Friday, October 9, 2015

Exemption from Enlightenment

Today I am the woman perched at the corner of Norwood and Hosea L. Williams drive. Some people in this neighborhood may come to know me, the auburn-haired lady in blue who sits on the ground beneath the big tree and writes. My kids are attending SoulShine across the street, and an old preacher man is approaching to ask if I'm “tekking.” He also wants to know if I've found the Lord. I usually just smile and try to look kind when these questions begin. The truth is twofold and perhaps a touch contradictory:
  1. I don't think The Lord is something you find, so much as recognize in yourself.

  2. If you can't get past the idea of The Lord as some high and mighty power outside yourself, then, sure. I found him. Then I kept on walking my own way down the road.
There is, most certainly, enough beautiful synchronicity in our world to inspire belief in a higher power. There is also, with equal certainty, enough violence and oppression to indicate a forceful malignancy. However, it has always been my thinking that the best and worst parts of life somehow stem from ourselves. I also feel that the whole of life ultimately serves a unified purpose but that this purpose only makes sense in the context of a universal picture so large that beginning to understand it results only in deep humility and wonder.

When it comes to matters of organized faith, there's no danger is subscribing to a belief system which brings you peace and provides a useful guideline for living. However, there are historically grave consequences for insisting that the same system bring others peace and serve as their one and only infallible guide. Perhaps less apparently, there's also the issue of a religion setting the tone of social mores which do not authentically reflect human behavior. This may be no problem is you feel human behavior is something from which we must be saved. However, I feel human behavior is something to understand, embrace and evolve.

Today, I am also the woman who is about to turn 33. On my 30th birthday, I planned a camp out which began with my friends and I signing a nifty little document called Certificate of Exemption from Enlightenment. This came courtesy of the author and astrologically-inspired philosopher Rob Brezsny's masterwork Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia.

In addition to encouraging readers to free themselves from the obligation to reach an unattainable goal, Brezsny's Pronoia also encourages readers to identify tenets of their personal morality. I'm feeling inspired to close this post with mine.

  1. Behave authentically. This means that what you do is a reflection of what you actually think and feel at any given moment in time. This does not mean that you must always brazenly share what you think and feel. It just means that you must be clear on this within your own mind and that life should be navigated in a way which ultimately reflects your inner truths.

  2. Give everyone space and time, including yourself. While not an absolute cure all, time does tend to reveal, soothe and heal most wounds. Space is a natural complement to time. Life's continuance demands focus on here and now. Space and time are gifts humans afford to those they love. 
  3. Seek and share honor for everyone's feelings. Some may carry more weight than others. However, it is by finding a way to speak and listen to everyone's voice that people get better.

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