Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The nature of my Path all the way along as I'm closing in on my own personal end of the world has been in the front of my mind this week. I see obituaries knowing one day I won't be the one looking. I'll be the one looked at. I once knew a man who didn't want a funeral or an obituary, because too many people wanted to see him dead. A lawyer, of course. He didn't want them to have the satisfaction. When I was wondering why it matters after you're dead, I remembered dreams in childhood of being found dead in public and people gathering around to look, like hit by a car, heart attack or anything. Being dead with a crowd of people looking at my corpse was creepy to me. I couldn't stand it. The ultimate vulnerability. It's a dream I don't forget, but it doesn't matter any more.
On the matter of my Path, when I look back I tend to think of the period of time when I started deconstructing religion in my mind, finding Christendom too akin to Capitalism, about money only. From childhood I've believed living for money was the most meanlingless possible existence. Probably got it from church 5 times a week. Mommy liked church an awful lot. She lives in the light for sure, but all that church for a kid caused serious burnout and no way out. I couldn't ever stay home. It came to all my interest being pretend. Away from parents I took up with Unitarians, which I hoped was super liberal. It wasn't enough to suit me. I saw little to no difference except the class of people in attendance. I felt like it was a halfway house, leaving religion half way before going all the way.
There was no way I wanted to contribute my life to the corporate world of absolute indifference to the individual as anything but a tool. I wanted to work for individuals for less rather than corporations for more. I never wanted to wear uniforms. A suit is a uniform. The officer class. I never wanted to be that. I never wanted to be anybody's boss. I tried it for a year and hated it. I don't like being in a chain of command. I don't want to be involved in the climb. I never wanted any more income than I needed for subsistence. Never made an effort to collect money. Didn't want it. Didn't want people lined up waiting for me to die. Didn't want the people around me drawn to money. Didn't want to be one of the people looking down on the people I came from, ultimately looking down on myself. Getting too high and mighty for myself is how I saw it.
Looking from childhood at how I wanted to live, it was alone, rurally, outside society. I wanted to live my own truth, whatever that was. I identified with Indians and the South, because they stood up to the White Man. They were the underdog that didn't have a chance from the start against the power of White Man. But they resisted nonetheless. That was the heroic effort for me, resisting nonetheless. It may not get me anywhere, but I gave expression to my conviction by refusing to give in, within, even to the very last. Even a death sentence wouldn't make me relent in any way.
When the final showdown came, it took a surprise turn thanks to Henry David Thoreau's essay on Civil Disobedience, which I was reading at the time because of interest in the black movement in the late 50s, the time of civil rights marches, speeches, murders, the whole ridiculous mess of it. I say ridiculous because this was a Democracy beating people, killing people, because they want a right to vote. In a Democracy German shepherds are attacking black people on the evening news who want to vote. I went through that time thinking, This is a Democracy? In the last big blowout with daddy White Man, for my part I tried out Thoreau's civil disobedience. Do whatever you want to do, I'll take it. What blew my mind is the young rooster lost every battle all along the way, and then at the championship bout with the old rooster, the young rooster came out victorious. Thanks to Thoreau and Martin Luther King. What it meant to me was I was free. Free at last. Won the whole damn war after losing every battle but the decisive one. Kind of like George Washington's record in the Revolutionary wars.
I like the Patti Smith song, Outside of society, that's where I wanna be! Sometimes I think I lost my track later, but it turned out I was in process of searching for something true in a world I perceived false. There came a time I cast a cold eye on about everything and found myself much alone like David Bowie's song of the time about Major Tom in a space capsule drifting away into space after cutting connections with earth. "Planet earth is blue and there's nothing I can do." I was paring down to essentials without consciously noticing that I'd been examining everything I was taught to believe, throwing off the chaff as it's called in scripture. Blue as I could get, all my serious questions got answered in the course of 3 days, saw I had never been a nonbeliever. I'd trimmed everything away from the original gospel, and that's where it was, the part I still believed. I've come to see that period as part of the Path, a time of undoing the logjam in my head, fundamentalism tattooed in my mind. I am coming to see what looked like I was off my Path was a process to clear my head of matters to do with religion and get down to the spirit that goes where it will. Like grace.