Some days I am more afflicted by my view of history than others. What I mean by my view of history is the set of instructions, assumptions, patterns and perceptions that I have agglomerated within myself, that I carry around tucked inside of me like a bolus of half-eaten horsecrap, portions of which I take out and mentally deconstruct from time to time, but which I have yet to moreorless rear back and hurl like a split-fingered dung puck into the abyss.
(Hafiz and I have been learning this spiritual baseball together, BTW, but he has no ammo, having emptied himself out long ago. Thankfully, some days I am still up to my ears in the stuff, and he seems perfectly happy, almost excited frankly, about using some of mine.)
So, as I was saying, some days my present moment awareness is more afflicted by my view of history than others. There will be those who argue this isn’t really living in the present- that when one is truly present you don’t have that feeling of being aware that right now, in this very moment, you are experiencing a sensation of conflict between what you desire to be and what is. I know, I know… obviously for this to be my experience one or both perceptions are gunked up beyond recognition. But thankfully, not beyond repair.
(Hafiz just reached into my mind, pulled out a handful of you know what, packed it between his fists into a shape reasonably resembling a sphere, and launched a wobbling, quivering knuckle ball in the direction of Rumi. Rumi swung something that looked like a cross between a Louisville slugger and a sheet of plywood, and still missed, for the projectile of falsehood extracted from my mental inventory had actually disappeared into non-existence about three feet in front of the plate. Jesus called him out on the spot. Rumi ignored him, oblivious to the implications of fanning on three consecutive pitches, and nodded to Hafiz to throw another. That is when Kabir and Tommy Lasorda burst out of the same dugout and came racing headlong across the diamond, laughing, like giddy actors in an outtake, to argue balls and strikes… again.)
Some days have an all-out expansive feeling, and on others you feel like you’ve been gang-tackled by the Brotherhood for the Preservation of the Mundane. Some days an idea takes root inside of you that you know you want to hang onto forever, a precious seedling you commit yourself on the spot to nurturing. A few days later, you discover you can’t nurture that one AND all the old ones, too. A few days later, you discover you have no idea what to nurture, or how. You’re stuck in the mud, and it’s not a truck commercial this time.
(Hafiz never tires of this game, BTW. I think he’s on his fortieth consecutive no-no. (No-hitter, that is.) (You knew that, right?) (No matter.) )
Jesus warns us repeatedly in A Course of Love about the dangers of effort. We’ve been taught since Day One to apply ourselves. If we can’t do anything else, at least we can hustle on every play. Fight for every rebound. Strain our mitochondria until the whistle blows. Never give up. Grind ourselves against adversity until we glow white hot. At least we can put our backs into this thing we call a life. At least we can make an “honest effort”. I’ve been deeply afflicted by this virus.
That’s why Jesus sends out the Brotherhood for the Preservation of the Mundane every so often. They blow through town like a posse of uncouth pistoleros, shoot all my goals full of holes, then tear off again into the night, hootin’ an’ hollerin’. They serve a holy purpose, those guys. I’ve learned to love those guys, because on their heels comes the gentle winds of grace. My goals can get pretty stifling to live inside, and heat just makes you want to bear down even harder. Then that grace pours in through the holes like cool fall air and refreshes everything. I can sit back and breathe deeply. Phew…
(What the hell was that all about?)
(I was planning again, wasn’t I…)
(Hey, let me throw one of those…)
(There’s nothing quite like October baseball…)