Living with a deeper awareness is living erotically and devoting yourself to experiencing every moment with all 5 senses. While also recognizing several truths the country has been terrified to face because it would shatter our desires for the material possessions we cling onto for safety. We are bombarded with information, propaganda, recordings of toxicity played throughout our social media all acting as a conspiracy to separate us from the private dimensions of our lives. Everyone is slowly approaching their last evening unaware of the last breathe that shall be taken, and this knowledge either has us terrified to walk around corners or living so carelessly we pretend to have never heard of death. Our children are suffering from anxiety induced panic attacks because they are watching their parents move about the world anxiously. Moving with a chronic emptiness that is filled with treats, reaching for success and noise. We are in deep need of a positive shift in character and a bloodless revolution as James Baldwin called it. This radical shift of identity can only be achieved by a radical analysis of the virtues used to hold up our current identity. Are we willing to lose ourselves to find a base that will help us live? Also, what are the tools of this search? I believe they began with accepting four essential truths.
We are always changing
Life and freedom should be taken serious
Your life has immense value regardless of any achievements, successes or possessions
The world needs you to live and become gentle with yourself.
We have forgotten these truths either purposely or in our pursuit of wealth and hyper-individualism; they had to be pushed aside so we could maintain our delusions. The fever dream of our old fashioned American myths has created a beauty standard that absolutely exists nowhere in the world. We are afraid of change, actually the corporations are afraid of our evolution it would be harder to sell to a self loving evolving people, so we hide our wrinkles and grey hair. Every change in our body reveals a shift in our experience, and we are unable to notice the shift plucking, dyeing, and concealing everything. Our bodies, skin and our sanity are all precious and it is worthy to grow old and reach paradise. Life does not end after the age of 25 like many of us walk around believing. Going into nature is a medium to gradually become accepting of change. The movement of the lake is reflecting the age of the trees; leaves fall from those aging trees and bugs leave their old bodies behind on the trunk. You are connected to a truth of this universe; everything around you exists in a state of constant change and learning. If you cannot change it will be impossible to learn from your life, repressing the truth and wisdom that comes with change.
You are surrounded by both life and death on a scale that happens both quicker and longer than your own. Although humans live an average 70 years; tree alone will live less than 100 years to more than a few thousand years. The Great Basin bristlecone pine is 4,852 years old; the great tree was around when humans were leaving the stone age, and Sumerians were developing written language. Our moon has seen Harriet Hosmer create Zenobia in chains; James Baldwin prepare Notes of a Native Son, but it has also seen the trans-Atlantic slave trade with the justifications that came after. The moon we live under today is the same one James Baldwin wrote under, and Martin Luther king prepared speeches that would shift the consciousness of a nation. It is also the same moon Sylvia Plath took her life under and Kurt Vonnegut rose from his bunker to see the once beautiful town of Dresden stomped on by giants. We must accepts the depths of change happening all around us, for we cannot live without ceasing resistance to the energy moving through the world.
We have blunted our connection to the world, and the act of restoring this connection will be a bloodless revolution. Our ecosystem is being destroyed by people that live in supercilious metal buildings; that burst through the clouds aiming for heaven and taller than the Tower of Babel. Oddly enough, these towers depend on our inability to speak to one another. There is no recognition of the connection between us and the life around us, so we let it burn and die; while those that live in the iron towers ruthlessly destroy the world to make more unwelcoming citadels. Joseph Campbell said, “You can tell what’s informing a society by what the tallest building is. When you approach a medieval town, the cathedral is the tallest thing in the place. When you approach an eighteenth-century town, it is the political palace that’s the tallest thing in the place. And when you approach a modern city, the tallest places are the office buildings, the centers of economic life”.
Going into nature is accepting the impermanence of your life, and accepting the interdependence of human existence. Everything I do affects you and everything you do affects me. The confidence to move through the world trusting your own sound, and become an adult by your own definition is a lesson received from sitting in nature. It is revelatory to understand that the same moon your ancestors lived under is the same one you are creating yourself under. Everything around you is changing, constantly being born, being forgotten, giving life and dying. Our assignment then becomes listening to the sounds around us, we have know other choice than to surrender before the rhythm of our universe, experiencing the lives we lead. We can all connect with the source that feeds us, but that cannot happen when our lives are filled with noise.
