Wednesday, June 8, 2011
LEAVING THE WORLD
It is a wide spectrum of people I have come to know in this lifetime. Younger, I believed what I was told that it is important to get rich. That's what you gotta do. Get rich. My question was, Why? From reading, films, documentaries, the Bible, one thing and another, the stories they tell of the rich are such that I don't want to be like that. I see Baptists in mega churches in auditoriums stamping their feet for Jesus to help them get rich. Jesus said it's easier for a camel to crawl through the eye of a needle than a rich man to reach the kingdom of heaven. We have a nation of Christians passionate for wealth even when they don't have a chance, except the lottery, despite all the Bible's warnings. The Turtle Island gambling casinos sprouting up on reservations all over the land amount to redskins in US govt imposed poverty for over a century making millions and billions for the 'Res' from Baptists looking to strike it rich. Thank you Jesus.
Meher Baba said wealth is perhaps the greatest trial of human experiences for one's path through a lifetime. In the course of this lifetime, I've wanted to know some people from all classes, races, educations, cultures, nationalities, religions. In my youth I was fascinated by the whole of humanity. The varieties of people blew my mind. Then, in the early 1950s, I saw in Life magazine a catalog of pictures from concentration camps in Germany. I was freaked to the core. I looked at them and looked at them, dead skeleton people stacked in tall piles, just because they were born into the wrong religion for the place and time. Christians the ones doing it. Rome not even censuring it. It soured me on Germans falling in behind propaganda for a very long time. Until I learned that we're the Germans now. Propaganda works.
Those pictures and all behind them made me want to separate myself from this world of civilization. I had a small tin globe in my room that I looked at one day to see there the farthest place on earth from Kansas City. Turned out to be in the ocean of the southern hemisphere. On land preferred. In the northern hemisphere it looked like Tibet would be somewhere close enough to as far as possible on land, and it would be as far as possible spiritually, as well. I began to long to get to Tibet somehow. But would they accept an American kid? Doubt it. First, the American kid has to get there, risk getting kidnapped by the international slave trade. Living with parents probably wasn't that bad. Too, I wasn't ready for monastic living. I couldn't sit still. And I was so curious about so many things in this world, I couldn't narrow my focus at the beginning of my life to mediation. In hindsight, it would have been a whole lot better road than the road I chose. I took the road of my karma, my spiritual path everyday life, not monasteries or churches. I worship in my own heart at home or wherever I am.
I've known a few rich people and I've known a few poor people. I wouldn't want either. Both are obsessed with money to the point of identifying with it, some for too much and some for not enough. And haven't I seen over and over that love of money really is the root of all evil. Think about it for 2 or 3 seconds and you'll see it. When I set out to learn the ways of the world, join it, be a part of it, it spit me out like an old hillbilly spittin backer at a spittin contest. I couldn't get the Jews out of my mind. Couldn't get the Indians out of my mind. Couldn't get the horrors of my race out of my mind as well as the horrors committed by my nation. I came up in a church that wanted me to be a missionary in some mosquito and snake infested place to put the natives in bluejeans and tshirts and teach them dancing will send them to hell.
I don't believe in the Capitalist way that 1 percent takes all and leaves 99 percent to struggle the best they can and engage in wars. Nothing I can do about it. It's the ruling ideology held in place by the ones with economic power. And then there is the Republican party that takes from the working people and gives to the rich and the corporations. This is the world I was born into. And the world of television that has altered the form of conversation to anecdotal advertisements for ourselves has bypassed me completely by now. I left it's influence in 1961 and never went back. Of course, I see it plenty at other people's houses. I pay attention to see what it is that the people I live among are believing this year. Watching movies on a tv as monitor is without commercials, mind-numbing gremlins that drill holes in the mind with repetition and tell you you're not good enough unless you have things.
From the standpoint of first coming to the mountains, then the perspective was going to the mountains, thinking I was way out in the boonies. Appalachian poverty, hollers, moonshine stills, illiteracy was the human landscape I imagined from books. When I arrived here, I wondered where all that was. I saw the press mountain people get is not in line with mountain people at all. There is the temptation to straighten it out, write volumes about how mountain people live, how they really live. But, then I take a look at it the way the mountain people see it---it's ok, keeps intruders away. The worse it looks to them, the better it looks to us. There are all kinds of people in the mountains, like Dickens's archetypal characters and characters in novels by Indian writer RK Narayan.
I've come to a place where I found the world in miniature, a size I can operate with, the human dimension of community everywhere. I've come to see the value of family in a place where family still has value. When it comes down to what I see after moderate travels, paying attention, and much reading of other cultures, it's the people of these mountains I want to spend the rest of my life among. Last week, talking with someone who has been here as long as I have, he started complaining about the way the local people talk. He wishes they'd learn some grammar and talk right. All I could say was, It's music to my ear. This is the way I love to hear people talk. I thought, what a sad state to live in a place so long and the way the people around you talk grates on your nerves. All I could think was, what a waste of one's life to miss the music of one of the more beautiful accents in the country.