wooden rocking chair
It feels like I had an insight yesterday into what I meant the day before, writing about feeling like the passenger instead of the driver in my vehicle through life. I questioned if my apparent detachment was indifference or true letting go. The difference is great, though subtle. I had been invited to a big outdoor "party" of white middle-class people from Away. I knew a few of them. My car's battery was dead from a brake light that stayed on all night and half the next day. Somewhat down-hearted, I decided not to go to the party. Next door neighbor called and asked if I'm going to the party. They're going too, if I'd like to ride with them. Ok. Friend in passenger seat went to the back seat and left the passenger seat to me. I was sure he had not read what I had written the day before. Thought it odd he should do that when the subject of passenger seat was in the front of my mind. I decided to go, because suddenly it was so easy. Plus, I told myself I do need to get out into the world of others a few times a week to keep in touch with others. I could stay home all the time, but do need social interaction with others for the mental/emotional exercise, and possibly the comfort of feeling acceptable among others. I get terribly bored of myself. I sat in the passenger seat thinking this is odd, so odd it's like a cosmic set-up. It told me, if I want to believe my intuitions, the day is going to be a passenger seat experience. I received it as such, something to pay attention to at the party to find examples of the feeling, if they're there. I also could be misinterpreting and fooling myself to please self. I allow plenty of room for fooling self while interpreting self's thoughts and actions. It's easier to fool self than anybody else.
tunnel in the woods
Riding down the road, I was thinking of the difference between sitting, looking out the front and side windows, how more relaxed it is not to be driving with focus on keeping the car on the road. I feel like driving is a good focus of attention. Even when we're doing it unconsciously, we are constantly in process of keeping the car on the road. Good mental exercise. I can't help but think the focus of driving, a kind of meditation, is necessary for everyone on earth in this time, as learning to drive is essential for living anywhere in the world. Within a half mile I'd settled into my new role of riding instead of driving, observing my feeling, the views out the windows beside the road. I've learned with a front wheel drive car, the front wheels follow where my eyes go. If I look off to the right at a remaining old wooden barn, the front wheels veer to the right. Same to the left. Front wheel drive has taught me to keep my eyes on the road at all times. It's a strange phenomenon that has something to do with gyroscopic effect difference from pushing and pulling the weight mass. I didn't like taking science courses in school, though I see often the benefit of learning at least the scientific method in everyday life. Those who don't have it don't miss it, but having it, I am grateful. I came out of a church that preached evolution was a communist lie. I'd never looked into it. Freshman biology in college brought the subject up. I wondered how an educated woman, like the professor, could believe both God and evolution. I knew she went to church. I asked her, person to person one day after class, how she can believe in both God and evolution. Her answer: Its easy. She dismissed me as a dumb shit, not knowing how deeply her two words resonated throughout my consciousness. It was the moment I started getting it.
There is not a separation of God and evolution, like I don't anymore see a divide between science and art. I can see a divide between science and some kinds of religion. Religion is a fiction of the human mind. I feel it's credible to say science and what we call spirituality would be in accord. In my way of seeing it, true spirituality questions. Questioning is inhibited in religion, a sign of little faith. Reading a spiritual principle in scripture, instead of just saying, That's right, and going on, I believe the spiritual principle wants to be questioned and explored until I understand its meaning and its application in everyday life, by experience. Initiate an action, put it out in the world, and wait to see how it comes back. Make it something you want back. Every scripture that's ever been written includes something to do with karma: you get what you give, everything comes back. To a lot of preachers I've heard, this tends to be about winning souls to the Lord like it's an Amway pyramid scheme. If you browbeat and alienate enough people, some will come to the Lord. Your harvest will be acceptable. In my view, that is so not what it's about, the best example I know of. It means if you treat somebody like shit, you will be treated like shit immediately, soon or eventually. You'll have your own moment. Everything has its return. When I'm generous with others, others tend to be generous with me. When I'm mean-spirited with somebody, soon the same one or somebody else will be mean-spirited toward me. The evidence we all know this principle unconsciously is when something objectionable happens to somebody and the individual says, "What'd I do? I didn't do nothin to deserve this!" Maybe and maybe not. Sometimes, as far as I can tell, shit happens. Sometimes it is the other one sowing and I'm on the receiving end. I didn't do something to start it, then it falls to me to send the return. Like my friends who have been in prison tell somebody on their way in, first time somebody disrespects you in any way, knock him on his ass. You will get your ass kicked severely gang-style, but word goes around you'll fight and you will be left alone.
At the party I found a place to sit on a step with a paper plate of food and beer in a freezing glass, fork and napkin. Spoke with a few people I knew. Every time I spoke with anybody for no matter how brief a span of time, here came somebody fulfilling their duty to interrupt any two people they see talking. This is why I don't like to go anyplace anymore. Coffee shop, too. I never had a conversation with anyone I talked with. We'd start talking about something; here came the interruption, like a cell phone ringing, totally unconscious of their rudeness. It's the American way. It's what Americans do. It is a duty to every living American to interrupt any two people you see talking. The duty is absolute. I knew this going into the gathering, was put off the first time it happened, reminded self this is America. It is not rudeness. It is someone fulfilling their duty. I settled into it and fell to my own code of behavior. I've made it a point with self when interrupted I consciously forget the subject we were talking about. Will not go through, "What were we talking about?" What the hell? It doesn't matter. This is America. It's against the rules to talk about anything with focus of attention that's about something, anyway. I was visiting another interruption fest. I said to self, Ok, this is what we're doing now. I found that through the time there, I was interrupted every time I talked with somebody. It was a mosh pit. Every interruption had nothing to do with our focus. Change focus. Change focus again. I found that when the interrupter engaged the other in conversation, I went back to sitting quietly, paying them no mind. Our conversation was over. It used to aggravate the hell out of me. I noticed yesterday I gently bounced from one interruption to the next, all by surprise, each from a different direction, keeping me reeling, upright, flowing with the momentum. Now, I allow. Why get aggravated when interruption is more American than apple pie? Not everybody likes apple pie. I say to self, This is what we do. Allowing puts me in the passenger seat. Like, don't sweat it, dude.
photos by tj worthington