Do not fall for the myths the country has produced to make you a happy, overworked, underpaid, lonely competitor. The people that continue these myths are terrified to let them go because they wouldn’t be able to handle the reality of their choices. Romantic love has filled our screens and novels since cinema has been unable to create a authentic representation of our experience. We are in need of representation so true and genuine; we are forced to evaluate every aspect of our lives. I shall call this state of mind, revolutionary love. Love on the screen and in the ears of the youth has been immature, toxic, and self-sacrificing; by this I mean one person should not be making all the sacrifices and doing all the work in a relationship. This is the reason the generation is rejecting the experience of love. Children are limited by the lives their parents lead, so they are doing as children do, and this example is destroying their faith. I have listened to adults talk about how their belief in love left after their parents divorce during 20 years of marriage. We must learn to keep the faith in love.
This revolutionary love is an embracing of life’s contradictions and complexities, while working to unify the mosaic of life, allowing for alterations and new information to shift our being. This love is a nurturing of the soul, nurturance requires time and plenty patience, through releasing the ego and gaining humbleness. Love is not killing yourself in a act of revenge from the separation, platonic or intimate, sometimes the deepest pains are losing really close friends, of a relationship. Nor is it staying in abusive relationships to prove your commitment. This definition is an attempt for us to release division and learn to embrace someone’s complexity, if we are able to face our on complexity, then understanding someone else’s should not cause us so much terror or anger. If you can give yourself the grace to accept your insanity then taking that love to someone else will follow a similar, although new and just as difficult, path. This will require a maturity deep enough to throw off the shackles of our potential to reach a world opulent in wisdom and egalitarian in service.
The constant need to sell and buy gadgets, that are replaced before they even come out the box, lead to our perpetual self negation and debasement. If we are to become a people dedicated to the development of community; it will require a radical approach to every moment we live on earth. A change in our words, actions, routines, responses and self talk, bringing mindfulness, the moment you wake from your sleep. The children are seeing nothing produced from love. They only see the products of greed, envy, materialism, and competition disguised as passion. Anytime they see a loving couple it’s to sell them the formula for $9.99. The children must learn that becoming a millionaire is not the only means to an effective life, and true success is willing to be seen and heard. The adults in the country must take loving seriously, while that does sound contradictory, the lack of attention is exactly the reason so many of our loves crumble. I do not know if agape love and egalitarianism has ever ruled the world or existed outside a small minority of people, but I do know the effects of greed and corruption on the children. We move through a world of fever dreams idolizing the past, and we have literature left behind reflecting the same diseases. We have to heal from this fever or the world will remain sick. While I do not believe the earth will ever be a utopia. Without the work of dedicated lovers the world would just fall apart. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou, for example, all moved from a love of the world and faith in humanity.
What will they say about us when they excavate our ruins? There will be pictures of sleeping men and women, corporations reaching outer space and people on their phones during the revolution. There is life happening around us. That fact requires us to develop an intimacy with the inner self, so we can move into the paradise of sensations and love. Learning to walk alone is a requirement to spiritual development. This walk will require the strongest inner motivation to move toward a sense of pride and self enjoyment. This enjoying of the self will allow us to peel away the narcissism destroying our self esteem then our relationships. Walking alone is not pushing people away or attempting to avoid being apart of the world, but having the confidence to experience the life you have walked. It is much easier to live in hell; than ascend to heaven. Heaven is the act of not shying away from those monsters than terrify us; however, we create our imagination around memories of pain and love. Although, pain is often the memory we cling to more readily. To be scared of yourself is to shy away from your deepest love and live in a darkness of apathy and fantasy. We are not going to live forever, and the time we have must be used. Capitalism produced the myths of hyper-individualism fostering our sense of isolation and panic.
