Thursday, December 26, 2013

According To Convention

According to convention, I am not simply what I am doing now. I am also what I have done, and my conventionally edited version of my past is made to seem almost the more "real" me than what I am at this moment. For what I am seems so fleeting and intangible, but what I was is fixed and final. It is the firm basis for predictions of what I will be in the future, and so it comes about that I am more closely identified with what no longer exits than what actually is!

- Alan Watts, The Way of Zen

* * *

The past is not just the past; it is also our shadow, our companion, our memories burnished gold, edited to fit the story we tell about ourselves. It is seed and source and it is impossible to ever say we are free of it. Experience is our tour guide. It warns of dangers, identifies patterns and says, "Look here, not there." Right on. We are the accumulation of choices we've made or not made and so become who we are. But that is only one way of seeing it. Useful, true, but also limited and limiting.

The fucked see the past as inescapably the future. Sins and omissions are forever the Mark of Cain and their days un-spool in a set pattern of declination, futility and remorse. At no moment are they able to move freely, without the weight of the past and fear of the future slowing them down, stopping them. We fucked fuckers identify completely with the past precisely because it is fixed and final. There are no surprises, no challenges. We know this shit and in the knowing we are made to feel we know our place in the world. Unfortunately, it is in what is unchangeable, is in what is dead and gone.

* * *

"Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," said Scrooge, "answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?"

Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood.

"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge." But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me."

* * *

You are here because at each moment along the way you chose to respond to the facts and inputs and circumstances and stimuli and wounds and scars and chances and opportunities of your life in the exact manner that you did. No doubt many patterns have repeated themselves and not always to your benefit. As these patterns repeat they take on the tenor of inevitability, fate and you quit resisting it. Laziness, wounded pride, fear of change, or worse, helplessness sews itself into your life and becomes the cloth covering your bones. Men's courses foreshadow certain ends, no?

But that is false, my best beloveds. Oh, it may unwind that way. In fact, it is the way most of us navigate our lives. But is is not inevitable. It is not fated. It is not necessary nor is it what your life is made for. It is simply what we choose when confronted by the enormity of eternity. We go small. We play for certitude - even if it is miserable - because it is knowable. I get that. I know that. I've done that, but I have to tell you, as knowable as it is, there is nothing worth having there. The good shit only exists in one place: the everpresent now, this very moment you are reading this. Not the word before, or the word after, but right now.

Who you are is happening right now.
The past is who you were and there's no fixing it, or keeping it
To unfuck your life you have to be present in it. Right now. And you have to choose to move and act within each moment from the core of your being, not the from the memory of how things were, or the falsity of castes.

You are free to choose.


* * * 

The Spirit was immovable as ever.

Scrooge crept towards it, trembling as he went; and following the finger, read upon the stone of the neglected grave his own name, EBENEZER SCROOGE.

"Am I that man who lay upon the bed?" he cried, upon his knees.

The finger pointed from the grave to him, and back again.

"No, Spirit! Oh no, no!" 

The finger still was there.

"Spirit!" he cried, tight clutching at its robe, "hear me. I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse. Why show me this, if I am past all hope?"

* * *



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