The Course in Miracles says there are only two basic emotions: love and fear. It further declares that if you're feeling one, you can't be feeling the other. I wonder if that's true. Maybe there are rare moments when we are so fully in the love, that we have no other reality. Maybe there are also moments when we are so fully in the fear, that we see nothing else.
In my own life, there have been such absolutes. When I'm in love with a human, life is transformed. That can also happen when I'm in "the Love" as I experience a sunset or some other natural phenomenon. Likewise I know times when I'm drowning in "the Fear," when having to answer the phone or fill the gas tank makes me quake.
There are manifold paths in and out of these extreme states of bliss and terror. What about the rest of our life when love and fear are intermingled in millions of mutations and permutations, millions of variations on a theme. That comingled dance seems more common in the multiple realities of the human narrative.
The guides and maps in, out, and through the human condition are worth considering. While I am mostly Buddhist in my spiritual outlook, it is infused with my Christian heritage (and, alas, also with my old school Catholic heritage of sin and scrupulosity). Over the years, I've also been influenced by the 12-Step approach to human foibles. I think of this approach as spiritual boot camp, not for the faint of heart!
Recently, I've been attending one such group, more gentle of spirit, more focused on personal growth than on prohibitions. In the process, I've acquired a sponsor with the vigilance of a warrior and the heart of a fellow traveler. I find myself with mixed feelings about the 12-Step process even in such a guise of kindness.
It, like the Course in Miracles, presumes the either/or paradigm. Love or fear. Self-medicating or not. Substance abuse or sobriety. Any other way of looking at things is seen as a rationalization. Call it what you will, I'm not sure that works for me. In this blog and in my life, I presume the human condition means a lot of time in "sacred shit." Sacred shit encompasses both ends of the spectrum and everything between. It includes love and fear exquisitely blended, with hate, compassion, rage, greed, generosity, and loneliness folded in. This is the compost of the human condition. From and through this grows the human, anchored and nourished by the smelly confusion of the earth, reaching outward by some natural internal instinct towards fulfillment and regeneration of its sacred seed.
I'm happy for all the spiritual traditions and guides. I walk as comfortably with a 12-stepper as I do with a Southern Baptist. Both assume a kind of rightness that can too easily slide into righteousness, but both also have inspiration and common sense within their guidebooks. I'll take the hand of anyone who offers it in a spirit of fellowship and kindness. While I doubt any clarity that can neatly divide the human experience into this OR that, I embrace the questing human soul struggling to assert meaning as it flounders through the sacred shit of this oh-so-physical spiritual life.
I'm hoping that love AND fear embrace and teach each other. I'm hoping that no part of us goes without blessing, even when we slide into an addiction or curl up in mortal terror. I stand with the Buddhists in thinking neither loving thoughts nor fearful thoughts are better or worse. They slide in and out of us at quantum speeds and all we can do is be aware of the inner commotion. Enlightenment, may it be so, stands with all the elements and from this rooted spot is unfolding in ways we can't imagine or find words to say. Such is the rhythm as I feel it. Roxie
Become a Follower of the Big Dude!
Meet the divine Dude in this blog. This Dude has had and seen his share of sacred shit. He's not afraid of it or of its language. I can't relate to a god that's been crucified, but I can relate to one whom my government has imprisoned and humiliated. I can relate to one who's been raped by his own holy men. I can relate to one who grew up playing baseball or soccer and who dated the Prom Queen. I can relate to the god who knows the working of corporate conglomerates, pimps, and teen-age girls who are pregnant. I can relate to the god who loves alcoholics and drug addicts just a tad more than wall street hotshots. This Dude thinks all of us are mortal particles in an ocean of sacred shit. This Dude recycles.