Ship of Fools, The Exit Door

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“Transformation is the way of the soul. Each soul has an inborn code and an instinctive guideline that can both aim our energy and protect our lives. This inner Dharma or law of being depicts our true nature and can unfold our unique way of being and contributing to the world. What we learn from myth is how an awakening of human nature can make us each a part of healing culture while helping restore the vitality and abundance of the earth.” — Michael Meade

Love can open us to deep participation in the life of the whole; it can teach us once again how to listen to life, feel life’s heartbeat, sense its soul… the Divine is present in everything — in every breath, every stone, every animate and inanimate thing. In the oneness of love, everything is included, and everything is sacred.

When our ancestors knew that everything they could see was sacred, this was not something taught but instinctively known. It was as natural as sunlight, as necessary as breathing. We all have within us a sense of the sacred, a sense of reverence, however we may articulate it. It is a part of our human nature. — Llewellen Vaughan-Lee

Religion is not a collection of precepts and commands. It’s not based on fear of sin or judgements of right and wrong. On the contrary, it’s love, simply love and the intelligence of love that forms the basis of the religious instinct. Humans are born with this instinct, this sense of reverence for the life we are intimately connected to.

Conventional religion doesn’t always encourage a religion of the heart. It doesn’t necessarily challenge us to grow our vision, our perceptions of the roots of existence. It seems to be basically concerned with controlling our most human impulses all along the spectrum. It seems to be confounded by our animal nature. Its solution is to build a cage, but our physical impulses are unruly. They find ways to break out.

Our culture doesn’t help us develop our hearts’ need to love. If we want to do so, we have to take it upon ourselves to slow down and pay attention to our inner and outer landscapes.

The disciplines of art are close to meditation, which can be a help in the effort to connect to the beauties of our human circumstance. When we calm the mind we can start to see where and what we in fact are. But that’s impossible to do when we’re caught up in the busyness of the world. Life as humans choose to live it is superficial usually, at least in the world as we’ve known it for the last few thousand years.

As our culture speeds up to inhuman levels, requiring us to do our best imitations of robots, we start to feel sick. Young people start flirting with suicide, to the consternation of their elders. You read that there are people who hold down three jobs while living on the street. How is this possible?

Our cruel system doesn’t exactly support a life of the soul.

We hardly have time to be humans. We are practically forced into a superficial life by “the system.”

Growing up on this runaway train, I began early to wonder how to get off so I could slow down enough to think clearly. But it has only gotten worse. There is a lot on offer, but you have to find something that fits your nature. I didn’t have a good handle on what my nature was. I just knew everything felt like a straight jacket.

Most of the systems people are selling involve some kind of slavery. You keep saying “not this, not that.” Being a creative person whose sensitivity is essential is a pretty fraught situation, especially in America where everything is monetized and beauty is considered a frill. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this.

Not being a convert to the American religion of business and money puts you in the role of weirdo, outcast. That’s why I travelled. I kept thinking there must be some place I could fit. I evolved into an expat who became a cultural hybrid just because I fit so badly in the American paradigm. I became accustomed to an outsider status, but aware of the different levels and gradations involved.

America is in the avant garde of the inhuman societies of the future. I don’t expect it to become much kinder in my lifetime. I worry about our children and grandchildren. I weep at the injustices that are rampant right now, but there’s a long history of that in the land of the free.

Artists of all kinds are needed now. The mechanics of governance, the poobahs of finance, the oracles of the American way will not save us. I look to the artists, the indigenous peoples, the kind, soulful and simple folks to steer the boat in this storm.

They alone have a compass. That’s the tribe I aspire to.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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