There are no immunities, no shortcuts. Life is great that way. We invent our buffers and cushions, our escapes and hide-a-ways, but life tracks us down and nails us with a big wet one right on the kisser, and we have to deal with the impact and implications of being alive.
There are no free rides. Everybody pays the fare. We don’t get out of this place alive, and we have a number of encounters with grief, loss, suffering and sorrow along the way. So, don’t be thinking the scourge won’t come near your tent. When it comes to scourges, it’s only a matter of time. Scourges level the playing field, make us all one.
Buck up and deal with it, that’s my best advice. Everybody before you has had to deal with it, as well as they could, with the resources available to them, like it or not. When it’s your turn, give it your best shot.
Do your work—the work that best expresses who you are—and don’t let hopelessness get you down. That’s my best advice. Of course, it’s hopeless. The Iroquois never had a chance. Didn’t stop them. They went right on being Iroquois to the very end. That’s what I say! Go right on doing what you do, what you love, what is most wonderfully “you” to the very end. We only get one shot, so far as we know, at being who we are. If conditions aren’t favorable, that’s too bad. We still have to be who we are.
If you were going to exhibit godliness what would you do? What does godliness call for, require, rule out, prohibit? If our overriding concerning is the expression of godliness in the world, how does that concern impact all our other concerns? What are we, then, not concerned about? What are we, then, concerned about? Our view of God and godliness conditions all of life.
If we have a militaristic, Law Giver, Judge—A Wrathful, Vengeful, Imposer of the Straight and Narrow view of God, we can slaughter the infidel without a twinge of conscience. If we have a merciful, long suffering, loving kindness, prodigal’s father view of God, we will sit and wait forever for love to work its magic. Everything flows from, and hinges upon, how we understand God. It’s perspective all the way.
The Buddha gets to be the Buddha by understanding that there is no Buddha. The Christ gets to be the Christ by understanding that there is no Christ. Or, better, that all are Buddha. All are Christ. It’s important to kill the Buddha you meet on the road because the external, out there, over there Buddha keeps you from realizing your own Buddha nature. Fred Craddock says, “The message of the Messiah is ‘There is no Messiah!’.” The Rabbi’s gift is “The Messiah is one of you!” There we are.
The problem is that we cannot be closer to the Buddha than our idea of the Buddha. We cannot be closer to the Messiah than our idea of the Messiah. We can only be as Christ-like as our idea of the Christ allows us to be. Right seeing (and hearing). Right thinking. Right doing. Right being. It all depends on what we bring to the table. And, it’s perspective all the way.