I confess to being a naturally paranoid person, thus my reaction to last Tuesday’s election result has been to turn off the news, retreat from the outside world. I’m not recommending this behavior. I do it for fear of what too much exposure might do to my wellbeing. If I didn’t put my blinkers on while swimming the news-stream that’s rolling in, I’d likely have to get a straitjacket to tie me down, or a lifejacket (also suffering a severe case of mixed metaphors!) Anyway, not so my wife, Chappell, or my Facebook friends who are fiercely observing current events; there is plenty of leakage into my little world.
A lot of people I know are sick, fearful, despairing here on the left coast, where I’m now hearing the “coastal elites” live. Why is that said disparagingly? As I heard someone remark, “what’s wrong with being part of an elite; don’t we all strive for that kind of excellence?” My first post on Facebook was a kind of David Remnick (editor of The New Yorker) howl about the forces of authoritarianism, and I echoed his conclusion, “despair is no answer.” My second public “posting” was a poem “Observances” and I was grateful to David Kantor who made and shared a video of it to his list, happy to be appreciated.
I’d like to say a few words about the process behind that poem, an old one that I felt led back to revisit. I’d first attempted it in 2004 not long after the Iraq invasion and George Bush’s re-election. I found I had gone through a lot of roadblocks, stalls, uncertainties, before finally setting it aside, three unfinished versions, with no actually completed poem to show. This time, as I reworked it, I found no difficulty organizing the emotions expressed. The years had given me a matured perspective. I recognized that the poem spoke about the difficulties of the spiritual search, whereas perhaps 12 years before I’d only wanted the epiphanies, the joys, and thus, because of the struggles it reveals, couldn’t write it to my satisfaction.
“Religious perplexities are inevitable; there can be no growth without psychic conflict and spiritual agitation. The organization of a philosophic standard of living entails considerable commotion in the philosophic realms of the mind. Loyalties are not exercised in behalf of the great, the good, the true, and the noble without a struggle. (The Urantia Book, The UB, 100:4.2)”
Then Blue Monday morning, both Chappell and I woke up with new thoughts to counteract our fears. She wanted to make love a priority, including more hugs, kisses, and physical contact. My wake up call was I wanted to firmly resolve the true goal as the pursuit of happiness. In the same moment, we had both experienced these realizations separately.
Then within a couple of days, another great synchronicity, the quote that showed up from Hafiz of Persia (born 1326), “When all your desires are distilled, you will cast just two votes: to love more, and be happy,” the same leadings we had heard from the Spirit. Of further interest was his use of the word “votes.”
I have asked God to strengthen me in sharing the message the world needs to hear: the love of God rules this universe and our world and his sons are here with us to guide and steer.
"He who has seen me has seen the Father." To hear Jesus' teaching is not equivalent to knowing God, but to see Jesus is an experience which in itself is a revelation of the Father to the soul. The God of universes rules the far-flung creation, but it is the Father in heaven who sends forth his spirit to dwell within your minds.” (The UB, 169:4.12)
As we have been so led, let us embrace love and claim happiness.
From the muggings and thuggery,
life within the big picture,
I learned hard-earned humility.
Myself, I think of as forward trending,
gently bending. Body blows taught me
our perceptions cannot be depended on
as true … necessarily.
I’ve boxed with God’s shadow,
lived in his light, attempted retreat,
predisposed to contemplations,
punctilious clicking, one bead against another,
mulling over a myriad of truisms
recited like careful rosaries,
repeating things that earn
blessings and approval,
unsure of their right fit
for the moment I’m in.
I don’t know if my prayer ascends.
I shade burning eyes
from the flash of sky.
Try not to misread the horizon.
Found out I must in some measure
still trust. Must rely
on insights I personally own;
can’t take him at his divine word.
Time to act, use the passion
that lives in our bones;
rehearse the instincts.
Speak from authentic knowledge.
Put away the scattered yarrow stalks,
Chinese coins, the thrown dice. Move
through the open door before it closes,
turn the sticking wheel,
give it to your Spirit Guide,
a guardian, an ally, someone who can steer.
Put pedal to the metal. Drive on towards dawn.