sun in the pines
It's Sunday afternoon, perfect weather, sun out, mild breeze, just enough to ring the wind chimes lightly, several doves at the bird feeder. I like having doves around. I love their voices, who-o-o. I like watching them take off straight up like helicopters, whistling the chirp they make rising from the ground. When I was baptized here in Brush Creek, Glade Valley, in a little baptizin' hole by the side of the road in the meadow with cows around, I think it was 1978, one of the women in the church said she saw three doves fly over, which everybody took for a sign the spirit was there. For me, it just meant three doves flew over. though it did have an interesting ring of mysticism in it. I didn't know, still don't know. Hooray if it was the presence of the Holy Spirit, whatever that is. All I can figure where Holy Spirit is concerned is it might be the aspect of God that communicates with us in signs and intuitions. Please spare me the argument about brain chemistry.
Since one day last week when I wrote comparing getting God's attention to a dog's attention, it has stayed in my mind, because it resonated in a way I'd never seen before, like an insight into God's nature I'd not seen until the moment those sentences were written. I go into a friend's house with a dog. First time, the dog sniffs me, looks at me, appeals to me with eyes to acknowledge presence of consciousness. If I ignore the dog like it's not even there, not seeing the dog, the dog will go lie down on it's place and pay me no more mind. If I walk in the house, see the dog, make eye-contact, speak to the dog by name, touch and pet it, I have a friend I didn't even know a minute before. The dog will watch every move I make waiting for an opening to have some attention from new friend. It rang and rang in my head and continues to ring like windchimes as I see in God's nature something I'd never noticed before.
When somebody doesn't believe the spirit is present, the spirit doesn't care. So I had to believe first, to get God's attention. When I was as confirmed in my atheist phase along the way, totally convinced, as I ever was, some discourses of Meher Baba fell into my hands. Two days of reading randomly in his discourses and I became convinced that God indeed is. Once that was known, or maybe it is more accurate to say believed, I could not live as before, when I didn't see it. Meher Baba recommended that I practice, really practice, the religion of my culture. Baptist? Baptist. That was a Tall order, since I'd spent my time post emancipation rejecting everything Baptist. All of a sudden a consciousness that knew me better than I knew myself was with me wherever I was, guided me to the mountains in the course of a year. All I knew of the mountains were Walker Evans photographs and Doris Ullman photographs of Appalachian poverty. That's all I thought there was in the mountains, poverty and illiteracy. I was going to my little cabin home in the wilderness of toothless illiteracy, Wrong Turn North Carolina. Leaving "the world," I was given a dog for a companion and teacher.
What a joke it was to find the world was here too. Of course it was. What kind of thinking led me to think it might not be? Not thinking. This is where I learned "the world" is the human mental construct we collectively agree upon, calling it reality. There came a time that when something happened seemingly from outside that reality, and someone said, "That was weird," I'd think without saying, Not necessarily. I wouldn't say anything, because if queried, I couldn't give an answer, certainly not an objective answer to pass a test by. I feel like now I live in a zone between the reality of this world, the mind, and the reality of the spirit as revealed in the Tao te ching. The way of the spirit and the way of the world in the same sentence make a paradox. Two lines from verse 71: Not-knowing is true knowledge. / Presuming to know is a disease. To the mind that adheres to the commonly agreed upon mental construct reality, it's nonsense. Seen by the flow of the non-aggressive spirit, it doesn't even need thinking about. It's clear as the moon on a still pond.
An email this morning from my friend Sarah who grew up in Myrtle Beach saying she'll be playing fiddle for a square dance with a youth group at Meher Baba's center between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach on 500 acres of virgin forest and beach with cabins and communal kitchens. That's where he knocked my socks off and set me to going barefoot. Her email brought back those 2 days and nights of mind racing as fast as it's ever gone, receiving new understandings, one after the other almost unto Tilt. I suppose that someone who calls himself a scientist would say I did, indeed, go tilt. Maybe I did. Hooray if I did. As a result, I don't believe that objective is possible. I take science for a good thing, like I take auto mechanics for a good thing. In the world of the agreed upon mental construct, science is a God-send. Maybe someday as a result of advanced science the people of "the world" will lay off hating and killing each other. God hasn't been able to convince us there is a better way to live in the world over 5,000 years of avatars and scriptures. Maybe science can help.
Found a good quotation from Konrad Lorenz, the Austrian ethologist, I believe I found the missing link between animal and civilized man. It is us.