‘Thy Will Be Done’
‘Why do you need to know what’s inside something before using it?’ a friend asked. “It’s only natural to figure something out before using it. Isn’t that the foundation of scientific discovery?” I quipped. ‘Yes, but you can also use things too.’ “What do you mean exactly?” ‘Knowing how something works is only one thing. Using it is another.’ “You mean, they’re separate?” ‘Sometimes.’ “I never thought of it like that. So we can know what’s inside something by using it too?” ‘Exactly.’ “Wow.” I felt stupid, but in a wiser kind of way! Still underneath it all laid a more insidious truth: ultimate competitiveness. Not only did I feel in competition with others, but with things too. No surprise considering how people – myself included, attached so much identity and value to material possessions. No wonder prideful envy was just as important as oil and gas in driving the supply and demand of market economies.
“But how do you use something without hurting someone?” ‘Do you want to hurt someone?’ “No.” ‘Well then.’ “Well, people still get hurt.” ‘Maybe.’ “What do you mean?” ‘If people get hurt is that your business?’ “What? I don’t understand.” ‘What makes you responsible for other people’s hurts?’ “Do you mean I’m only responsible if I hurt people directly?” ‘If you mean to hurt people then it’s only appropriate to take responsibility isn’t it?’ “So, I don’t need to worry about other people? They can take care of themselves or ask for help if they need it?” ‘Exactly.’ “But what about problems like climate change and global warming?” ‘Technology will get us out of them.’ “But what if they’re responsible for getting us into trouble? Technology’s created by people, so you’re saying we should rely on those that got us into trouble to get us out of it too? Who cares if they weren’t smart enough to not to do it in the first place?” ‘I guess.’ “So not only do people give their power away once, but twice. Any excuse to not take responsibility for our own power.” ‘Oh well. It’s the only system we have.’ “It’s the only system you know we have you mean. There’s been others in the past and others to come. Technology and capitalism are just two of many.” ‘Yes, but it’s all we have right now.‘
I couldn’t believe it. I felt like Moses looking upon his fellow man as he worshiped the golden calf. Yes he was smart and technology could make us smarter, but if and only if we learned not to become overly-dependent on it. Then it could actually stifle us and make us blind to it at the same time. Another double whammy! While he seemingly had more of everything than me: money, home, career and relationship, what did I have? Just like the real Moses maybe I was taking too long to come down from the proverbial mountain? And who knew what the science of tomorrow would bring, especially if it empowered each and every one of us to think for ourselves? But that was a big if. Hopefully science could progress beyond the need to mask prideful inadequacies through control. But everyone had to learn how to not put all their eggs in one technological basket or risk becoming enslaved by the very tools created for freedom. Learning what to do and not do was the nature of free will.
A weight lifted from my shoulders. No wonder I felt so damned depressed all the time – I thought I was responsible for other people’s problems. Even worse, I made them my own. It was all part of my dramatic role of self-importance. It only had one flaw though. It always depended on others. Without anyone else I was nothing, a nobody. And without others I’d have to look at myself and my own shit. But where was this real me?
A memory dislodged and fell banging to the present. I was five years old. I was hiding inside a closet because telling the truth hadn’t gone as planned. I’d been so proud of myself, but that time the truth only got me in trouble. So I just ran and hid. I’d show them. I’d hide away forever. Then they’d be sorry. Within minutes my mom found me. She always knew what to do.
Now I was still locked away, but in a cupboard called my mind. The real me was no better off than Schrodinger’s Cat whose fate seemed to be in the hands of others. Funny how no one ever wondered what the cat thought! But how could they. It’d only been a few hundred years since Galileo showed the Earth wasn’t the center of the solar system. Yet we still clung to our thrones of self-importance. Most cats I knew only cared inasmuch as they were fed, stroked and loved. Uninterested in the petty goings on of mere mortal, they usually slept, ate, hunted, played, stretched, yawned and then went back to sleep. The question nobody seemed to ask was what the cat thought? Maybe it didn’t give a shit what we thought? I mean why put something in a box unless i was the one playing around? And humans thought they were so smart!
I thought the madness was fun, but that wasn’t the whole truth. I secretly longed for peace of mind. Yet that was like trying to catch a chicken. I wanted order, but no matter how I tried more rules and regulations resulted in more disorder. Besides, science showed that kind of order mirrored epileptic states in the brain. While Jesus said ‘he that is without sin among you, let him cast a first stone.‘ All I could contribute was the potential for a seizure. Years later St. Augustine wrote: ‘To err is human.’ Maybe all I was guilty of was being human? How could I be guilty of being something I didn’t know how to be?
A gentle voice spoke. ‘Let go Mike and see both order and disorder in the universe. Let go and let be. Above all else, let go.’
Angry at a world for not being what I wanted it to be, I contemplated pressing the button. Destroy those that had done unto me. Yet when the chance seemingly presented itself, I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it! Not because of me, but because of others. Sure I still hurt, but that wasn’t the whole truth. Amid the tears were brief spells of laughter. No, the only thing I really wanted was to end the pain and suffering I was doing to myself.
When did hurt cease? I didn’t know, but maybe I wasn’t meant to know. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be known? Maybe that was my lot in life? All I knew was the closer I got to the source, the more it hurt. The more it hurt, the more I cried. The more I cried the more I knew I was on the right path. No wonder so many chose every other path available when the prerequisite for self-discovery was sado-masochism.
‘There is nothing to fear but fear itself’ went the old saying. But to me being afraid of fear was a distraction from the real thing. Fear was like an indicator, a set of traffic lights. Red: ‘Danger, Will Robinson!’ Amber: slow down, stay alert and proceed with caution. Green: the path was clear – for now! Yet each light also came loaded with lessons that had to be heeded before proceeding. If not driving was more difficult.
Objectively hurt was hurt. Fear was its container or Pandora’s Box so to speak. The problem was being more afraid of the Box than its contents. Yet, each hurt had its own complex nature just like anything else. Some were excruciating, while others called out like sirens in the night: sinister in seductive sensation. Some felt hot, cold and every temperature in between; others froze skin like ice-cold water. Others teased and tormented in lavish ways. Yet each had an undeniable existence.
Along with unique ways of feeling and interpretation, came unique boiling points and tolerance levels. Some simmered while others wept, some ran while others stayed and fought, some laughed while others cried. Some died, some cared even less. Even more intriguing were society’s inventions of pain prevention: drugs, sex, food and every form of comfort imaginable. Yet, contained within its complex nature was information on its treatment. Actually taking the time to feel the pain could help prevent its future pain. A therapist once told me: the Universe always gave lessons in accordance with our abilities to deal with them. If they weren’t dealt with there and then they’d only reappear in a potentially more hazardous form. Better to nip it in the bud than prolong the agony. Ironically pleasure usually accompanied release.
We were all God’s children, no matter what definition or understand we had of Him/Her/It. Any, every – even no definition was of God for all was of God. In His/Her/Its Garden we all played on His/Her/Its trampoline. Everything was united by this fact. Everyone possessed their own unique speeds, trajectories, choices, reasons, weights, densities, desires, wants, needs, thoughts, feelings, expressions of fun and pain. All I had to do was learn how to play, respect and not intentionally hurt others. No easy task when I wasn’t as aware of what I was doing as I would’ve liked.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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