If you’ve read any of my earlier blogs, you already know that I am well into geezer-hood and that I’ve lived a pretty full life—still do. When I look back on growing up and navigating the world from the 1950s to now, I have a perspective about living in a world outside of “normal.”
As an agnostic mystic, I experience life as a being of eternal consciousness walking around in a meat sack that requires constant maintenance. We navigate this meat sack through a complicated computer-organ enclosed in an endoskeletal shell. This cluster of jelly gives us parameters to tell the difference between safe and dangerous, right and wrong, or true and false—for each of us. I say “for each of us” because it seems that everyone’s jelly is unique.
The problem is that the computer running our show is both awesome in its power and frustratingly flawed in its lack of logic.
“May I say that I have not thoroughly enjoyed serving with humans? I find their illogic and foolish emotions a constant irritant.” – Spock, from Star Trek, season 3, episode 7 (“Day of the Dove,” 1968)
I find it illogical that, if we achieve any clear perspective about life and the world we live in, it usually doesn’t come until we reach old age.
“Youth is the most beautiful thing in this world—and what a pity that it has to be wasted on children!” George Bernard Shaw
If we achieve life-clarity, it usually happens within a brief few years before the meat sack gives up and releases us into…what? Not sure. Although I suspect I’ve been born into many, many, meat sacks in the past, my jelly computer doesn’t let me reliably remember what happens in between. Unfair, to say the least. Like most everyone on this planet, I have to piece together fragments of feelings, impressions of images, personal experiences, and ideas adopted from the “enlightened” elite who tell us in no-doubt terms, what’s what in the afterlife.
The flaw in that plan is that everyone’s “what’s what” is different. Most of the wizened sages paint vastly different murals of where we go and why. So, we must adopt whatever makes us feel good, even if it is so full of logic-holes it might as well be aged Swiss cheese.
Of late, as my meat sack becomes frayed around the edges from a lifetime of living to the fullest, my thoughts dwell on the question of what’s next.
I reviewed my spiritual-belief journey and realized how much it has changed over the seven decades that I have trudged around in my dense overcoat, guided only by the Jell-O salad in my head and a vague sense of there being something so awesomely better that it defies verbal explanation.
I recently learned that many people believe that the most powerful sentence is, “You are not alone.” Google it, there are hundreds of sites discussing this simple phrase. Some find it comforting, others think it disturbing. I find it comforting. Why? Again, I”m not sure. I know I’m not alone in this physical existence, and I’ve had plenty of experiences to suspect that I’m also not going to be alone in whatever comes after I leave this meat sack full of water and chemicals. When I think about my life, I realize that I’ve had an abundance of love and very few times of despair and aloneness. As Yoda, the Wise might say, “Fortunate, I am to be not alone.”
I suspect, if my Jell-O salad computer is correct, we don’t want to be alone because we are subconsciously longing for that blissful feeling of Nirvana, or Samadhi, or The peace which passeth all understanding. (Christian Bible, Philippians 4:7) I have experienced these states of being in brief moments during meditation and a couple of times on mind-altering substances. They are beyond description. Logic, doubt, loneliness, fear, sadness, anger, pain, and dread all disappear in a sense of joy and peace that is unattached to any known source. Unfortunately, these states quickly fade and I go back to looking out through the slit in my burka-body at a world filled with people riddled with contradictory emotions of love, confidence, satisfaction, and happiness, tainted with loneliness, anger, fear, frustration, and unwavering trust in their beliefs.
One of my favorite quotes is from Civil Disobedience and Other Essays by Henry David Thoreau—a man with jelly programming similar to mine:
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
Most people cling to life with such tenacity, one would think they don’t believe in the after-death paradise promised by the spiritual pundits that they put their trust in with such conviction. Even as a child, I questioned religion and it’s promise of heaven. If heaven is so great after we die, I posed, why is everyone afraid of death?
One of the biggest flaws in our programming is that belief trumps logic nearly every time. As a child of ten, I examined the illogical fear of death. One fine wintry day in Los Angeles, California, the thought struck me that if there is no afterlife, I won’t know it, so what’s the big deal. If there is an afterlife, why do I still want to stay here?
