There are those days when the only motivation I can muster is to reach for the pint of Haagen-Daz ice cream, then spoonful after spoonful give my spirit some reprieve and consolation. Each mouthful is a salve of sugar and fat in cold creaminess. It’s a tangible fantasy that yields measurable value compared to buying a lotto ticket. These two questions form the yin-yang in my mind: Am I going to win the lottery tonight? Is there a God?
I’m down to the last half pint of the vanilla flavored ice cream, and yet I’m not feeling any better. Short of psychedelic medication, I’ve tried meditating, but my mind constantly drifts to the ice cream. I “look” at the third eye, the midpoint between my eyebrows and an inch above the midpoint. I feel cross-eyed and a mild dizziness breaks out. The anxiety is worse than waiting at the doctor’s office for the appointment schedule 45 minutes ago, and you got there early to find cheap parking. The ice cream beckons. I’m coming my friend.
(This is a rant! It’s not fair of me to hold you up, like this, you my unsuspecting audience. But didn’t my ice cream dreams give you a hint. Duck! Hide! A baleful of self-flagellation is coming your way!)
You’ve been taking life too damn seriously. When that happens then everything grinds to a halt beginning with the joie de vivre taking the backdoor exit; the cat gives me that look – like she couldn’t give a fig about my mopin’ around; and I have to work and write a blog too.
It’s a tightrope act to balance between the ennui of the abundant modern industrial life and giving meaning to life. I’ve lately been obsessed with songs that have the word “Hole” in the title. Here’s my list:
- Police – “Hole in My Life”
- Alice in Chains – “Down in a Hole”
- Beatles – “Fixing a Hole”
- Soundgarden – “Black Hole Sun”
- Black Sabbath – “Hole in the Sky”
I think all these songs allude to that thing amiss in our lives. The hole is real. But I’ve been trying too hard to get in and out through to the other side. Will there be a revelation (– something/anything) after the show?
I dive back into my books, a collection of metaphysical, philosophies and practices by some of the great thinkers and doers: Paramahansa Yogananda, Edgar Cayce, Rilke, Krishnamurti, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Jr., and a collection of skits/shows by Bill Hicks “Love All The People”. This search for truth and meaning is not an easy path. But we go on. And once in a while we do hit rock bottom, like I’m down to a thin film of creamy vanilla. I pass the carton for the dog to lick clean. Pets. They can take you or leave you regardless of your mood, because they know instinctively that you have unconditional love for them.
Love is not a theory. It is a practice and an experience. I can repeat the words love and forgiveness till I’m blue in the face, but until I actually feel it then it means nothing. Love is like butter. It makes everything taste better, even the bitter pill of life we swallow everyday. This poem about work from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran expresses best what I’m feeling.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection,
even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead
are standing about you and watching.
Work is love made visible.
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger.
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine.
And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.
So how does it end? Is the character transformed? Does every story have to have a transformation? Or do we just recycle our energy into the universe and hope, perhaps for a reincarnation in a better life. If karma rules then grace trumps it. We all have it – the capacity for grace. At every turn there’s a choice to be one or to be separate. (I can’t help but think of the lyrics and melody of “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles.)
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