No one believes in the recreation of the world, but everyone has become a pseudo psychic with a third eye predicting doom. Secular disciples are repeating the failures of the church; replicating the financial greed and values that caused them to synagogues and mosques. We are following in the footsteps of Calvin, unfortunately, believing the connection to God is revealed through your bank account. The dominant messages in a country are always going to spread of the society’s dominant philosophy and myths. That is why even when we rebel against the country we still find our consciousness deeply entangled with the talons; believing ourselves to be further removed than our actual position. We do not meditate on peace, but on how good the money feels rising and descending through our veins. Dreaming of how perfect life would be if we never made a mistake, never got embarrassed, never assaulted, never had a family member overdose, never was hurt by someone you loved or wanted to love. Resenting your past will blunt the possibility of loving the present.
We can become a sangha, a Buddhist principles dedicated to building a community of buddhas, without borders consciously living with the knowledge that we are all brothers and sisters fighting a bloody other times bloodless revolution. The buddha was a revolutionary lover during his time. History has a way of weakening the lineage of leaders to make it more palatable for the people in power. We all know Martin Luther King was one of the strongest men to ever live, and anybody that doesn’t, see his bravery, has not dived into his letters on imperialism and colonialism. A sangha is a consciousness that recognizes the life and possibility in you without it being verbally spoken. You do not recruit people into a community, but you see everyone a reflection of your inner self. You are given the responsibility of living righteously even in your private life.
I started my sexual journey at the age of 13 with no intention, as the tantrics say, on becoming one with my partner. My desire was carnal and tainted with peer pressure from friends on their exploration. I remeber lying and claiming to have masturbated because I did not want to feel isolated amongst my peers. I was 12. Before my first consensual experience; I had a very long road of molestations and rapes. I knew nothing about escaping into sex or its exploitations; I was a child learning to swing his body. My escape, like most peoples, was unconscious and unintended but became a burden in my attempts to love. However, looking back, I needed sex because the older black boys become the less we are touched. Sex cultivated a space of both isolation and communion; then, a certain kind of safety. There is a reason the porn industry is worth a billion dollars, and it is not because of the plot, but that space created during masturbation is needed by people. Masturbation should not be the medium to fill that space, but we can only go so long without being touched. You cannot live a life filled with noise, so people find silence in drugs, sex, or masturbation. Sex creates a unique space between people. Because I am literally naked. Unable to hide behind any jewelry, accessories, or clothing; my history is laid out before you. The stretch marks, scars from childhood, the fear and confidence; the utter nakedness creates a space where nothing can be buried. Only the belief that you can hide hinders you from fully giving yourself to the other person.
When someone puts their hands on your chest and you feel yourself being accepted inside their body, softly, in that moment you learn about the way your body has been carried. The way its been neglected, dragged across floors, and taken before given the chance to become acquainted. The way you have been spanked and molested and scared and fallen on concrete. You suddenly remember the way it felt when your mother kissed your knee after falling down; or the gentle strokes of cotton balls, soggy with alcohol, gliding up and down gashes with blood rippling down. Then, the recognition of your pain with a kiss by your mother causes the scar to hurt a little less, it doesn’t take long to believe in the power of kisses; however, one day you become to old for kisses. When you give yourself to someone and they accept you it heals you; it is the presence that allows you to trust.
Living deeper is giving the world your time, and I do not mean purely human beings but going into nature and finding the beautiful around you. Living deeper is communing with the world and giving your energy to that space. Whether it is one minute or 10 days; use the time we are granted on this pale blue dot. Living deeper is the only solution to my generations apathy, loneliness, consumerism and distrust of the world. Our spiritual systems all seem to be an escape from facing the impermanence of life. We cannot continue repeating the failures of the Christian and Catholic powers. We will have to move away from anything that separates us and teaches a love amongst one another even in pointing out your corruption. This country has a lot of opiums, but we must remove the root of the pain. Only this can give our children a hand, or faith, in dealing with the growing apathy and loneliness happening around them.
As James Baldwin said, “You must understand that your pain is trivial except insofar as you can use it to connect with other people’s pain; and insofar as you can do that with your pain, you can be released from it, and then hopefully it works the other way around too; insofar as I can tell you what it is to suffer, perhaps I can help you to suffer less.”
― James Baldwin, The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings