It occurs to me that everything can be explained if I determine that it’s been all wrong since the outset. Some combination of who I am, how I was raised, where I was raised and the potential pitfalls of my species have collided to make this leech. This hollow vessel. This moral nonentity. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George realizes that all he has to do is the exact opposite of what he believes is right, and that will be what works.
I kind of have to do that. I think I have to make an attempt at starting over again from scratch. Really from the beginning. Not in fits and starts like I usually try to make changes. But wholesale. I really am topsy turvy. It’s all a mistake. From some rotten start. Maybe it was the incident in 1776 that did it. Maybe it was more recent. It seems there are enough good examples around me to give me some sense of what is really right or wrong.
It is that moral/personal compass thing again. Mine is broken. I don’t know how to make the right decisions. I follow others along their path, hoping that it’s a good one. Trying to sense their capacity for wisdom and joy. That would also explain my failed attempts at theism. It was an effort to find a guide. Too bad that it doesn’t take much effort for me to think my way out of that box. Box of nails.
Not having any clue seems to have its advantages. If I had a clue I could explain them. Maybe there’s an innocence, and openness. Maybe this condition finally explains my musical ability. There is much to draw from if you’ve been confused and suffering spiritually since your very early existence.
This also explains why I put only random titles on my blogs. I don’t actually understand what I am writing. The ruminations just pour out. It is cathartic. I don’t really know where it stems from, and I don’t know when I’ve completed my idea. I have minimal wherewithal. But I am a vessel for wisdom. Just as I am a vessel for musicianship.
Finding the space between the thoughts. This blog is that, it seems. Writing at leisure. Expressing at leisure. Sometimes I wish I could play the cello more that way. Playing on a blank slate. Not so much re-interpreting.
If there is that space between the thoughts, imagine if that space is expanded. Wider and wider. Until there is primarily space, with the occasional thought peppered in. Not vice versa.
Do we waste our mental space with these dualities? Bickering. Back and forth, like a tennis ball. Up, down, in, out. Right, wrong. It’s a game of unending circles. Hamster wheel. Rat race. Nothing accomplished. Wasting 90 point something percent of our lives.
I get so tired of my dual-ness. Always one thing or the other. Always vacillating. Loud:Soft. Isn’t it one of those things we learn as toddlers? Opposites. We are trained in opposites. Ugh. Such conditioning.
We can’t have a clear path to growth. Always bumping up against the wall of duality. I am of course grateful to Krishnamurti for enlightening me.
So it starts in childhood, this duality. But it doesn’t end. It goes on and on. It permeates everything. The trouble is, it’s not natural. Nature is not dual. Nature does not chop. Nature doesn’t need these words, for instance. These words are here to redefine the categories we impose on everything. I need these words to find my way through. What a bloody nightmare. It is a nightmare of our own making. Good and evil. Nature doesn’t need that.
When I watch At Close Range it gets me thinking about good and evil. I try to live my life with awareness of good and evil. I love both sides of myself. I hate having to pick sides. Pick a paint color for the bedroom wall. Pick a mattress type. Pick a school for Cody. Pick a religion to subscribe to.
The idea is that if I pick the wrong side, or attempt not to pick one at all, I am destined to bring evil into the world and into my life. If you’re not good, you’re evil. What other choice do you have? You have to pick a side, right? There have to be opposites, right? Republican and Democrat seems to be a common one these days.
One of the lovely outgrowths of duality is judgment. I can say that pretty much every single time I cast a judgment, great or small, I feel something dirty. I feel soiled inside. And the only way I can ever hope to relinquish that dirt is to cease seeing everything as chopped up into two parts. Judging is contagious, by the way. And attracting. You feel good if you see others doing it, since you’re doing it – it validates you. I can’t believe how deep it runs through our culture and our societal development.
Maybe the hardest thing is to stop judging yourself. From there you can release judgment of others.
Finding a reason to teach is a lot more straightforward that a reason to perform. Of course, what would you teach if you were an unskilled, uninspired performer? They go together. I seem to forget that. And things like that. I guess I get super focused on one thing at the expense of everything else. That is my gift, as well as my curse.
