This kind of an essay is hard to write. It’s hard because I don’t want to sound preachy. Other than my late grandfather I’m really not fond of preachers or preaching. Despite this I do think that for the most part their hearts are in the right place; at least 50% of the time anyway. (What the hell…I’m an optimist.) It’s really not important or necessary to wander off into a tirade about religion but I would like quote Mark Twain on the matter just to give a small overview and I’m probably not going to get this verbatim but I can get close enough to make the point.
“When it comes to matters of religion and politics, people’s opinions and beliefs are mostly gotten second hand from another person whose opinions were gotten second hand from another person who’s opinions on the matter aren’t worth a brass-farthing”
Whatever the hell a “brass-farthing” is you got me but it’s probably not that valuable of a thing. In any case I’ll let that quote be the extent of my opinion for the time being. Twain wasn’t perfect by any means but he had a very keen and penetrating mind and wasn’t scared to tell it like it was/is. I have tremendous respect for him for that. Unfortunately he never took his own advice on the pitfalls of human greed and his life can really be an example for us all, taking into account the good and the bad.
Alright I’m slapping myself on the wrist now. It’s really hard to stay on point sometimes especially when you don’t know what the point is until it comes down through the air into the grand central station of the mind and then somehow takes form as words that appear on the screen through all the hundreds of thousands of neurons simultaneously firing and sending messages to the dozens (maybe hundreds?) of muscles and nerve endings in the hands and fingers. Shit, that’s a long sentence but we really are fascinating creatures. It boggles the mind to think about it and that’s probably why most of the time we don’t. The fact that we are here at all defies all logic and reason and the fact that we can manage to do what we can do goes way beyond that. Clearly logic and reason have their limitations.
We are miraculous creatures and that fact probably shouldn’t be taken for granted as much as it is. Just my dog amazes the hell out of me and she can’t even spell her own name. But she sure can love in a way that any of us could aspire to and she can forgive and forget and not hold a grudge and face each and every moment of each and every day with an enthusiasm that puts Tony Robbins to shame and a sense of gratitude that is equally mind blowing. So in some ways I try to learn from her. Then again she does dine on a pile of her own shit occasionally. Hey none of us are perfect. Maybe that’s like McDonald’s in dog world. (ie: it won’t kill you immediately but you probably shouldn’t eat it too often)
What I’d like to allude to here – without telling anyone how sinful or depraved they are or how they are going to hell and how they need their soul ‘saved’, even without asking for a collection plate to be passed around – is that there is one aspect of our existence here that really takes precedence over everything else.
There is one thing that matters more than anything else because if that one area isn’t right nothing else will matter. If we neglect this one thing we won’t be able to enjoy anything else for more than about fifteen or twenty minutes or so. Nothing else will ever be enough. Nothing else is enough. If you get this one thing right you can afford to get a lot of other things wrong. And if you manage to handle this one area to the best of your ability the other things will tend to fall into place on their own. Even when they don’t you’ll still be okay and well equipped to handle the ever changing circumstances in which we all live.
To be clear on one thing, when I say “you”, I mean “me” also. It’s just a manner of speaking and I’m just expressing and reiterating some things that are near and dear to me and have been and continue to be of tremendous benefit to me.
So what am I talking about anyway? Ironically, there is no particular word for it. You may find it in religion and you may call it spirituality but to me those two words/concepts have certain connotations that really don’t do justice to what I’d hope to express here.
Let’s just assume that we are all souls on this great journey and that as souls we are ever evolving and perfecting and moving closer to something greater than our present state, though our present state is not to be looked down on or shunned in any way. In fact it’s a blessing and this evolution that we are a part of is ongoing and touches every facet of our lives and every tiny detail of our experience is a part of the grand whole. All of the religions touch on this in some way but there is a tendency to take things literally that weren’t meant to be taken literally and to misunderstand and misinterpret what is presented and for this institution that should be helpful to become possibly the biggest hindrance. It can be a great thing if we don’t let it overpower our reason and common sense and more importantly our own intuition. Really at best it can be the match that lights the fire and at worst it can have you strapping a bomb around yourself in the name of al-Lah.
I’m talking all around what I’m actually talking about but I’m hoping the point isn’t missed. If it is missed maybe I’ll try to do better next time. One thing is of greater importance than anything else. Eat, drink, and be merry but always keep this in mind. Inquire within, inquire without, but always inquire. Inquire more within than without. Have an internal sniff test for all of the inquiring without. Does it ring true deep within? If you have to make excuses for it or compromise something internally, don’t accept it outright.
“Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?”
What a question! But it does exist and so do we. Accident? Hmmm…
And we can even ponder that question which is certainly no accident and it may be the most important question even though an exact answer probably isn’t possible. What are you? What is this all? Why are we all here and where is this all leading? Important questions. Let’s not let Brittney Spears rehab or American Idol or ‘freedom fries’ drown out these questions for us. In my case right here right now, I’ll make sure not to let this watered down Shiraz that I’m getting into drown it out. One thing really is more important than anything else. The other stuff is just icing on the cake.