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Friday, December 13, 2013

PARADISE NOW


robert indiana


It feels a little odd to be wanting to say something from the perspective of advancing age, but it's such a new understanding to me, I want to pass it on, maybe for somebody who might be ready to see it. It kind of feels like the momentum of my life has been toward seeing that the only thing that is important is the other people in our lives. Others. Listening to a taped interview with Polish philosopher, Henryk Skolimowski, in the car on the way to town and back. He was talking about the Ten Commandments, noting what was important then that is not important now, like the first five that are no longer paid attention to. They were specific to another time. The interviewer brought up possibility that Thou Shalt Not Kill could apply to all living things. Skolimowski said the Ten Commandments are anthropocentric, relating to humans. The bell in my head went, Ding. I had taken that for granted without consideration it might be any other way, an uneducated assumption. And it was interesting to note the change in "God's" personality since then. He was talking about how the first five Commandments show a jealous God, who wants us to have no other gods before Him. In that time, a great variety of gods were in the air. This was the beginning of one God, monotheism, when polytheism had been the tradition since the beginning. Traditions take awhile to break, as we in this time know. The new One God was laying down his law that is basic foundation to a good life. Laws like natural laws, like gravity and speed of light, but these the invisible natural laws of our humanity. Jesus personalized God a good  bit more, showing us a loving God, a God that is love and love only, love its very self. Jesus transcended the Ten Commandments advising the practice of love in everyday life.
 
robert indiana
 
 
Skolimowski was talking about living with reverence. He quoted gospel of Thomas saying something to the effect that Jesus said Paradise is here if you have eyes to see it. I was feeling what he was saying. Suddenly I saw that I do, indeed, live reverentially. I value as sacred the life around me. I value my mountain as sacred. I have come to see, in my own way of seeing, that this side of Paradise is Paradise too, when we have the eyes to see it. I don't know if I have the eyes to see it, but I have a sense of it. A couple weeks ago in conversation with some friends I mentioned that I've come to see this side of the veil is the same as the other side of the veil, it's just that on the other side we apparently see this world we are in now is a very important voyage for the soul. Evidently, Earth is the planet of love energy, the planet souls go to for the experience of love. Looking at what we call the news, love isn't to be found anywhere. Yet, in my own everyday life, I live among people who feel a sense of community and some that do not, but the people around me are friendly with each other, offer to help each other, care about each other in what I see is a reverential way. Many are venal minded, too, but even the venal ones have their reasons and their own reverence that is just different from others not so venal. We have a wide range of humanity in a community, in this case, Whitehead Community, where people that know each other get along with each other, unless there's a falling out, which is sometimes unavoidable. As a rule, the people I know have a belief that the people around them are worthy of respect and even reverence for the spirit of life that's in them. I don't mean everybody goes around thinking this or even seeing it. I mean we humans like to get along with each other. In the learning time of school, being popular is so incredibly important as a social expression of love, needing to be loved. Falling in love with pop stars, an image, a product, can be called empty and misguided, but it's love. Love doesn't matter if it's for a cat or imaginary. That, for me, is the cool thing about love as God, it doesn't matter who or what the love is for, love is God, God is love. It doesn't matter if the love is for a rock. The love is in the heart and love is God, and God is with you.
 
robert indiana
 
 
People I see in the course of a day, whatever they're feeling, whatever they're going through, whatever their degree of stress, are operating from love within. I saw the daughter of a friend who had moved away, and in our brief exchange, in just the friendliness between us, it was a love energy between us. I see someone else I know, we speak, shake hands, smile, speak pleasantly, and it's love energy flowing. Each likes the other and wants to be liked. Biting a lip to stop oneself from saying something hurtful is an act of love. Just saying, Hi, How are you? I'm fine, is an act of love. Too much Western society has linked love to sex, made it a four letter word. Then the endless possibilities of love expression are missed. Love is the very spirit in us that keeps us from collapsing like a boneless chicken. I review people I know whose behavior doesn't appear to have much love in it, and it's there. It's there in abundance. Without naming them I can see half a dozen people I know who have a name for low-life behavior, people some believe would just as soon shoot you as look at you, I see motivated by love and operating by love. The need that everyone has to be well thought of is an expression of love. Hunting is an expression of love. A hunter understands that. Just under our skin we're energized by love. We open up right away when we see someone we know as a friend. We keep our armor up for people we don't know, but we're still as friendly as wariness allows. We live in a world of other people. The Dalai Lama I found quoted on this matter, a saying that there are so many of us and we are so close together that we have to get along. And largely we do. When our hearts are beating we are living in love.
 
hh the dalai lama
 
 
What could Paradise be, but love without defensive behavior? Brings to mind William Blake, who said, "Damn  braces. Bless relaxes." That damn braces brought immediately to mind a used-to-be friend, who by this time in his life is "stove-up" with spinal issues, constant pain, stiff back, braces and operations that don't work. This is somebody who blames everything on somebody else. His mind swirls with blame obsessively. And now he's locked down. His back is stiff as a broomstick and he will be in agony the rest of his life. He'll sit in a recliner and watch tv and probably live a long time. Probably has a sucker woman taking care of him, until he puts a gun to her head and calls her every hateful name toward women he'd already called her many times, the last time. Then he goes into puppy-dog eyes mode and finds another sucker looking for a man to take care of. Love energy motivates him, but he's tied up in so many knots of guilt and blame within that the love gets expressed in "twisted" ways, projections of his disgust for himself. Make it difficult for people around us and their love light dims for us. I feel it is an overt act of love to go out in the cold morning and carry hay into the meadow for the donkeys and calves. I talk with them eye to eye, individually, like a parent letting all the babies know they're loved. I see the spirit of God in them the same as I see it in people. I've adopted calling them people. I even think of birds as people, frogs as people, ants as people. They are varying levels of consciousness. All are conscious and all have personalities, as seen by others of the same consciousness level. I feel like we are all people, not just the two-leggeds.
 
robert indiana
 
 
Visiting with Jack the Donkey or Jen the Donkey I see them the same as I see people. I respect them the same. I communicate with them as I do with people, though without the language part, which is a very small part of communication. Much of it is eye-contact, which I do when I talk with the donkeys and the calves. Cows are conscious too. They want to be liked/loved. I like walking among my donkeys and calves with love feeling flowing between us. Feeding them is an act of love and they see it as such. They appreciate it and they let me know. Sometimes when I'm talking with either Jack or Jen, the donkey will make a snorting sound or a flutter of the lips like a horse, letting me know they are aware of what I'm saying. We humans have to look at each other when we're talking to each other, but the equines don't need to be face to face to talk. I do my best to learn from them how they want to communicate with me. I'm loving getting to know Jack and Jenny individually, people from a pre-human culture by millions of years in the past. I'm fascinated by how tuned in to the human mind the donkeys are. It seems like they have a natural affection for humans. Their humility is innate. Like dogs are known for forgiveness, I'd say donkeys are known for humility. I have never regarded Jack or Jen in any way but a loving way. I don't hit them, kick them or yell at them. So they are good to me. I walk around behind Jack without even a thought he might kick me, because I know he wont. Can't say that yet for Jenny, because we don't know each other as well yet as Jack and I know each other. Jenny is very different from Jack. Jenny is pesky. She will bite my shirt tail in play. This morning I was bent over rubbing Jack's front legs and Jenny rested her chin on my back. A case can be made for that one experience a moment in Paradise.   
 
robert Indiana himself
 
 
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