Sunday, August 30, 2009

What would be helpful? 08/30/09

What would be helpful? What do you need help with? You’re looking for the right place, the right environment, the company of the right kind of people to help you do what? It would be helpful to me if you knew what you needed help with. Perhaps, you need help knowing what would be helpful. That would be helpful to know.

You have to help me, help us, help you. It would help me, help us, if you knew what you need, or, at least, if you knew that you need something. Why would you go anywhere, particularly at 9:20 on a Sunday morning, not knowing what you were doing there, what you were looking for, hoping to find? You wouldn’t go to the grocery store without something in mind, if it were only to wander the aisles looking for something to appeal to you. You wouldn’t go to the doctor without a reason for being there. You wouldn’t go to a spiritual retreat center looking for a place to bowl. What are you here for? What do you need help with?

If we are to help you, you have to do your part. Your part is squaring up with who you are (and who you also are) and how it is with you (and how it also is with you). Your work is looking until you see, listening until you hear, asking until you understand. Seeing, hearing, understanding—knowing and not running. The Cyclops represents all we don't want to face about our life. About life. Our work is to face it, to deal with it. In the right kind of company. The right kind of company helps us do what we must do alone. Recognition. Acceptance. Accommodation. The bringing forth of our gift, our life, our destiny.

Now, I know you don’t want to talk about fate and destiny. Sounds too deterministic to you. You want to be free to do anything you want. The problem with that is you are not free to want anything. You are limited to wanting what you want. You cannot want what you don’t want. As you grow up, you begin to want what you ought to want. Your work is to want your destiny, to fit into the life that is yours to live, that no one can live but you. Our destiny is the life that is our life to live. It has nothing to do with what we want for ourselves, with the life we wish were ours. Our fate is the way things are in our life. It is what is waiting on us when we come out of the womb. Reality. The facts of life. If we don't use our fate in service of our destiny it becomes our burden to bear, our “lot in life,” a ready excuse that keeps us from having any life at all.

Our task is to take our fate—the givens of our life—and use it in the service of our destiny—what is ours to do. The quality of our life hinges on US, on our consciousness, our awareness, our full participation in life as it is (our fate) in light of our life as it can be (our destiny). We play the central part in bringing our life to life, in bringing ourselves to life in the life that is ours to live. This is our work to do alone, and we can only do it in the company of, with the help of, the right kind of people.

The bad news is that we don't get much out of it beyond having done it. Fortune and glory don’t enter in. Destiny isn't a ticker tape parade. LIFE is what we get out of the deal. To look for more is to miss the point. To ask what's in it for us is to miss the point. We are here to do what needs to be done, what will not be done without us. We are in it for IT!

Now, the problem with all of this is that I’m answering questions you aren’t asking. No one can give you his, give you her, questions. Your questions are your questions. The catch here is that you have to be asking questions. This is also your work: You have to be asking questions!

What are your questions? Knowing what your questions are is fundamental. Curiosity is the essential characteristic, which is discouraged early on. No wonder we are in such a mess. We are told to not ask so many questions, to sit down and be quiet, to do what we are told. Questions are out of the question, yet, questions are the hope of the world! So, what are your questions? Ask them. Examine them. Reformulate them. Perfect them. Expand them. Ask more of them. You can't ask too many questions. The deadest people alive ask no questions. Have no questions. No life. There is a connection!

If you are asking questions, you know what you need to hear. You can only hear what you are ready to hear. I can say all this stuff but you can’t hear it until you’re ready. But I have to say it. I have to say it because that's my part. Your part is to be as ready as you are to hear what you need to hear. To listen, hoping to hear. We have to listen for what catches our ear. Sometimes, we don’t know what we need to hear until we hear it. But, in order to hear anything we have to be listening for something.

Hearing is a function of listening. Seeing is a function of looking. Things from “out of nowhere” come to those who are looking for something, somewhere. We can't be so intent on what we are seeking that we overlook the Find. See the photograph on the way to the photograph is the first rule of photography and life. Looking for gold, we miss the oil. Looking for India, the New World just gets in the way. We miss the treasure looking for the treasure. Looking is the momentum required to see. What we see may not be what we are looking for, but if we hadn't been looking, we wouldn't have seen.

Asking, seeking, knocking is essential for ears to hear, eyes to see, hearts to understand. The work required to do our work is curiosity. We have to be alchemists of sorts, interested in seeing what we can do with the base metal of our lives, wondering how we might turn what we have been given into gold. We are the philosopher’s stone, the mystical agent required to transform the hum-drum and the ho-hum into dazzling sparkle, light and life. How do we do that? That’s our question to ask and answer.

Those who are dead and dying think their lives are just fine as they are and that all they need is a little luck and a little more money to have it made. Our lives aren't fine as they are. We are living at odds with ourselves. Fragmented. Dis-integrated. Off the beam. In the Wasteland. And we know it.

We know how it is with us and don't want to admit it because we are lazy and it would take too much work to change what needs changing. We want somebody to fix our lives for us and do for us what needs to be done to make us happy. Mama! We want our Mama! But our lives are our own, and it is up to us to live them. It is up to us to take fate and turn it into destiny, to bring ourselves to life. We have a life beyond what life has done to us, is doing to us, and we bring that into being in the time left for living.

There is more to us than the facts which define us. There is more to us than the lot that is ours. There is life beyond the life we are living. Being alive is what we do in response to the life beyond life. Being alive is what we do in response to what stirs, sometimes, within. It is when we move in sync with That Which Knows, trusting it, listening for it. Being alive is what we do when we hear the music and dance. When we know what has to be done and do it. Being alive is when we work out what's right for us within the terms and conditions, context and circumstances, of our lives. Being alive is when we do what needs to be done AND pay the bills because that also needs to be done. Being alive is when we live in light of what is right for us without neglecting our other duties and responsibilities.

Of course, this is not easy. It is the Hero’s Journey. The temptation is to decide it isn't worth the effort, to give up the struggle to be alive, and settle for living out our days as comfortably as possible. The temptation is to sell out, and spend our time going through the motions, hollow-eyed and empty, buying plastic. Faking it but not making it.

We need those with us who tell us we can do it, who tell us how they did it, are doing it. Laughter and playfulness, kid. Laughter and play. The problem with laughing the kind of laughter that is foundational for making it is crying. Can't laugh without crying. Sorry. Yet, it is as easy as knowing what's right for us and doing it. That leads us to doing what needs to be done no matter what. Which saves the world.

Picasso said action is the foundation of success. You can think you can attract success by thinking, but. No one succeeds without doing. We have to do what needs to be done whether we want to or not. That's the hard part. Easy to do what we want. Hard to do what we don't want. So, we just have to do what’s hard. It’s never more difficult than that!

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