If we could see it
“In exile, we must do as the goddess Innana did, surrendering layer after layer of armour and adornment, until we are bare. We must then undergo a symbolic death of the old life in order to be reborn with greater resilience and a holy assignment to carry forward.
The initiated adult has learned to withstand uncertainty, has paid a debt to the gods through his loss and his grief, and has decided to make beauty with his life as the future ancestor that he is.”
Excerpt from Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner
The real aim of any pilgrimage is to arrive at the place of the deep self and soul. And all those holy places outside us are at some level symbolic of the holy place inside ourselves that we are intended to find on this strange journey of life. There may be a great crowd of seekers if we should arrive at the holy place, and yet, each seeker is alone in what they find. Each sees the Holy Temple of the great stone from their own vantage point and in their own way, and each awakens to a deep sense of self, or soul, that albeit is found in that aloneness, tells them they are never alone.” — Michael Meade
We are given an unfathomable paradise, but because we can’t see it and love it as it is, we destroy it. But suddenly the matrix we have toiled so diligently to construct collapses. We find ourselves bewildered and afraid. What will we do without money? How will we live without shopping? How will we protect our possessions? How will we pay the rent?
We Americans live in a survival-of-the-fittest system. Half the country believes that kindness is reserved for those close to us, but should naturally exclude foreigners, strangers and people of a different skin tint. They elect upstanding representatives who uphold those self same beliefs. Help for the poor? Absolutely not! That’s welfare, a sin against the natural order and God Himself.
That view of things looks to be challenged now. Unthinkable questions will be asked. How, for example, can so many other countries thrive without our brand of cruelty? How do they get away with those egregious violations of God’s laws? Why aren’t their people becoming weak and lazy, lying about eating foie gras and drinking champagne? We can be sure that Divine punishment is coming to them, but it sure is taking a long time.
In the meantime, we suffer, we worry. We accept our system. Our leaders must know how to save us.
Except they don’t. They are bought off by money and favors. They hardly see us. They don’t notice our plight, and if they do they can’t feel anything about it. They have allowed themselves to be isolated and ignorant.
We could vote them out if we had a reliable voting system, but we don’t. It has been hijacked and manipulated by shadowy forces fearful of real democracy. As someone said recently, capitalism encourages sociopaths. Lip Service to our democracy doesn’t make it true or functional. It’s a limping, wounded system, and the only thing that will possibly save it is shutting the system down — which is now happening — and rethinking it from the ground up. Right now we have an opportunity to do that, but of course authoritarian forces have the same opportunity, and they will use it.
I think we need a new kind of thinking based on kindness, creativity and historical awareness. Believe it or not, kindness is more practical and less costly than cruelty. I don’t know why that’s so hard for Americans to accept. That belief system that elevates the “tooth and claw” principle is still very much alive in our culture. To believe it, though, you have to ignore how societies actually function. Cooperation beats competition every time.
We know the soft hearted artists and writers have a different optic on things, but I hold to my belief that we need to take care of each other, and that, in spite of everything our best efforts go into creating beauty in the world, for ourselves and others.
The world is remaking itself. We, the thinkers and creators have a role to play in this drama.
- Anima Fire is my publication