You can not discover new continents without losing sight of the old.
I know why people hate me.
It’s my approach to loss.
It’s my approach to death.
I want to kill the Buddha one meets on the road.
I want to shatter the assumptions that are unfounded.
I want to demolish the dreams we hold of being who we are not.
God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the strength to change what I can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Wisdom, I guess requires both serenity and strength, serenity to accept the death of illusions, strength to engage being reborn in possibility.
It’s the deal.
It has always been the deal, at least according to all the worldwide myths that Joseph Campbell collected.
But that doesn’t mean humans like it.
They grab at anything that might let them hold onto their illusory dreams.
Today that’s the theology of sound bytes, where we want to believe we can take only the pretty stuff from any belief system we encounter, take only the ideas that are palatable, comfortable and non-threatening, and leave the rest.
Not me. I like the intense bits. The bits that clear away the debris and the illusions to get closer. I believe that a commitment to life is a commitment to move beyond illusions and expectations, a commitment to pure transformation. I find joy in smashing the false and finding truth, truth that enervates and empowers.
That’s why TBB likes me. She laughs when her illusions are sliced away, chuckles when new healthy growth is revealed and revered. She loves revelation.
But TBB knows that most people aren’t like her; they cling to their illusions like they cling to that last towel at the spa. Getting naked is just, well, too naked.
This isn’t new, of course. The homepage of my 1997 site included:
Guarantee: If you don’t find something on this site
that challenges your thinking or your identity within 20 minutes,
we’ll give you double your money back!
I always had the vision, even as a little kid.
Just like anyone else, I have had to accept myself not as I wish to be, but as I am.
And I am bound to revelation.
Which means, I guess, that I am bound to loss.
That’s something that makes most humans a bit queasy, since they are bound to attachment.
That’s why when that crazy woman in Asheville said I need to detach more, I know she can’t possibly know how much I am already detached and why I feel some need to attach.
And that’s why when my sister wants to hurt me, she decided to detach me from the car and the bed I was using, and was stunned that I just let go. If I had it to do over again, I think I would just strip naked and walk away; let them take the clothes, too.
Attachment is what we use to motivate people in this country, because only when people are attached can the fear of detachment be used as a threat.
The people in aesthetic denial have always understood this. A vow of poverty is a vow of engaging loss, based in the knowledge that only letting go can open the possibility of finding new. But loss is wearing, very wearing. The believer is happy, the doubter is wise, as the Hungarians said.
TBB watches her friends lose what they valued, and is touched by their sadness and grief. But she also knows that the gracious engagement of loss is vital for the gracious engagement of the new. It has always been thus.
I make people crazy because they want soundbytes about possibility that aren’t bound up in tales of loss, want snippets about rebirth that are not bound up in the experience of death.
That ambiguity makes them feel crazy, because they love what they are holding onto, or at least they are habituated to it.
And often that craziness makes them lash out at the messenger. If people would just be silent, they could have their dreams and deny them too.
I know why people hate me.
But, for me, experiencing that hate is just another form of loss.