I am holding on the idea that if I understand my passion, everything will fall into place. I am not normally one to analyze my passions. Or am I. I may have two opposing tendencies. They hate each other. I hate myself. I am always dealing with contradictions within myself. Thomas Moore wrote that that is in our nature. The nature of our souls. Our minds are not in favor of this. But our souls demand it, require it. That was one of the things I loved so much about his books. I haven’t read them in many years. But they remain in my being.
I have contradictions in religion, self-care, discipline, self analysis, emotionality, embracing of naiveté, etc. You name it. T Moore is okay with that. I suspect so is J Foster. Okay to the extent that you learn what happens next. When your head and your heart are at odds.
Shouldn’t we be honing our human/animal based societal harmony? Shouldn’t we be working towards getting past our baser emotions and tendencies? Shouldn’t we be tweaking our philosophies? Maybe we are, but I’m just the last to know. Or maybe we’re limited. I have found reading and exploring the Bible to open up my mind, up to a point. But I attribute some of that to my gullibility. Not the wonderfulness of the Bible. For instance, I could pick up another religion’s book (just as people do all over the world) and most likely be equally convinced and moved by an account of its deities.
I’m glad I’ve done this “research,” though. You always wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. And I’ve kind of been bashed over the head with the higher power premise/promise by my involvement with 12 step programs. So this was my higher power of origin. My book charting out the parallels between religions kind of proves that you have to be careful about being gullible to the supernatural aspects of religions. One of the guarantees implicit in religions is that their deities and miracles are the only ones around. So they end up cancelling each other out. But worse, they cause strife, in the real world, outside their literary circle. People vehemently disagree on whose magical God is the real one. And then kill each other. And hate. It’s not a source of intelligent debate. But since it’s out there, it has to be dealt with. It has to be addressed. From what I understand, the USA is lagging behind in this whole debate. We seem to be working hard to be more scientifically illiterate and sociologically primitive than much of the world.
Maybe I am exploring my Jewish roots, and have always wondered – as an adult – what they’re all about, because I have needed to address this debate head on. It prevails around me, in society, among co-workers, within my family. I never really understood its roots. I was raised with a certain amount of exposure and training. Just enough to give me a taste. But I guess I never took a bite.
I am fairly gullible. I have been known for that. I think I’ve even been mocked, light-heartedly, for this trait. I have chameleon-like traits. When I used to attend movies often, I would get sucked in and overtaken by the characters. It eventually made me uneasy, because I knew I really needed to be working on developing my own sense of self in order to find happiness. Movie characters are fictional, or at least are only visual representations of reality. I don’t always do a good job of distinguishing between fantasy and reality. Maybe I’m a dreamer.
So if I’m looking for a philosophy that I can truly count on, I must be prepared to use my critical eye. To use my genetically-given gifts. Maybe they aren’t God-given, after all. As easy and comforting that idea would be. The evidence is piling up in the other direction. The evidence that religion inspires mayhem, and human ingenuity creates harmony. It’s like Trump. When is enough, enough? What straw will break the back of acceptability? When does it become an extremely pervasive cult instead of something rational and harmless? I think it finally clicked with me with that recent Facebook post of the highly regarded humanist. Religion is the problem, not just the crazy fanatical zealots. The vestigial necessity for a way to make sense of the world turns out to be just a bunch of nonsense. It wasn’t our ancestors’ fault. They didn’t know any better. They were more animalistic and ritualistic.
Waking up is the hardest thing to do. It all depends what you’re waking up for. The things that inspire and excite me to hop out of bed have changed over the years, partly out of necessity, partly from a natural maturation process. I of course have enjoyed watching Cody’s love of life as he bounces from activity to activity, which includes waking up. Of course if he’s not ready to wake up he is glued to his bed with equal vengeance.
Here I go again. I feel that with every word I write I am connecting to something deep inside (and outside) myself. It is identical to the feeling of wholeness I experience with spiritual/religious connections. I don’t want to forget that feeling. It’s tricky. I am sitting down to write today not out of a strong desire, but because I kind of made a pact with myself yesterday, when I was feeling that urge. So those lofty needs I have when I am feeling lowly (not lofty) are still present, but in hibernation, when I am unaware.
