It maybe that recently age is creeping up on my life like at no other point that I can recall… or it may be that the time that I spend looking at vast sets of data and information as well as paradigms of structured information is coming to a close…. But I am finding that there are really simpler and simpler things that I truly care about as I age. This has led to deep levels of detachment and grace. I recall standing with my medicine man at age 79 on a bridge overlooking his sacred mountain. He breathed a big sigh… “make all places sacred,” he said, and he never stopped saying this for as long as I was privileged to be with him. Through sacredness the earth, his first love, and all human life, his second love, would heal. He was a great healer after all. And the repetition with which he said this was constant. He said it all becomes simple when we make all places sacred and become sacredness ourselves.
This simplification of energy has been creeping up on me. After years of studying all sorts of systems of thought, religions, and knowledge, we eventually do come down to the simplest things of which to be mindful. Like the show and book, This I Believe, we eventually crystallize what is essential about our lives down to simple propositions. Everyone must, everyone does. As a young scholar, I was fascinated by all religions and cultures. Spending years immersed in single paradigms and culture at a time, has brought out a sense that they are all really a reflection of the same thing. All the religions are attempting as best they can to answer certain existential questions with varying narratives to follow. Some are incredibly complex. Others have rules and regulations, protocols and processes to follow. Some have goals which I have found to be destructive in the end to the very purpose of life itself. But they all are founded on a similar golden nugget of questing to find the best answer to this mystery we call life. If I could synthesize the best of all of them, it would be to honor and respect life in all forms and to maintain a sense of awe with life itself. They may call it by thousands of names.. but it is really all the same. That we are all trying to do our best with the random stuff that comes our way is obvious within all pathways. And that none of the faiths are inherently evil, certainly not in their original form. They may corrupt the original message over time, but isn’t that like playing telephone as a child? First principles need to be discovered by each person themselves, not believed in because someone told you it was the right answer… that is the journey of life.
But all of the religions are stuck within the paradigms and perceptions which are limited to the experiences of the past. We are now on the verge of a global awakening or destruction… seems humans need this kind of teeter totter to get through the hard times. Many people are shining a light on the dark corners of our being and behavior… many are passionate about a coming revolution or change. Many are lost in the details of saving or creating, sustaining or surviving. I find that when I listen to these passionate voices, my head starts to hurt…. I have to attempt to translate their context and syntax from which the individual is grounded. I have to honor, in freedom, their passion about whatever they think is the most important thing… and then I have to speak the language that they need to communicate with them… But I am reminded over and over by a needling question, isn’t it really simpler than that? Why all the words and structure, definitions and complexities?
What baseline simple thing about life can we all agree on without going to war over the definitions, rules and regulations, past wounds and potential harms we have trumped up to make diversity of experience so complex? Is there such a thing? Can we leap above the memes we are caught in and the paradigms and wounds that are out dated to truly have a clear and new vision?
My other half reminded me of a pledge she did with a beautiful drum keeper… I paraphrase, but it goes like this, my commitment is to life, life is my religion…. Above all the differences, life is my religion. I am not a citizen of the US or of a state or a tribe, I am first and foremost a citizen of mother earth… I am not white, red, yellow, black, or brown; I am red-blooded like everyone on the planet. I live within her. I am of her… just like everyone else. Give or take whatever story we invent, we all will return to her, that is not in doubt at all. Everything else is a projection of a story of a narrative of a mystery that is not, to my current satisfaction, proven nor fully validated.
Life is sacred by it just being. Life is a mystery to be experienced and not a problem to be solved should be a constant reminder with every breath. When it comes down to it, we can create a thousand words and a thousand systems and myths, but we have not changed one single thing about life, living and being alive in wonder and mystery. Most of human history, written and recorded, is about what we think and wonder and create as a narrative of distraction from this fundamental point. We are really good at telling stories aren’t we? And isn’t it all just that, a story?
It is no wonder that the great minds remind us all the time that the simple is not only beautiful it also is more true. The simplest explanations are in essence the most profound and easy to forget. Make all places sacred, said my teacher, he did not say make them sacred as he does… He did not say make them sacred so you have THE truth, nor to wait for something to happen… he said make all places sacred. Simple! We separate the sacred from ourselves all the time. We even have a word for it – profane… like a label will justify it as being. What if the profane were sacred? We separate the awe and wonder of the mystery of life from our being and think we know the right answer all the time. Everything, as the teacher said, about this is vanity. Make all places sacred is to push away the profane and the temporary, the trite and the vane glorious. It is to dance for no other reason than we are meant to dance. It is to cry until we are dry and used up because we feel and the very fact that we feel is amazing. It is to sit with another person in wrapped attentive silence and know that you are sharing more than words could comprehend is the greatest gift of all.
The simplest things about life are pretty profound. It takes no degree in anything to experience it. It just takes being human, and human being acting with each other as they are already hard wired to do. John of Patamos was asked what the essence of the teachings were as he was growing very old… and he said over and over, just love… if nothing else just love. The sacred is like being passionately in love all the time. Life lived is like falling in love… we are constantly falling with that awesome feeling of vertigo all the time, with that de javu which knows this moment over and over right now is the most profound moment we can live… right now, this very second.
I grow older every day and find that it becomes simpler and simpler every moment. The uselessness of complex descriptions and paradigms get in the way all the time. We are beings of great mystery and awe… and that is why we will leap to the next moment… free… come create with me.