Sunday, November 23, 2008

11/23/08--On the Path of White Rabbits

Do not think you know what the future needs to be. The future has a life of its own. It is not ours to assign a life to the future. It is ours to assist the emergence of the life that is waiting to be born in our lives, and through our lives into the future. How do we do that? We listen. We look. We understand. Eyes that see, remember. Ears that hear. A heart that understands. These are the tools that bring life to life in ourselves and in the world.

The watch words—Did somebody say “watch”? How timely!—Did somebody say “timely”? This is too weird—of scripture, remember, are “Wait” and “Watch” because we do not know the time of that which is coming, of that which is waiting to be born. We do not know what the future needs to be. Trying to make our ideas for the future be the future destroys the future that is waiting to be born. We do not know what is coming, or what needs to happen in the service of what is coming, and so we have to allow ourselves to be surprised, to be shocked and appalled.

This is the nature of magic. Magic is shocking and appalling. It is disgusting and revolting. The Messiah is crucified. How’s that for disconcertion? Dismay? Devastation? Now we’re talking magic! Magic has to destroy our dreams in order to deliver its gift, and the gift is always more than we could dream up in a thousand years of dreaming. Ah, but, no sooner is the gift delivered than we begin to dream anew. We have it all planned out in no time. Resurrection. Ascension. Return to right wrongs and reward the faithful. We wrote the script practically overnight, and missed the “the time of our visitation” again. And still don’t know “the things that make for peace.”

Magic is the reversal of our happy plans. The gift is not what we want it to be. The Messiah is never who we have in mind. The help we get is not the help we are waiting for. We don’t know what the future needs to be. Our life is not OUR life. It is not MY life to do with as I please. These are all the lessons we refuse to learn. They don’t mesh with our wishes for ourselves and our lives. We keep looking for that which is not coming and waiting for that which will never arrive. “Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on? Could it be a faded rose from days gone by? And did I hear you say he was meeting you here today, to take you to his mansion in the sky?” Amen! Can I have an Amen? Amen! Jesus is coming soon, you know. The end is near. Prepare to meet thy God! Amen! Amen!

Here is what is necessary in order for us Delta Dawns to become the Virgin Mary, mothers and mid-wives of the future that is waiting to come to us, and through us, into the world: Put yourself in a receptive frame of mind and see what comes. Do not try to hurry the coming. Our place is not to speed things up, but to receive what comes, to sift through what comes and let the chaff blow away with the wind. Everything that comes isn’t worth having. Our place is to know what’s what. To know the difference between what is the gift and what is the clutter. The gift comes with a kiss of energy, of power, of life. It’s a light, gentle kiss on your cheek. You can miss it if you are thinking what a waste of time this is, and how enlightenment/realization/seeing/hearing/understanding better hurry up if it wants you to have anything to do with it, or if you are looking for something too big to miss.

The kind of energy that transforms our lives and brings us to life is easily dismissed and ignored. It doesn’t have the power of thunderstorms and atomic bombs. It’s more like gravity, or the force of water through the landscape, or the ability of a gnat to irritate and disturb. Our place is to be disturbed, awakened. We choose what disturbs us, what to attend and what to overlook. Our place is to choose wisely, to know “the time of our visitation,” to recognize the White Rabbit when it flashes across our path.

The gift can be missed. We can not know “the time of our visitation,” or “the things that make for peace,” again and again. We can not look, or, looking, look for the wrong thing. The Messiah better match up to our ideas about the Messiah, you know. Those heavens better open and he—and he better be a he—better come riding down on those mighty clouds of joy decked out in those flashing beams of light with all that fanfare and all those angles fluttering around. He better not come like a white rabbit, a girly white rabbit at that, flashing by, winking, disappearing.

How do we know “it” when it comes along? The White Rabbit? The Holy Grail? How do we know when our future flirts with us, winks, and disappears? I call it an energy flux. It’s like a fresh breeze on a sultry day, or a whiff of chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven. Those kinds of experiences break into our awareness and are gone. We notice them, but we have no chance of holding onto them, sitting down with them. Yet, if we permit it, we can allow that momentary interruption to deepen our awareness generally, and see where that takes us. Awareness unleashed from bondage to the concerns of the moment transforms the moment, and frees us to live in the current of a different life. Who knows where it will lead? We have to trust ourselves to something.

