The layers of tending the moment and time as a timeless work of beingness and growth are diverse and yet consistently weave one song, a song of unity in love (even when we’re bickering). The work of tending the moment reveals an unmatched value in knowing that we are all one, that humanity is one great pulsing unfolding of life, of love and of those miscarriages of love. We are not as much apart from each other as we believe ourselves to be, no matter how we differ. We all run after love’s best. We stumble. We get up and try again. Even those most fundamentalist, most seemingly given over to the grand quest of “rightness,” are reacting in fear against love’s losses. It is a destructive work, rarely building love. But the motive, under layers of stiff, dry harsh “thou shaltness,” is that cry for love.
If life were meant to be lived for an ultimate tangible goal or manifestation (beyond all that is perfectly love-being now), if it were about the ultimate one grand thing, we would wither up and die. But it is for the eternal here, destination now-is-love. And yet most of us can’t not know how now effects the future. It’s a good thing that we are stuck with this weighing of one thing (the future) against the other (the immeasurable preciousness of resting into the moment). Alan Watts touches on this idea in his book, “Behold The Spirit” and makes clear how contrasts and contradictions provide the perfect manifestation of humanity’s song and unfolds a diligence born not of burdensome rightness but of rest:
“As transparency, or emptiness, lends clarity and definition to form, I find that the more I understand that I am the Happening, and can make no mistake, the more I appreciate every kind of careful and formal discipline and technique. You are somehow freed to do things lovingly and well when you realize that you are not doing anything out of duty or obligation to an overlord. When you no longer make the distinction between the universe and how you are acting upon it, you are really on your own and do acquire a sense of responsibility. And to the degree that we develop (or that there grows in us) this sense of compassionate, as distinct from anxious, carefulness we shall be able to do without the State just as we have been learning to do without the Church.”
Or we are simply learning to do without any overlord or overbearing straining sense of mustness within the Church, within government, within the soul – except when something vital is threatened.
I’m going through a “ness” phase and it’s indicative of the weaving of threads of constancy. There is that presence of perpetual MUST, SHOULD. Or…shouldness. Mustness. They become the great overlords, the teacher with the ruler smacking down hard on the knuckles of alleged wrong. Or the soothing restfulNESS of calm meaning. “Good morning Sweetness…”
An example of this struggle between the overlord and the rest for me personally reveals itself in my juggling of a million things important to me, things that seem to want to tear at purpose here while building up purpose there. I am a mother. I am a woman. I need employment more steady but that won’t kick in a backlash of chronic fatigue syndrome horror. I need to go to school full time but. Those things don’t always want to work together. But I MUST…take care of… me. And them. And. And that. And. When it all boils into a cauldron of shouldness, the flow is gone. The sense of the moment malleable and fat with meaning dries up, blasted away in the tsunami of obligation and of those solid imperatives snarling. Even the obligation to take care of “just me.” The ability to trust life, to trust self evaporates in the boil of shouldness, the ultimate overlord.
Or, as is beautifully described here – “I’ll Take Plastic” – we go through a wrestling match over how “green” we are or are not, how “organic,” or how “sustainable” is our living. It is an endless fatiguing effort when we cannot simply rest into it and do what we are able to do.
But some of us are more sensitive to these things than others. We need the words of Watts and others who have learned to both let go and grasp the vision of why any reality of living matters. We need to be able to identify which imperative layers of concern are most important now and which ones can rest ‘til later. To let go of fear, to let go of the overlord and rest in confidence that we are all part of a grand scheme of love proving love, that we are one in this work is to be freed of any sense of responsibility as a burden. Responsibility and diligence in life become and are, instead, another act of love.
jruthkelly © 2009