The real reason I opened up my computer was to work on my spreadsheets. But this blog page was open, so I decided to proceed here out of duty to myself. I wanted to see if I could attain anything that I did yesterday here. I think I am able to build on it. In the past this would have been something nearly impossible. In the past I always had to have the burning desire to journal in order to get that high, or peace, or meditative groove, or spiritual connection.
It’s illogical, and disturbing if I think about it, but it seems that since reading the first 5 books of the Bible – the Torah – I have matured spiritually. Either it is truly a profoundly wondrous and affecting spiritual account, or I have been brainwashed from birth to find credence in my Jewishness, so it’s a kind of completing of my secular destiny. Who knows? Maybe I’ll figure it out eventually. Maybe the answer is hidden in my spreadsheets…
Poison. Pain. All the things that require self medicating. I am part of the continuum of human existence that includes Carrie Fisher. I feel the same kinds of feelings that she was known to refer to, and that she used various numbing techniques for. And I know that I am curtailing my life with these techniques.
It seems to be an inescapable loop. I am learning and growing. But I am also in a repeating loop. The loop of pain. I believe Carrie (and others), who said that the pharmaceutical fixes for the pain cause quite a bit of problems in themselves. So I am not eager to experiment with them. I never was. All of my shrinks seemed to think there were other options for me. But of course I am supposed to differentiate between the healthy ones and the hurtful ones.
And then there is the question of nature vs nurture. This seems to be an ongoing conundrum in my mind. Remember the problem I had with therapy was that it wasn’t natural. I have gone astray of its philosophy in the interim years flying on my own.
Writing is supposed to be a healthy learning and exploring tool. Reading has been helpful. As you know, I have taken to studying the Bible. I wish it wasn’t so laden with baggage. So much insanity and evil seem to result from its teachings. How literally to take it? I wish I could enjoy whatever philosophy and religion resonates with me without being required to take sides in heated debates. It’s not that I don’t have strong opinions, but they don’t tend to revolve around the things most people love spouting off on. That is one of the reasons it has been helpful to write. This is a forum where I am not tethered to someone else’s outlook – I can actually express my unique perspective.
Why must I revert? Why can’t I simply use self-will to make changes? Why is the groove so deeply entrenched? Typing this creates a feeling of release from some of these entrenchments. I have sometimes wished I could capture this feeling 24 hours a day. That doesn’t seem to be possible, though, at least not for me. I revert.
I can only imagine that there is enough of a part of me that needs these things, the things I hate. I have read Facebook posts about tendencies of creative people. Some of them sound quite familiar. Is that to say that I will always be battling my disorganized, addictive, emotional tendencies for as long as I remain creative (alive)?
So there are different ways of interpreting the same actions. On the one hand, I feel I inevitably undermine anything good that I do by soiling it with poisonous activities. On the other shoe, my passionate nature demands that I remain soiled and impure, veering away from sterility in favor of messy randomness, physical discomfort, and constantly pushing my body and soul to its limits. Maybe I am deathly afraid of motionlessness. I have to come back to self destruction in order to feel I am learning and growing. Nothing seems to be worse for growth than happiness and satisfaction. Of course my definition of happiness and satisfaction vacillates by the minute, depending where I just was on the spectrum. I chase those sensations futilely.
I think my original program – EA – may have been all too appropriate for me. Even with my foray into OA and its focus on food obsession, my chief battle still seems to be emotions/rationalization versus faith. Which will I follow? After all isn’t eating the way I do an emotional affair? And then I rationalize my emotions or my reactions to food. Whereas in the program you are supposed to release yourself from this sort of self-will, self-gratifying focus. It’s un-American, right? I must think of myself as some sort of patriot, or homegrown county boy.
The oddest part is that the program guarantees that you will find your true self, your true nature, by ceasing the search for it. Or, at least, sharing the search with the higher power. You trust the higher power to direct your life.
I think there are 2 types of people in the world, those with blind faith and those without. It’s a bizarre exercise to to try to span the gulf between the two. I know as the latter, your whole existence is laid out before you as evidence that blind faith is idiotic and pointless. I can only surmise that those in the faith category have the same totality of evidence permeating their existence.
So, is it worth it? The answer to that may lie in the fact that a lot of worthwhile things are uphill battles. Maybe the definition of an uphill battle is one which requires a degree of faith. Faith that you will eventually get to the goal line.