We have to place ourselves in the service of our lives, of Life, and take our chances. In that respect, the old prayer takes on new meaning, and is quite applicable: “Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy! Lord have mercy!” Life, have mercy! We are quite at the mercy of that which is better equipped to do without us than we are to do without it. Taking our chances with Life is our only hope, and it destroys our hopes and dreams for our lives. In order to have Life, in order to be alive, we have to hand over our idea of what our life is to be. Make sure you understand that. That’s the price we pay to knock on heaven’s door.

But, on the other hand, what exactly do we have to lose? What keeps us locked in place? Seeing, thinking, doing, being as we have always seen, and thought, and done, and been? What are we afraid of? Our life is out of sight over the hill, and we are thinking there might be some terror over the hill, and stay in place, to the delight of the terror we call our life. We don’t gain a thing by not following our life, by not knocking on heaven’s door. We are just afraid of what we might lose, and we don’t have anything to lose. That’s the irony of our situation.

The life we wish we could live is always distracting us from the life that is available to be lived. We are always dismissing the life that is waiting for us to live it in favor of the life of our fantasies and desires. We look past the treasure dreaming of the treasure. Most of what passes for “waiting for the White Rabbit” and “searching for the Holy Grail” is pretending to wait and search. We are “waiting.” We are “searching,” with quotation marks around the words, meaning we are not really waiting, not really searching. We are hoping that Life will come along, all right, so we are waiting and searching to that extent at least, but we are waiting and searching with strings attached. We want Life to fit neatly into our life, in a seamless, invisible, kind of way. We want to be alive on our terms. We don’t want Life to inconvenience us, to make demands on us, to require us to live differently. We just want to be alive, doing what we have always done, without having to go to any trouble or change any plans. We just want to feel better about living the way we are living.

We wait for a while for the White Rabbit to appear, see nothing, decide nothing is happening or is going to happen, and move on. We see nothing because we are looking for a white rabbit. The White Rabbit comes in all forms, and is quite unrecognizable in most of them. We have to trust ourselves to the strangest things. That’s the first thing. The second is that when we decide nothing is happening, what that means is that nothing that we want to happen is happening. The White Rabbit has no necessary connection with what we want to happen. That’s the second thing.

We may call it “waiting for the White Rabbit,” but we really mean, “waiting for what we want.” We have our ideas, or plans, our schemes, our agendas. We wait for life to serve us, for the White Rabbit to come along in servant’s clothes, with a silver tray, and peeled grapes on a satin pillow. We know what we want. Nothing less will do. And, with that condition in place, we may as well move on, because we don’t have what it takes to be on the trail of the White Rabbit.

Here’s the deal about white rabbits. They are like photographs (everything is, you know). We never know where the next photograph will be found or when one will come along, AND we have to put ourselves in the path of photographs, and wait, watching, for their eventual arrival. We have to go in search of photographs. We have to track them, stalk them, pull them forth from their hiding places, dig them up, nose them out, dog them relentlessly until they raise the white flag and come out with their hands in the air. And, if there be contradiction tucked away in this little paragraph, well have a healthy helping and enjoy the meal. That’s what it tastes like, being a photographer, being alive, in the company of white rabbits.

One of the best ways I know of putting ourselves in the path of white rabbits is by engaging regularly in the right kind of conversation. The right kind of conversation is governed by three rules. No agenda. No frivolity. Nothing but heart. No agenda means we don’t structure the conversation to achieve a particular outcome. We don’t come together to talk about a certain topic. Conversation is conversation. It is not lecture or discussion. No frivolity means we avoid news, weather, and sports. Rants about what we think about the economy and what should be done to solve the world’s problems are not the right kind of conversation. Nothing but heart means we talk about the heart of the matter. What is happening in our lives and how we are dealing with it? Where we are encountering resistance and depletion and where we are finding assistance, encouragement and replenishment? The future unveils itself and white rabbits appear when we simply say how it is with us to those who can hear us with compassion and help us clarify what is important and what we can do to bring it forth in our lives.

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