will never get unfucked.
* * *
Welcome to the world, Hailee Rae. So glad you made it. We're good to go now.
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