No matter what I believe about living on after I discard the meat sack, I still go to doctors and alternative health practitioners to fix my physical problems—bad hard drive sectors, illogical sub-routines, or a fragmented database. I still look both ways before crossing the street, veer out of the way of dangerous hazards in the road, and I don’t jump out of planes without a parachute. Well, I don’t jump out of planes with one either, but you get the idea. Preservation of life is an instinct. Barring the odd sub-programming we have about self-sacrifice, or the jelly-glitch that adrenaline junkies have, it’s usually “save yourself” that wins out for most of us.
We also have the stranger-than-fiction thing about denial of self-destructive behavior. What’s that all about? Science has some flibbity-jibbet answers that seem to change every few years about why we become addicted to life-endangering habits. I was taught some of those theories in college and since I am trained in psychology, neuro-linguistics, and hypnotherapy, I have some idea about how the Jell-O salad works its deviousness on our need to cling to life, but no definitive truth has answered all my questions.
Why do people smoke? It’s a proven death-device. Why do so many people not seek help to reprogram addictions? Why do some of us fill our bodies with toxic foods that only serve to enslave us to the salt-sugar-fat-eye appeal death traps? The people who run processed food companies know how addicting their formulas are and use that knowledge to enslave us. Is our meat sack so powerful that it overrides its programming to keep on living? I think, probably, maybe, possibly it does.
As my life has reached the status of the Hermit Tarot Card in one of its interpretations—Is that all there is? Where to now?—I think about the paradox of life and death. My body wants to keep going, my other consciousness thinks that letting go of the struggle to keep repairing an aging machine with worn out parts would be a good thing. So, what’s a human to do? I have long let go of believing that beliefs are true and adopted them as coping tools that can be discarded or upgraded as needed. In the early dawn hours of writing these words of dubious wisdom for my Confessions of a Confetti Head blog, I think that focusing on pleasure, comfort, love, and doing good for myself and others is the best way to spend my remaining time in the “…bag of mostly water.” (from Star Trek, The Next Generation)
As of this writing, on my 69th birthday in 2017, our planet is in another cycle of chaos similar to the Vietnam war years in the 1960s and ‘70s. I have experienced civil unrest and insanity in world governments before. This is just a rerun for me. In 2014, my main squeeze and soul-partner, Allen, and I bought a little patch of paradise in Wildomar, California where we are transforming an old, decidedly odd house and our acre of mostly barren land into a small farm full of fruit trees, grapes, berries, and vegetables.
We are living within our meager means (mostly) and shunning debt. I have decided to just let go of the insanity of the world and revel in my farm, enjoy our delightful, diverse neighbors, the extraordinarily amazing people who come to my classes and workshops, friends, ex-lovers-turned friends, and the deep and continuing love from and for my quirky genius husband.
I will soak in the beauty of a sunset, the awesomeness of our trees in full bloom before hanging heavy with luscious fruit. I will indulge myself in the music of the crowing rooster next door, the doggy kisses from my neighbor’s eternal puppy, the pure joy that is my cat, Tigger, the awesomeness of technology that brings me I-tunes, Netflix, Hulu, Nat Geo, PBS, and the world at my fingertips through Google. I will embrace and covet the peace and joy I receive from creative works that presently include cooking, rug-making, digital artwork, eating in restaurants, and writing. I will remember to be ultimately grateful for the joy I get from laughing at sheer silliness.
So many blessings. I hear some of you thinking, “You left out money.” Well to accumulate a heaping bunch of it would require different fillings in my Jell-O salad—fillings that bring stress and struggle. For the time-being, I like what I have. Money always seems to come when I want or need it. I’ve been fortunate that way.
Blessings to everyone from whatever or whoever you believe is in charge of that sort of thing.
From the film, Michael, starring John Travolta: Michael: You gotta learn to laugh, it’s the way to true love.
And: Michael: Remember what John and Paul said.
Frank Quinlan: The apostles?
Michael: No, the Beatles. All you need is love.