It takes active participation with-- intentional identification with-- the center and ground of our original nature, our life and being, to live in accord with the Tao-- doing things in the right way, at the right time, in aligning ourselves with rhythms and movement of nature's energy moving through and directing our lives. Our bodies are natural extensions of the earth, as much as trees and streams, oceans and whales. We are one with the forces of nature, and live best when we nourish and nurture a faithful presence in the world of nature, being with nature in a regular and recurring way. And when there, we are to listen, feel, attend, be aware of how our bodies react to the allness of our experience. We have to consciously "be here now," seeing what we look at, hearing what is being "said" around us, within us, noticing what is happening, and what we are "picking up on" beyond the range of sight and sound. Nature is pure intention toward life and being-- toward realization, incarnation and expression. Nature's sense of what is and what needs to be is as true as the turn of the tides and the orbits of the stars and planets. Our lives are a part of that choreography, of that orchestration, and go so much better when we consciously cooperate with that which calls our name and knows the time and place of our presenting the gifts we carry to the need that even now is in the making. It only takes listening to our intuition and paying attention to our instincts to know that it is so.
We've been on the wrong track for so long we will never get the light turned around as a culture. Only as individuals do we have a chance of making the switch. The switch I'm talking about is the one Joseph Campbell preached his entire life: Symbols and metaphors are not facts. Symbols and metaphors do not refer to things Out There, but to things In Here. The betrayal, death and resurrection of Jesus is symbolic/metaphorical of our own personal experiences with betrayal, death and resurrection. To say, "The cup of suffering is the cup of salvation. The bread of affliction is the bread of life," is to invite us to explore in our own life places where suffering was the door to salvation, where affliction was the threshold to life. The question is always and forever, "Where have you experienced the truth of this symbol/metaphor in your own life?" That is the ground of true religion-- religion without theology/dogma/doctrine/creeds/catechisms but with the ever-present experience of life's impact on us and our path for dealing with it. The place of true religion is providing us with a perspective for finding our way to the life that is ours to live and living it with joy as full participants in "the sorrows of the world." Symbols and metaphors point us to ourselves! We use symbols and metaphors as guides us, as Campbell might say, "To what electrifies and enlightens your own hearts, and wakes you up to the work that is yours to do, and the life that is yours to live!" Symbols and metaphors do this for us when we approach them as portkeys into the Mystery from which we come and into which we return, ask of them, "What can you show me about life and how to live it?" "Ah," say the symbols and metaphors, "I'm so glad you asked!" And the light comes on. And lights our way through the darkness of "working on mysteries without any clues." (Bob Seger). The symbols and metaphors are the clues!
What does it for me are reading/writing seeing/hearing looking/listening seeking/finding asking/searching exploring/imagining feeling/thinking knowing/doing... I just want to know what's what and what needs to be done about it and what makes me think so and who says so and what makes them think so and what does being right about something mean and how long does it take before being right becomes wrong and how knowing leads to doing and how doing leads to knowing more and knowing more leads to doing differently, and how far have we come actually from living in the caves and in the jungles thinking fire was the coolest thing? We're playing the game as though it matters, and what matters is playing the game as if it matters, because that keeps the game going, and that's better than not playing the game, because that just leads to a quick death, or to being dead a long time before we die, and the game is fun when played knowing we are playing the game of playing the game as though it matters because it matters that we don't die before our time because it is a game we play through time, and everybody who has ever lived, or ever will lived, has played/will play the game, because the game is all there is. Here we are. What are we doing here? Now what? We all ask the same questions. We all come up with the same answers. Joseph Campbell said, "It's all the same mythology!" It's all the same game! "Working on mysteries without any clues" (Bob Seger). Everybody thinks they have the formula, the angle, the recipe, the plan. They are all playing the game, being played by the game. Gaming the game is being gamed by the game. It's a game. How can we play it, knowing we are playing it, and play it really well? "It's not whether we win or lose, but how we play the game" (Grantland Rice). We are not going anywhere, we are not getting anything, we are playing at playing the game of seeing/hearing, knowing/doing, feeling/thinking looking/listening... Waking up and being here, now. Doing what needs to be done here, now. The way it needs to be done. In each situation as it arises. All our life long. That's all there is to it. "Get in there and do your thing! and don't worry about the outcome!" (Joseph Campbell's summation of the Bhagavad Gita). Don't even keep score. Just play your heart out. And when it's done, let it go.
One of the primary, recurring, experiences of humanity is that of Betrayal - Death - Resurrection. We are born to be betrayed, to die, and to be born again. We are all one with Jesus, and repeat his experience throughout our life, learning, one would hope, as we go, so that Resurrection increasingly means New Life that takes the Old Life into account, knows what is coming, and is ready for it in the way of not taking it seriously, and building a life around it that is replete with good humor, wisdom, kindness, compassion, and all of the values that are called forth to meet the reality of the human experience. Meeting the reality of the human experience in ways that deepen, broaden, lengthen, heighten, enhance that experience, and make it truly, unbelievably wonderful-- wonder-filled, marvelous, awesome, fascinating, sublime, radiant, resplendent, transcendent, "an awe inspiring mystery," worthy of our fullest possible participation "in the sorrows of the world," is the story of religion in the best and truest sense of the word. Religion (and it's precursor, mythology) help--enable us--to meet the world on the world's terms, providing us with the metaphors ("Betrayal, Death and Resurrection") to make sense of it and initiate us into it, telling us, in the words of the Native Americans, sending their children off to seek their fortune, "When you live in the service of your vision, the birds of the air will shit on you-- do not stop even to wipe it off!" And,"When you leave in the service of your vision, you will come to what appears to be a great chasm. Jump! It is not as great as it seems." (Both stories related by Joseph Campbell) We all need help squaring ourselves up with the realities of our life. Good religion is metaphor/mythology that has not been concrete-ized, made literal/historical as Christianity has done with the Christ myth. We are all, each one of us is, the Christ finding our way to the self-realization of our calling. We are all The Anointed One come to wake each other up to the truth of our destiny: Being awake to the wonder of meeting life head-on! To the wonder of being alive! Being awake to the joy of perceiving the world as a portkey to wonder, awe, fascination and mystery beyond words! Dying figuratively in the process of realization and of life, so that by the time our dying becomes literal, we are ready to Jump the Chasm, knowing it is not as great as it seems.