Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Many-Headed Hydra

I'm finding myself in an odd twisted place of gloom and happiness, cynicism and faith, so much to say I've got nothing to say. What can I say that someone hasn't said? I feel the urge to hunker and nest, at least I can keep a happy home for my hard-working sweetie. Where'd that fifties throwback come from? I begin to see why sweet romantic comedies abounded in the forties. When you know the hell of war is tearing people apart daily, you want to remember the sweet half of our human nature. You want the fantasy of a happy ending, the ache of love rather than grief.

I've been hiding out from half-nakedness. I've been shrinking back from the narcissistic flashing of my inner musings. I know what puny efforts they are, and how silly. I've been more comfortable lately offering for others, but that too takes effort to come out my cave. When I feel resistant, I procrastinate. I count on a deadline, because if I don't have one, I don't do it.

Last week another march for peace ignored, another plea for peace treated as so much wishful thinking. People voted so overwhelmingly for Democrats that the votes overcame the black box fixes, yet who have we placed our faith in? People who posture with non-binding resolutions. I don't believe the Democrats really want to end the war. In my gloomier states of mind, I think either our illusionary democracy is held hostage by fear of attacks from within (remember the unsolved mystery of anthrax?) or by the plutocracy that holds the real reins of power. And those powers that be want to be the ones to have the last oil riches of the world. What a convenient piggy bank war is. The oil sits in the sand like cash in a bank while strife above the sand keeps the vault locked. While other countries continue to purge their reserves, those that have the money will not give up the banked oil in Iraq. I'm afraid we will never leave, whatever posturing the Democrats may do. If they meant it, they would stop the funding.

Last week while people marched in Washington, my own little peace group had a discussion about Peak Oil. See info here. There are experts who say we have reached the peak of global oil production. We can look forward to less oil that is more difficult to extract. The closer we come to scarcity it appears to me the more we obsessively consume.

Then there's global warming. Again it seems the more we experience tangible evidence, the more feverish our gluttonous denials. Stephen Colbert handles this so well. And isn't it nice to wrap up in a comfortable warm cocoon, to ride above others, untouchable, unharmable, in this moment? We are inundated with messages that this is good, feed the self, be happy, yet the creation of this monstrous greedy self inevitably brings us more suffering. Consuming the most in the world will not satisfy our need, will never satisfy our need.

So that is the gloomy stuff, bringing me down, making me feel hopeless. Are we doomed? Can we handle the inevitable change coming from the many-headed hydra of global warming, peaked oil, and war? Yet at the same time I am happy, most happy in loving others, connecting with others. Let me be the June Cleaver to my Steve. (Who'da thunk I'd ever say that?). Let me be the host of the tea party. (I had tea and cookies today with Bookmoochers from Albany, Oregon.) Let me be the beloved Sunday School teacher. Let me take this freedom I have learned from Buddhist practice and from daring to love, and give it to the world, because when I do so my love capacity just keeps getting bigger.

Here is where the faith mixes into this tangled mix of dogged activity and stillness in hiding. In Buddhism we don't have faith in something, we have faith that there is a point to all this effort. If we don't get results, we are told not to hang on to that faith. Faith is trust in the spiritual practice, and spiritual practice evolves. Faith evolves. Lately I have come to realize I place my trust in love.

I have not always been so free to love. Fear crippled my capacities. Fear cripples all our capacities. My Buddhist practice and my Zen teacher and my sangha friends helped me uncover and dissolve those hidden rooms fortified by fear. Clearing out the karma was not enough. If I was unmaking my self, I needed to remake my self to live in this physical world of relationships. I needed to meet conditions and learn how the self is made and unmade and remade by it's connections to others. I didn't know love was the key, but I was certainly drawn to it.

Love can be painful yet fortifying. Most of the pain comes from attachment. It is not love that causes trouble, but attachment. I learned it is possible to let go of attachment and continue to love, and that brings a freedom to love even more. There is still a kind of pain, though, in seeing unnecessary suffering, unnecessary cutting off from love. A friend (whom I love) pointed out that putting myself in such an open space can let in some negative stuff. So, maybe I need to allow for downtime, and quiet hidden times. Love tends towards fierce attachment. It takes practice to allow that to arise and fall, and at the same time experience that same love as complete acceptance.

Out of this tangled mix I begin to see the glimmer of an idea. It could be that very many-headed hydra that brings peace finally to this human condition so consistently marked by violence. If we survive the test. It has to do with interconnecting, and will take another post. (Hold me to that, folks.)

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