I just watched a movie version of a book I read fifteen years ago that rekindled such a kinship to its message that I now realize how I must have already so completely experienced the truth of its insights when I read it that I let it pass as a “been there, done that” occurrence. The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield is a story of one man’s discovery of his connection to the life energy of the universe by opening himself to share it rather than his former life of hoarding and competing for it. A sort of Don Juan talking to Carlos Castaneda for Christians. In light of my recent difficulty in easing my daughter’s anxiety about my hell bound soul I felt this movie could explain how one can have an experience as profound as Christians thank their exclusive god for, without him. In fact it goes on to show that Christianity has been responsible for making man a supplicant to the church for what lies within him all along, needing only his freely opening his gates of isolation to see and share the evolutionary energy of the universe. This is my recommendation to anyone who needs to lighten the load of facing the future alone.
I’d like to take a tangential glance at an experience I may have related from some other angle in a different metaphor. The experience itself was my first vision of the tao. While wandering in and wondering at the environment of the Big Bend desert, while stooping to more closely examine a particularly brilliant rock, my eye was diverted by a flower whose radiant purple was second only to its minute size poking on a threadlike stem a half inch above the level of the parched rocks from which it had emerged. As I bent closer I looked around for another. When I reached the point that my ear brushed against the wee wand to turn my head to look parallel to the desert floor, I watched the aura of the desert appear along the silhouette of a nearby hill like peach fuzz backlit by the sun. As my focus returned to my more immediate surroundings the desert returned to the much less purple hue than the brow of the rise. As far apart as these lilliputian lilies were they were virtually invisible from an erect stance except when…the aura was still on the curves of the land. I’d been out there for several days and never noticed. And now I couldn’t not see them, or at least sense the shade their particular pixel added to the overall color of the desert in the more vertical view.
No matter how many times I’d heard it I would never have caught on to the wisdom in the “grass is greener in the other guy’s yard” until that experience in the desert. We have perfect, firsthand experience of the ups and downs in our sense of well being and responsible social interaction throughout our lives whether we choose to acknowledge all of it or not. The surest motivation behind our frantic consumerism in our compulsion to keep up with the Jonses is generated by the illusion that his lawn must be more plush because standing in our own we look down at our own yard and see much more dirt, he must be more prosperous with that new car and we look at our own wallet and see more debt. The competitive approach to human relations ingrained in the morality of the publicly educated feeds a never-ending pursuit of the status of the very ones who prosper by selling knockoff status symbols to their pursuers. What a treadmill.
In a previous post I spoke of the corporate side of the high cost of working. Just think of the savings the individual employee might enjoy if one could work at home rather than gather daily at a company location. If one didn’t get rid of their car all together, the savings over daily commuting must do more for ones well being than merely financially. Office attire has got to be the most lucrative of the status based scams going. Interpersonal relationships would all be of ones own choice rather than tolerating the intolerable just to keep a job. Granted, after the driving and the clothing are considered, most of the savings are peace of mind and freedom to reflect on ones role in the larger machine from which one gets fed and what it must be like to feed oneself.
•A confusion about selfishness makes life a constant, debilitating judgment call it need never be. For something as physically locatable as the individual corporeal being is, the self it represents can be as remote as governments are from the people they claim to represent. The confusion finds its source in the alignment of attitude one has towards who they think they are and, like governments, too many have little respect for, much less knowledge of, who they actually are, what with the priority expedience of representing ones public image, that needy, greedy ego scanning and scamming for wealth and fame at the expense of love and happiness, that gives the self such a bad reputation.
A handy dictionary defines self as “a person’s essential being distinguished from others considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.” There is a word in there that may be the key to the confusion: reflexive. It’s primary use is to define thoughtless, knee jerk, habitual, prejudicial reactions while another definition turns it around on itself, “(of a method or theory in the social sciences) taking account of itself or the effect of the personality or presence of the researcher on what is being investigated.” I would like to coin a word, preflexive, to adopt and separate it from its boorish cousin. Preflection is the introspective consideration with which one applies the golden rule in crossing the threshold from thought to action. The most important part of the process is having sufficient knowledge of and respect for our own essential, unique selves to apply the same to others in considering the results of our actions.
The “essential being distinguished from others” part of self would seem to indicate that the self exists as a unique individual by the very act of being born of unique ancestry, prior to any experience with the external other in nature or civilization. The value of individual members’ unique contributions to the culture into which one is born compared to the conformity required for acceptance by and welfare of the group seems to determine the value the individual has for this natural self culture wants to tame.
The self I speak of is the essential connection each unique being has to the wisdom of a common genetic memory of evolution in symbiosis with nature of our environment. Realization of and respect for this wisdom is the essential source of ones happiness and love, without which the world seems sad and repulsive. Happiness is realized when the curiosity of the life spark is unafraid. Love is realized when we acknowledge our unique journey trods the tao no matter where we go and visualize the theme to our myriad variations. As I have expressed to my daughter many times in other ways, this is as close to a belief system as I admit to and I feel basically happy and in love all the time, some times it’s with someone or two or …
Okay, for the sake of my point I will assume that such a self may be and has been realized in other sentient beings. Obviously such a self exists from the first independent breath and motivates nursing and other infant life sustaining instincts. The more civilized ones culture, the sooner the demands for behavior for which the natural self has only the empty library of the modern brain to begin naming, storing and resorting the ever changing artificial rules of society which can never evolve as instincts for their sheerly arbitrary enactment and enforcement through history. With the demands of culture keeping us occupied, the quiet voice of instinctual wisdom finds little ear or relevance until sufficient experience begins to resonate a pattern in civilized behavior that shows through the manufactured, public self of style, status and stereotypes and reveals the natural instincts of man being turned against himself such that the drive to improve oneself is channeled into settling for status in society, the fountain of love for the entire universe is channeled into a wedded life mate and the happiness humming at our center must await our realization of the futility in searching for it everywhere else.
The opening spoken of in the Celestine Prophecy I see as the breakthrough of understanding the wisdom of our genetic memory as a way to understand the nature of the power of the myth of western civilization to misguide us and, thereby free ourselves from the authority of all but nature.