Friday, June 23, 2006

Design (critique)

Hey--so don't you have this "angel"?

And isn't she supposed to give you wisdom and stuff?

So--when you're all worried about life sucking, doesn't she, like...tell you it's all alright and shit?

Ah, yes, Dear Reader--She does, my Angel, explain it All...tho not always in comforting terms...but Laura quoted today from
Expecting Adam [buy this book NOW. if you already own it, buy another copy!] ...

the episode where Martha Beck's then-husband John has a nightmare that encapsulates all the suffering of everyone everywhere, "fire, avalanches, and earthquakes, of horrible accidents he could see coming but had no power to prevent." At a certain point in the dream, he feels an angelic Presence close to him, and begins to talk to the angel about the horror he's witnessing.

"It isn't so horrible," the being says to him, "It depends on what you want to see."

What John sees at that moment is a terrible collision between two passenger planes, "raining twisted metal and fire and broken bodies on the ground...But when John looked more closely, he could see that every piece of wreckage was being transformed as it hit the ground. All the debris was recombining, slowly growing into an airport. The people who had been killed in the collision were walking through the new buildings, boarding the new planes."

The angel continues, "You see, they are going places they never could have reached before. It's not so bad, really. It's just that you don't understand how it works."

I take the "it" here to refer to the infinite chaotic interplay of matter and consciousness--too big for any mind to map and too likely, in the eyes of the ego, to appear as tragedy. But the giant fractal of life and death and rebirth could just as likely be neutral, or comic, or Angel is as off-handed about "tragedy" as the one encountered by John, when she's not outright flippant about it. But She always guides me to some kind of wisdom (not all of it verbal/book learnin', but that's the only kind I can easily share here)...

Well, what's your angel's opinion on paying down a mortgage loan?

"It may seem the good schoolboy thing to do," she says, "but it will take nearly ten years for you to realize the difference. Those funds could be better applied to a trip to Paris."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Kitty Magick

I have clingy cats. They were separated from their mom at a very early age, as she had FIV. Because of this, my cats are very human-centered, and do unusual things like coming when they're called (or even whistled for). They don't like to be on their own, like a lot of cats; they want a person present whom they can cuddle with or boss around.

One of my cats (the black one, of course) does a magickal ritual to bring me home when I've left, and she even performs this ritual sometimes when I'm in my home office (into which no cats may enter--too much breakable stuff). The ritual consists of the kitty raiding a rather too-easily accessible sock drawer, obtaining a sock, and dragging it to the middle of my bedroom floor.

My kitty's ritual combines a couple of the most basic magical laws: the law of contagion (the sock is mine and thus psychically linked to me), and the law of evocation (using the right formula, the desired entity can be made to appear).

And ya know--from the cat's perspective, this ritual has worked every single time.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Design (intermission)

[Apologies to humble worm, who thought I was going to tell a story :)

I'm not good at telling stories...]

"I have seen this world as a great howl of pain, I have seen this world as a great ocean of blood..."

Lately I've been thinking a lot about suffering--more than just dead birds and bugs. I should be feeling good--several weeks ago, Teresa and I had the dreaded Conversation about me moving out, and strangely she took it very well. Still, her disease progresses and is scary to watch, and she is diagnosed with other, scarier diseases--yet, childishly, I don't know if it is for her or for me that I mourn when I see an emerald-green dead bird and scoop it off the sidewalk into my coffee cup, put it gently into a planter, on moist soil in the shade...

There's a line of "reasoning" that goes: A decent God would not allow innocent people to suffer. Innocent people suffer. Therefore, there is no God. This syllogism makes so many faulty assumptions, it's hard to know where to begin--so I won't, because it isn't my job here to teach logic to the logically challenged. There's another line of "reasoning" that goes: There is a God. People suffer. Therefore, God wants people to suffer because (it's all part of His plan; they deserve to suffer; they're destined to suffer; suffering is good for you; all of the above). This one makes even less sense than the first one, and both depend for their persuasive force (if any) upon the assumption that matter and spirit are starkly separate, even opposite, categories.

I remember how shocked I was to discover that mind and body, spirit and matter
might not be "opposites." This singular cognition occurred 22 years ago due to two college classes, one concerning quantum mechanics and modern philosophy (yes, taught by a real, live physicist, in case members of the Truth Society are reading), and the other in anthropology of religion--we were studying the aboriginal Dream Time. It has taken me ever since to process the mere possibility that I might be a spiritual being having a human experience, that seemingly inert matter might have a conscious substrate, that the abstract truth might, after all, have something to do with what someone had or did not have for dinner.

What has been hardest for me to abandon from that patriarchal,
either/or, flesh-damning charnel house of Truth (whether masquerading as Theology, Scientism, or New-ageyness)? Probably the reassurance it whispers: follow the rules, sacrifice your desires, and it will all be all right. The pain you feel is God's intention--you're being purified. Or--it's only neurons firing, grief, love, loss, suffering--merely mental, nothing more. Or--it's all an illusion, brought on by negative vibes.

Reunite spirit and matter and you come face to face with: shit happens.

You might deserve it (or you might not). It might make sense (but it probably won't). You might have been able to avoid it through proper planning and foresight (but don't bet on it). I guess the Grail knight answer lies somewhere between the triad of reductive follies mentioned above, and can be summed up in the (welcome) cliché Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. For me this saying has been a koan--the harder I've tried to wrap my mind around it, the more my mind has warped to fit. Sometimes... I almost believe.