the in/out door
Throughout my adult life I've looked to finding out who I am, following the advice of Socrates and Jesus. Both of them left us some reliably sound counsel. I have a feeling know thyself is the shortest verse in the Bible to make it the easiest to learn, a way of stressing its importance. In the church I grew up in, knowing yourself was never a consideration. Just don't doubt. Only walking the straight (the word in the Bible is strait) and narrow, attempting to appear to follow the endless list of Don'ts put forth by the Preacher. Enforced by the Judge, my mother, sentenced to be hit until I have cried enough to pay for whatever crimes committed that day, by the male authority figure in the house. I knew the hitting was coming, whatever I did, so I went ahead and did what I wanted to do, thinking I'll get hit anyway. No big deal. At least I get to do what I want to do. I don't think walking the straight line is it, like highway patrol makes somebody walk on a straight line or else.
I can't help but see the "strait and narrow" like the entrance to a harbor where the water is calm, inner peace. An entrance to a harbor is most often narrow, one ship at a time, one soul in human form at a time. From this and scriptures with similar meaning I've found in texts from other religions, it tells me to go my own way, in medieval Christian terms, my pilgrim way. In the same vein I've fantasized my place on the mountain a parallel of Han Shan's Cold Mountain mountain experience, though different place, time, spiritual experience. I'm half a hermit. Still, I have a great deal of need to connect with other people. Selma's coffee shop takes care of that social need now. There, I can have encounters with people I know, even meaningful conversations, by which I do not mean soap opera aint-it-awful kind of talk. Just talking about varieties of possible subjects is enjoyable. It's a place where everyone is comfortable that you're not being judged, no serious judging going on. Selma's spirit doesn't allow judging as a way of talking. One day I said something riotously judgmental and felt like the puppy the peed on the floor the 10th time. Selma thought nothing of it, but I thought plenty of it when I heard myself.
It seems like on my spiritual path, it's not about emphasis on punishment. I came up in Christendom that has a major emphasis on punishment. I don't believe that came from God. Of course, I know there is God's instruction in the Bible to kill em all, but the God I know doesn't even think about punishment. We punish ourselves so much, we make God's role our comforter for all the suffering we create for ourselves when we get carried away with self-punishment. The wheel of karma. That's this world stuff, the world of duality. God is beyond duality. Something I've found interesting is every time that I can think of I've asked for something I need in prayer, the answer comes through a believer. That blows my mind. It tells me God really is consciousness. In Neolithic times there was no question of whether or not there is God; there was only God.
We've come a long ways from seeing our lives in the hands of God, directly. Now, it's nothing to be talking with someone and they say, "I don't believe in God." I have no issue with that. It's a totally 20th century thing to say. I am content with anyone believing in God and anyone not believing. I figure everyone is on their own spiritual path, wherever each one is along it, some aware of it, some not. I see atheism a valid place along one's path. I was convinced that way, too, until I had my experience that made it clear to me that God, indeed, is. Ok, I'm convinced; now what? Live your life. What? Is that all? Is that all? Isn't that everything? Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be--the future's not ours to see, que sera, sera. Don't worry, be happy. Awareness that I have access to the Divine, makes a wholly different approach to everyday life than before, when I didn't believe it possible. It doesn't mean I have to be a missionary and browbeat everyone around me to see the way I see. Where I'm at is where I'm at on my path. I yam what I yam, I'm Popeye the sailor man. Popeye was the same as a living man when I was little. I knew he was a cartoon, but he was himself, he was alive.