AnonymousInactiveJanuary 2, 2019 at 6:49 pmPost count: 2
No one longs for what he or she already has. But I think recovering drunks try. We press our faces against the grindstone of acceptance. The strange thing is we find fulfillment, joy, freedom. Who would have thought it’d take a bunch of boozy eyed spinsters, half honest lawyers, biker babes and criminals to find the path to enlightenment?
We don’t have much dogma. Or a clear understanding of what we mean by power or god. Hell these are the people who have flouted dogma and broken rules the better part of their lives.
I was asked if I believed a pot of water, set on the stove, would boil. I was told that’s the only bit of religion I needed.
I want to proclaim, then, the ministry of boiling water. I’ve found the altar of the last call. The church of worn out barmaids and alcoholic widows. I know angels wearing black eyeliner, saints who ruin lives, prophets of whiskey and vodka and gin.
No one longs for what they already have, but the accumulated insight of wise men and mystics say that the reason so many of us can’t see the red X that marks the spot is because we’re standing on it. Longing is answered not in pilgrimage or expensive education, not in prizes or special company. Longing is answered, if it’s answered, here, now. That’s the trick. All we lack, those wisdoms say, is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.
Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; rather, seek what they sought. – the Buddha
Enlightenment isn’t a thing we find in a book, or get from a church, or a doorway of righteousness that’ll get us to heaven. You won’t get there that way, said the Buddha. Start looking closer, he said. Start looking. See.
I asked a woman how to get sober and she said it’s easy, simple really; all you need to do is take an honest look at your life and accept what it is you see.
I think that some wisdom traditions call this “blessing”.
I think I had blessing all misunderstood. I thought it meant something along the lines of prosperity, longevity, wealth.
When someone sneezes, we say ‘bless you’, blessing the virus, the snot, the flu avoided. And all those beatitudes; it’s the tangled up, confused, and hungry who are blessed. The peacemakers, seekers of mercy, people who fight for what is right. Those are not generally the folks with the cash and prizes.
And I think of the Jewish tradition, of prayers and blessings everywhere. They bless bread, salt, toilets and hand washing. They bless waking up in the morning, going to bed at night, light and dark. They have a litany of days and hours, naming everything, intimate with even the dull.
Blessed, end those beatitudes, is the salt of the earth.
Maybe blessing isn’t a promise of future redemption and glory, but a calling of things by their names.
Bless you, dirty laundry. Bless you, middle age. Bless you, stick, for being you. Blessed art thou, distance, for you turn rock and refracted light into stars.
Blessed is my drunk and broken hearted life; bless you poverty and stress and fear; bless you weak coffee and folding chairs, you aren’t much, but you’re my last shot. I got it, pot of boiling water, I’m listening, I’m praying, I’m all in.
The end to suffering is in suffering. To take our longing and apply it to our own life. Literally. These dirty dishes, this single mother, this day that is cold enough to freeze a witch’s tit. There might be a god, maybe even a heaven and a hell; I might have a karma and I might come back a toad; but if it’s peace that I want, serenity I’m looking for, love I want to feel, than the only clear way to it is through this body of mine, bad hair and all. I’m not saying it’s easy. To say ‘this is it, this is what I’ve got’, and find grace in alcoholism. Courage in divorce. Serenity in an autistic child.
But the good news, this way, is that you’ve got everything you need to begin.
I know a church of sinners. It’s filled with dignity and grace.
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