Robert Ruark, writing in The Old Man and The Boy had the Old Man say, about fishing, "A fish is only a fish. If you make too much of it, you lose the whole point of it." Robert Ruark missed the essence of his grandfather's sutra, and failed, throughout his life, to apply the fish as an analogy to everything in his life. His grandfather was saying, "Listen to me, dammit, Robert-- if you make too much of anything, you lose the whole point of it!" Success, for example. Or happiness. Or meaning and purpose. Alcoholics Anonymous preaches the same sermon with different words: "Acceptance is the solution to all of my problems today." Acceptance is the refusal to make too much of any of it, even acceptance. Robert Ruark became an alcoholic because he made too much of the wrong things, and not enough of the right things, which is one thing all alcoholics have in common, along with all the people who take their disappointment with themselves and their life to some different manifestation of The Bottle, and "get by with a little help from their friend." Everything is analogous to us and our life. What does "fish" equate to in your life? What does "the bottle" equate to? What are you taking too seriously? What are you failing to take seriously at all? What are the right things? What are the wrong things? Where are you in the flow of your life? Where are you out of sync with your life? Where are your expectations in line with your possibilities? Where are your desires at odds with your chances? Where are you willing what cannot be willed? Where are you forcing what cannot be forced? Where are you consoling yourself in ways that are contributing to your disenchantment and dissatisfaction-- making things worse and not better? Where is your pain so great that you will escape it at all costs? We are all we have to work with in the time left for living. We have from now to then to right our boat on its path through the sea, get on track with our life put ourselves in accord with our nature and our heart, trust ourselves to the unfolding of the life we are capable of living-- even now, even yet-- and see where it goes (With no destination in mind, and no opinion about how things are to obscure what is being called for here and now, moment to moment, day to day).
Here come some disparate statements that I am going to pull together like a wild rabbit from a hat in a completely non sequitur kind of way: 1) Jesus was homeless and he died on a cross. When we hear him say, "If you throw in with me, you have to pick up your cross daily, and follow me," somehow, we never connect following Jesus with being homeless and dying on a cross. 2) The Dalai Lama's bodyguards carry automatic weapons. When he preaches compassion and peace, he is also saying, "If you cross me, I will kill you." Which is not at all different from anything a Mob Boss ever says. 3) If Elizabeth Warren only had more cooperation, it would be a better world overnight. We want a better world with Big Banks and Wall Street and all of the distractions and delights wealth and privilege can produce. 4) A high percentage of the world's population-- and your county's population-- is not going to make enough money to pay their bills. And that leaves them doing exactly what with their life? We have to be able to pay the bills, but they have to be the right bills, and we have to know what we are paying the bills to do. And be right about the rightness of what we are doing. In order to do that, everything has to change. Everything has to change. It all comes down to knowing what we are doing here and having the wherewithal to do it. And "wherewithal" is about more than money. "Wherewithal" is about clarity, balance and harmony. We have to "run a tight ship." We have to exhibit, express, incarnate loyalty and devotion to the cause. The cause is our life-- the life we are living-- the life that is ours to live-- doing what we are here to do. Bringing who we are to life in our lives. Here's a hint for you: We are not here to make a lot of money and pass a good time. We are here to serve what we are here to do with our life. And, in the words of the woman who wouldn't wear a mask and stay away from the crowds at the beach, "That's asking too much." We want to live like we want to and pass a good time. Doing what we are here to do doesn't factor into that equation. The economy is based on good times, not on right living. And that is the foundational dichotomy at work in the heaving incongruities of life as we know it. And it is the nature of the cross we have to bear on the path of finding our life and living it. It would be easier to keep things as they are and not pay the price of transition and transformation. "That which you seek, lies far back in the darkest corner of the cave you most don't want to enter" (Joseph Campbell). "Pick up your cross and follow me" (Jesus of Nazareth).