Tuesday, May 06, 2008

maybe intro to "Up," the book, I'm writing

In the beginning, supposedly, there was a Big Bang. We don’t know. Somehow things started off. At least it seems like that.
And our lives had a beginning, that we can know (about) with more certainty. Once we were in our mother’s womb. Then we came out. Then we learned a bunch of stuff and here we are, reading or listening to a book, in your case, or writing a book in my case.
We learned words along the way.
We leaned to negotiate gravity. In the womb, life was pretty cushy, or at least cushioned. We were in no danger of falling. We may have felt the pull of gravity, but it wouldn’t make any difference, would it, all rolled up in a nice warm ocean sack.
Dark sack. Not silent. Apparently we heard voices, music, sounds, though they must have been muffled, and maybe that muffling mingled with the thump-thump of Mom’s heart, to give us a sort of pre-natal symphony. Who knows.
Dark. No gravity. No light.
No breathing. I mean we had lungs, and water could go in and out, the ocean we breathed, in a sort of way, but air, no.
Gravity, light and air: these are what we were born into that began our life as creatures of the Earth. Well, we were creatures of the Womb and Earth, at first, and then, creatures of the Earth.
We could be happy on this Earth. We could be unhappy. We could move easily. We could move with difficulty. As we grew older, huge numbers of us had some sort of issue with our back and neck. Even larger numbers of us decided that sex was something of interest to our lives.
Well, maybe decided isn’t the right word. Were drawn to. Were compelled by. Fascinated. Hooked. Intrigued. Obsessed. Excited.
You pick the word or words, but sex is a big part of life on Earth, and yes, yes, just for symmetry’s sake, it did start off that journey in the warm dark gravity-less and breathing-less Womb.
And even those of us who have never had an “issue” with our backs, must daily, use this collection of 24 vertebrae to hold our head upright. In sitting. In walking. The spine is long, and our arms hang off it, and we can rotate and bend to the side and fold forward and arch backwards. We can curl up in a ball. We can look up into the sky. We can look around behind us. The spine is long and clever, and as children we have a lot of fun naturally doing all sorts of things with our bodies and our spines.
And then we get old, most of us, and sit around too much and stop having fun in certain ways. Maybe our back or neck hurts. Maybe we just don’t feel like walking or running or skipping or dancing or playing basketball or swimming any more.
That’s a shame, don’t you think?

Sometimes we have a sore neck. A pain in the neck. Sometimes the pain in the neck is another person. Even if we don’t have a pain in the neck, we often have a person or a group of people who are, for us, a pain in the neck. They bother us. Our neck, the connecting of head and the rest of us, sometimes signals the head and the heart not communicating. Or the head and the heart/body. Sometimes the neck is in pain because we came to an accident, or are straining too hard, or just plain don’t use ourselves right.
Sometimes the pain in the neck that other people can be creates stress and unhappiness in our lives. This book is not just about moving better, more fluidly, as we did when we were younger. This book is also about finding ways to be flexible and free in our emotions, so other people, who are always go to be annoying. (At least a certain percent of them are bound to be jerks, and how can we live so that their jerkiness doesn’t bother us. Indeed, how can we live so that we can take their jerky behavior and get up in our mood from this, rather than down).
Back, sex, necks, mood.
Mood is a big thing.
What if we were cheerful and in a good mood all the time? Or most of the time?
Would that be okay, if we could pull that off without going blind to what is going on around us? How to be of good cheer, whether the people around us and of the sort to bring us cheer or not.
That’s another part of what this book is about.
Or how about this: even when we are sad and down (i.e. not “up”), there is an underlying joy, and sort of carrier wave that is more important than the sadness and gunky stuff?

And what might that carrier wave be?
Well, if it could be described it would be the most important word in the world.
And it can’t.
Nevertheless, the route to this underlying state of quiet happiness, contentedness, in-love-with-life-ness, is this: to be in the present. This has been known, and forgotten, for a long, long time. Buddhism to The Power of Now. Fritz Perls to Oprah. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to Adhyashanti. Gurdjieff to Ram Dass to me, many have said this: be here, now.

And some of us have been present while we said, “Be here now.” And some haven’t.
La, la.

One woman’s work, her gift to humanity, her re-discovery of Enlightenment in small, thought size does, is the Work of Byron Katie. She doesn’t talk about “Enlightenment,” except to say things along the lines of: Don’t sweat the enlightenment as a full time gig; how about just this thought, can we wake up from that?
Or she might say: if I fight reality, I lose, but only one hundred percent of the time.
Or she might say: I am a Lover of What Is.
Or she might say: if you want to know the truth, if you want to do The Work, fine, welcome.
If you don’t want to do the Work, fine, welcome.

Are we suffering?
Then, physical suffering, emotional suffering, spiritual suffering, even Earth suffering, let’s say: This is a wake up call.

The Earth is spirally toward destruction.
Not really. We humans are fouling our nest to such a degree, that we might extinct ourselves, and assist Mother Earth is some sort of readjusting cleanse.
“Saving the Earth” is code for not going that way.
The statistics look bad. We may, as a species, be screwed, and not in the pleasurable, and life making sense about which we spoke when earlier we were discussing sex.
Sex is nice: it brings us to the present.
It gives us a glimpse of a wordless state and a possibility of connection with another.
It also allows us one of many, many meaningless escapes from the dilemmas of lives lived without awareness and love and consciousness.
So: what are we to do. How are we to save the Earth, quote unquote. How can we improve backs, necks, and sex, and moods and posture and awareness and what would all that have to do with “Saving the Earth?”
If you can gently take a walk or go dancing or work in your garden, with simple ease and pleasure, growing food and beauty, or taking in the simple joys of a stroll, of time away from schedules and demands and cars and consumption: this will be a sweet peace of the simple life that will begin to “save the Earth.”
If we can improve our moods around those “pains in the neck” who live next door, and live under our same roof, and are related to us and live across the town, or across the country, then we will be able to have the kind of simple peace that will allow us to live lives of conversation and pleasure in our neighbors and family and friends and even strangers.
Life will be sweet when our moods of anger and resentment, our grudges, our fear of approval and disapproval are undone. And in this sweetness, we can begin to live simply, and in harmony and in love.
Love with now.
Love with What is.
Love with those around us.
Love with our-“Selves,” whatever that is.

So welcome to the adventure. What ways can we discover to ease and undo the suffering in our bodies and emotions and spirit.
And even if no overt, big-deal suffering, how can we improve inner connection and outer love to live lives of ongoing peace and happiness and learning?
This is what this book is about. Maybe.


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