Martha Graham premiered Lamentation on January 8, 1930. You can participate in her dance here: Hers was/is the only appropriate response to her times and ours. Metaphors express what words cannot say. The most important things cannot be said. The deepest things cannot be said. The truest things cannot be said. Yet we have lost the medium of metaphor. We don't know symbols. If it isn't a fact, it isn't real. What are the meaningful symbols in your life? In the life of the nation? We live in the absence of symbols like a fish lives out of water. Without metaphors to speak to us, and for us, we are dead people walking, not seeing, not hearing, not feeling, not knowing... Plodding through our life going nowhere. Oceans of tears exist just on the other side of silence, but we will not be that quiet. Noise is our salvation. Noise and addiction du jour. We have to talk, talk, talk, defend, explain, justify, excuse... Anything but be still and quiet, listening, looking, because we might see and hear, and never stop crying. Let Martha Graham say what we are experiencing, without saying a thing.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the Father of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. His YouTube videos are not to be missed (The shortest ones first) in the work of establishing ourselves in the practice of mindfulness. But. There is one thing he fails to stress to my satisfaction: Silence is the source of Good and Noise is the source of Evil. Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity's problems stem from (our) inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Being quiet and paying attention to the silence, noticing what arises-- without engaging any of it, but simply being aware of it, and watching as one thing is replaced by another, with no apparent connection and no inherent meaning, and how your emotions are aroused, and how your body reacts physically, to the thoughts that fly about erratically, haphazardly, inexplicably... And yet, the one thing they have in common is you. Watch for patterns to develop. For themes to emerge. For a story to take shape. We do not think "just anything." Our "monkey mind" is not swinging wildly from tree to tree. The chaos is ordered precisely, and presents a clear picture of how things stand with us at this particular moment in our life. Our mind is shouting, "Listen! Look! This is how it is with you! Pay attention to the apparent madness! This is the mud you must allow to settle, so that the water can clear and you can see what is interfering with your ability to live your life as it needs to be lived, moment-to-moment, day-to-day!" Being aware of the noise in the silence allows us to distance ourselves from the turmoil and just see, just know, just be in the moment with it all in our awareness. Returning our attention to our breathing, allows us to hold it all in awareness, just watching, just seeing, just knowing, just breathing... And things shift. Without our doing anything beyond watching, seeing, knowing, breathing... Wu-wei, as the Zen Taoists might say. Make a regular routine of sitting with the Silence, and be amazed at how that simple act transforms the way you live your life over time.
We are the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. We are the one who says so. We are responsible for all of our decisions and choices, and the burden of our outcomes remains ours alone to bear throughout all eternity. Our life is our responsibility. Life is constantly throwing things at us-- and that is where we come in. We respond to each thing as it comes, and the way we do that is the teller that tells the tale. No matter what happens to us, we say what it means, and we say what we do about it. If we yield our position and allow someone else to tell us what to do, we choose to yield and to submit to the other. Our choices and our actions are inescapable. We carry the weight of having lived up to this point, and will carry it forward from this point on. We are the authority by which our life is lived. That being the case, you might think we would be more diligent about our approach to the moment at hand-- more aware, more intentional, more alert, more awake, completely present and accounted for-- and ready to deal with what is ours to manage as only we can. Instead, we allow ourselves to be swept along by our circumstances, with no idea of what is guiding our boat on its path through the sea. It is time we take up the work of getting to the bottom of it-- and assert our authority over what we do about what is happening in each situation as it arises all our life long. Our life is what we do in response to our circumstances. What we do is our call to make. Moment-by-moment-by-moment. If we aren't making the call, we are making it by default in a "Not to decide is to decide" kind of way. We are Luke Skywalker with the training helmet on, having to learn what it means to trust the Force, which is also the Source, which is also the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being. Moment-by-moment-by-moment. How well we do it is dependent on how intentional and aware we are about what we are doing. It is all up to us. For better, for worse. All our life long.
The Christ I am wishes a Merry Christmas to the Christ you are. If the Christ is anything, the Christ is iconoclastic to the core. No theology! No doctrine! No ideology! No creeds! Just being right about what is important, and seeing what needs to be done in each situation as it arises-- doing it without considering our advantage, or what we stand to gain or lose, with no interest in the outcome, just giving the best we have to offer to the true good of the moment, moment-by-moment-by-moment. Of course, the outcome of this moment, will set up the next moment, where we will again offer what is needed, so that our work is never done, which always gives us something to do, so what's the problem? Well, one problem is being right about what is important. We get better at that over time, bringing our experience into play with our imagination, and our intuition, and our instincts, and our sense of what's what, but throughout time, consequences remain our only teacher, and we are always learning what is important, and getting better at reading situations, and having less at stake in what is happening, and becoming more aware of ourselves responding to what is going on, and what's pushing our buttons, and yanking our chains, and engaging our complexes, as we work things out slowly over time, reflecting continually in the service of new realizations and an increasingly better alignment with the Tao, and a deepening accordance/resonance with the Mystery at the heart of Life and Being throughout our life. The Christ is always becoming The Christ-- and we are always incarnating/embodying/expressing/exhibiting the Christ in all that we do. And my Christ wishes your Christ the merriest of Christmases with good faith and courage for the journey through all that is before us all along the Way!