Many people believe that everything can be explained. I reject that idea. I am willing to accept that all mechanical processes can ultimately be explained – but how much of life is mechanical? Is love mechanical? Is childbirth mechanical? Is death mechanical? Is the feeling we experience at a great concert mechanical? The current tendency to want to reduce everything to something that can be explained is little more than self-deception. It is a product of fear of the unknown.
The truth is that we will never be truly happy until we can make peace with the fact that there are many things we do not understand, and some of those things are the best part of life. In trying to explain them away, we reduce life to a two-dimensional misery that sends us in search of something (substances, sex, control, power over another) to give life a false depth that fools us into believing everything is within our control and understanding. Better to actually experience and live life than to miss it out of fear!
The other day, someone jokingly said to me that they were sure my wife had already “paid” me many times for something. While this person didn’t mean anything by their comment, they displayed western culture’s problem with intimacy in one short sentence. The implication was that she has had sex with me (an interesting assumption unless they have propped a ladder up against the outside of our home and peered through the window) and that sexual intimacy constitutes some sort of token economy by which couples transact business. Let’s examine that briefly.
Implying that sexual intimacy constitutes some sort of financial transaction rather than something both parties enjoy and that deepens their relationship with and commitment to each other implies that women prostitute themselves to their sex partners so that their partners will do what they want at some point in the future. That isn’t about intimacy at all. If you feel like you have to lay there while some sweaty person lays on top of you for three or four minutes, do that person a favor. Get out, or get to relationship counseling. You might also prepare yourself for the reality that since everyone needs intimacy, you rather lose the right to complain if your partner seeks it elsewhere.
The problem with relationships is they ask us to trust someone else, and that opens the door to being hurt. This leads some people to choose not to trust (and quite often to be control freaks), the result of which is those people hurt themselves through the stunted life they lead. The self-protection of attempting to control others is a destructive illusion that precludes healthy relationships. You are either in or out, there is no such thing as an authentic, halfway relationship.
People sometimes say to me, “I let my wife do this or that,” as if they deserve a cookie for “allowing” another adult to make a choice to meet a need they have.
Let’s be clear: no adult needs “permission” from any other adult to do anything. We “allow” children to do things, but if we believe we have the right to deny allow another adult to exercise their free will then we have become a manipulative, pathetic excuse for a partner – in fact, such behavior is abusive. Here’s the lesson: other people do not exist to make you happy. Believing that’s the case is narcissism.
Nobody who is remembered for something they did with their genitals is remembered well. We seem to imagine that an orgasm will make us happy, but if that was true it would matter whether the orgasm was achieved when we were alone or in the middle of a Rolling Stones concert. The vast majority of our sexual bafoonery takes place when we try to self-medicate with sex. It doesn’t work.
As we work for the change that will, hopefully, make things the way they should be we also live in the world of the way things are. The change we wait for may be a long time coming, and so we must ask ourselves how we are to live today in the world we have in front of us.
The truth is that healthy spirituality cannot exist outside psychological health. If our worldview is distorted and our coping mechanisms inadequate, our spirituality will become nothing more than another attempt to escape reality rather than a means to enter it fully.
Nothing reminds us more of sins of holidays past than living through holidays present. Be good to yourselves, and be good to each other.
…is within you. The path is a movement from your false self to your true self.
We tend to get caught up in story, as can be clearly seen by the reactions to the election of Donald Trump. Something happens and our minds go to work. In a matter of minutes, we have constructed a story of how whatever has happened will play out, and that story rarely has a happy ending. We can turn the discovery of a hang nail into an amputated arm in under a minute. We see the hang nail, then convince ourselves infection will set in, then move to the infection being uncontrollable, and – presto! – we are certain our new nickname will be lefty.
The truth is that we don’t know what the future holds, so all of the time we spend constructing story is at best wasted time. At worst, it’s time we spend worrying about disasters that will never happen rather than living our lives. Live in the present moment!