In the bath, listening to Nickel Creek. It’s music I’ve listened to since I was a teenager. As is Fiona Apple ‘s ‘Tidal’ – my favorite album – another classic for bath tunes. Last night I listened to Les Miserable, RENT, and the Hamilton soundtrack. Smoking my bong, singing along, splashing in the bath. These are things you do when you live alone in the mountains and you’re me. Long hair don’t give a fuck; I am a transient coyote.
And although we mistrust the loner – unsure whether he’s a beast or a god – we know there is something authentic in him. The deep strength cultivated in elective solitude is apparent in the independent person – as is their character. They cannot hide themselves. But ‘in the end, of course, you end up becoming yourself’. I just wish someone would have told me that it would happen. That I would arrive to selfhood not only intact but stronger than most people, different in good, uncommon ways.
If you want to accuse me of egoism, go ahead. So many worse things than self-love – no matter how much of a sin they made it. I’d rather be in love with myself than not. But there are, of course, different ways to love oneself. There is a puffed-up love of self and then there is a real romance, a real appreciation of You – the person you are.
There’s a fantastic quote attributed directly to Jesus, from the Thomas Gospel that inspires pure, healthy self-love in me:
“Seek the living one while you are alive, lest you die and are unable to see him.”
And the living one is me. The living one is you. The living one is the being we have incarnated as. And the only time we have with ourselves in this form is in this life.
So, yes, I seek the living one. That’s what solitude gives you, time with yourself. As I said to Sarah, “If we ever moved back in together, we would need our own ‘wings’ of the house.”
I am proud of myself. It’s almost a miracle to be living by oneself at thirty-three – at least for me.
It’s just me and the next ten years. Me and my dreams. Naked and unafraid – touching myself, thinking of no one. Knowing that what most people care about is stupid.
The Tao is alive in me. The feminine-senex energy there is so wise and non-combative.
As the Tao says, “Stop thinking and end your problems.”
There’s a point that suffering is transcended. It’s when we realize that it is elective. That we can choose instead to feel good is not an insignificant fact.
I am a composting vegetarian. People change. Particularly those who find the suffering intolerable – these are the people who truly suffer. The melodramatic is in a far deeper level of hell than the Stoic.
But, ultimately, responsibility affords us power, which brings freedom. I am responsible for how I feel, so what others think or do is unimportant outside of what it teaches me about people. And there are all kinds of people in this world. There is, in-fact, every kind of person in this world.
But life has never been much different anthropologically for me than high school. Same people. And I’m the same person. There’s a dye that colors the fibers of people. The tiger cannot change his stripes. But as some ancient once quipped, “A bad man is nothing more than a good man’s job.” There are sides in this empire. Cheers to former CIA Director Brennan, and all others on the right side of history. America, what the actual Nixonian fuck. But people have always loved bad leaders. That’s what happens when the shadow isn’t confronted, it comes to the light where history must then reconcile with it.
And besides some very vapid, manipulative, ugly persons, the rest is really just ignorance. That and mental health. The collective neurosis that is religion. Christ, how many children did the Catholic Church molest and rape in Pennsylvania… This is the shadow. This is the problem with “goodness” over wholeness. Why do you think these Cosby, 7th Heaven Dad types turn out to be the opposite? Because that guy doesn’t exist. He’s a liability to himself. The church created these monsters. I would not go to a Christian Church to find good, whole people. It’s actually typically a warning to me that the person might be really full of shit. And I recognize these are not mild, correct, diplomatic positions to take, but I can not take any other. In good conscience, I am here to tell you that man should have never been an archetype for god, but, rather, god should be an archetype for man. He / She / They / Them / Us, were all created in our image rather than us in theirs.
The whole paradigm of the creator-god makes us, to me, almost sub-human. As a species, we should look to reason, to empirical evidence, and we should see that we are the epoch of the universe, the vanguard, the echo of the big bang. We are the universe – along with every other living thing. We evolved from fish, from the ocean – one bone, two bones, many bones – our tetrapod limbs evidence this.
We are animals. Like dolphins or James Cameron’s Na’avi people, in Avatar.
Now, as to the nature of life – whether it’s a simulation – I am outgrowing that model. I’m more of the mind of Joseph Campbell, who believed that “Energy and consciousness are the same thing, somehow.”
It is our minds that run the simulation. Our thoughts that inform our programs, our cultures that inform our software. So, to me, the value in the simulation paradigm is in the subjectivity of it. Heaven or hell are in the dreamer.
Of course, reality is very thick and it’s not easy to outgrow our situations, ourselves, but discontent does its magic work. You learn to take control of the Vanilla-Sky-esque dream again – but only after the nightmare has gotten bad enough to wake you. How I pity and love my younger self. I was such a poor, impoverished bastard. The song ‘Happy’ by Marina and The Diamonds tells the story of going from the sadness of the nightmare to the freedom of the dream.
“I found what I’ve been looking for in myself.”
That’s the godhead. That’s the completeness of a happy child.
Security in oneself – without comparison. As the Tao says, “By making some things beautiful we make other things ugly.” So too in making some things desirable we make other things undesirable. In this way, our values can completely rob us of what is. Gratitude is wealth experienced subjectively. The problem arises when what is beautiful, when what is desirable, is outside of us. Then we are impoverished.
To love life as it is and nothing more. Is this not bliss.
To want everything to be different is to be as unhappy as an angsty teenager again. It is only when we start to grow into ourselves that we can begin to appreciate what is. It is at this point when we start to appreciate ourselves, our lives – for better or for worse, that we stop wishing for it all to change.
Not to say we stop dreaming or become holy wanderers, but we take our place in time – as present in our lives, neither wishing for the past nor longing for the future. Like, I am here. And I’m here to follow my purpose and live my dreams, but the dream is just that – a chance to live true to yourself.