‘Life is just a party, and if you don’t see this then you must be blind’
The line from a yet-to-be-released song in the UK.
Well, yeah. But also… all parties are hosted.
For your life to be a party, you have to help my party along too.
The world is already perfect. Life is already perfect. All that is in the way is all the forgetting of this fact. If we all live right now without illusion, without forgetting, then the perfect world will come. It will not come overnight. It will take time for everyone to remember. Forgetting is almost as contagious as remembering. Almost. And all of nature has been held up in our forgetting too, so nature needs some time to recover.
This is a rant.
I’ve noticed several speakers – all of them seem to know of each other – Ken Wilbur, Richard Rohr, Andrew Cohen, Eckhart Tolle…. adding a ‘but’ to Buddhism. Butting it.
It does not go far enough. It does not engage with present life. It does not have a God Incarnate like Christianity does. It teaches these things, but not quite as well as modern psychology or my religion or spiral dynamics or whatever.
I sit my but.
In conventional western thinking, it’s all about me. And if it’s not all about me, then it’s all about us humans.
I am conditioned to want to impress upon, or be impressed by, other human beings. This is normal, and it’s OK.
My own journeys are also teaching me that in the middle world, the level of reality beyond the physical level that is most intertwined with the physical level – the place in shamanism where the spirits of all that is manifest reside – some of the wisest beings are beings like trees, or even the ground itself.
These are aspects of manifest reality which, because they do not have language or synapses, we regard as dumb, lame, or even lifeless. A shaman would never agree that this is how reality is; it is only one layer of present reality. It is not a complete way of seeing.
A shaman might also say that it is our incomplete understanding of reality that is odd, not that it is odd to regard all manifest things as having spirit.
My latest journey showed me a tree that stands nearby. It is very wise. It pitied me with an old expression regarding my assumption that I mean something significant; that my life must mean something important; that I can ever be anything other than a body returning to the ground, feeding the maggots, and sending nutrients into the roots of plants not yet germinated.
In this way, I am reminded of impermanence. I am reminded that my ‘salvation projects’ (Richard Rohr) are mostly futile and mostly egotic. The life that is in Tree is the life that is in me is the life that brings life to my life.
Zen and the at of green living.
In The Independent UK newspaper today.
Thich Nhat Hanh – “We all have to reconsider our values in society and live a simpler life. We have to reconsider our version of happiness.
“People are getting busier and busier. We are like fishes living in a place where water is lacking. We don’t feel comfortable, we don’t have space, we lack time. We may have more money than in the past but we have less space and less happiness and less love. So we should have a revolution which must start with a collective awakening. We have to stop and look for another direction.”
Ultimately, the impassioned humanist and wise sage believes we can still salvage our ailing planet.
“It is possible for us to be something and to do something now, don’t despair. There is something we can all do. There is still is a chance. Recognise that and do it and you will find peace. Don’t allow yourself to be carried away by despair.”
AJ Muste once said, ‘there is no way to peace. Peace is the way.’
I have been contemplating the many meanings of this for a few months.
It seems that there are many who are still looking for a route to global peace through carving a way towards it much like a snow plough fending off an avalanche of its own making.
Instead, peace is ‘the way things are’, ‘the way to be’, ‘the best way’, ‘the natural way’, ‘how things are generally ordered’.
Thich Nhat Hanh says (somewhere) that if you want to campaign for peace you need to write love letters. My own interpretation of his words is that getting angry about violence and militarism only serves to add fuel to the fire of insanity burning in the minds of military people. It props up the illusion they have made for themselves; an illusion about the wisdom of military conflict, an illusion about separateness from the ‘enemy’, an illusion of ego and vital prerogative. Instead, love letters are a bell bringing a deluded mind back into the present moment and inviting that mind to wake up.
Love letters, or any form of nonviolent action that is alive to the present and to spirit.
I guess that’s the difference between being a peacemaker living in the way of peace and using that state of being to mediate a ‘middle path’ between that state of being and the dukkha encountered, and being a peacemaker like a snow plough fending off an avalanche up a mountain.
I can see how easy it is to slip between middle path and snow plough. Both require an intention for peace for onesself and one’s world. Perhaps, sometimes, middle path is snow plough – confusing things even further. Greater mindfulness is needed in separating the two.
There is no peace ‘making’. There is not no peace ‘making’.