I wrote the below three years ago before picking back up the blog. The new about page is darker and less certain, and can offer a cautionary tale against picking at the loose thread of existence, consciousness, meaning, cosmos. It’s not just a beautiful dream of oneness, but a chaotic, unfriendly, and downright hostile place many times. Nonsense reigns and our stories are getting increasingly worn and useless the more we learn about our place in the universe.
Once Upon About
Curiosity ends the moment you decide you’ve figured out what “it” is.
But “it” is too big to figure out, to solve, and to decide upon. And as natural and human our tendency to define and solidify is, it also keeps us from asking more, and seeing more.
If you decide the forest is an oak forest, you may come across a maple and never see it, or worse, tell it that it is—it must be—an oak.
Certainty keeps us from seeing more. As Paul Simon said, “A man will hear what he wants to hear and disregard the rest.” So here’s to hearing it all, the beauty, the ugliness, the right and the wrong, the light and the dark, to breathing the whole of it in, and finding there is no corner dark enough to keep out the Beloved. We live this life fully when we no longer push or pull at it, but witness it and ourselves within it, when we remember, “let everything happen to you.”
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
—Rainer Marie Rilke, Book of Hours, I59
I’m Valerie, a follower of Christ. I was raised Mormon and am inspired by its view of eternity, matter and cosmos. I am friends with the Buddha and am healed by the power of the present moment and acceptance of things as they are. I am a huge fan of Sufi and Islamic poetry and share the embrace of Rumi’s beloved. I am deeply moved by Catholic art, architecture and music—I see the connections between all of us as part of the great I AM, and feel that our sectarianism and separation from one another as an illusion. That we are leaves on the same tree, and that we feed the tree and the tree feeds us, as we live in its branches, and as we die at its root.
Our division is at odds with all the major world religious traditions which are founded on love and compassion.
I believe firmly that our sense of separation from one another is merely ignorance—that we and our world are one, that one impacts all, and it is simply our ignorance of this that causes us to act out of separation, which furthers our illusion of separation. We can act with acceptance of this underlying authentic unity or act in ignorance of it—dividing us all up between the right and wrong, the wicked and the righteous, the us and the them.
But nonetheless, we are all already one. It is there to be accepted and felt, and remembering it changes everything. It is only our fear, doubt and struggle against this reality that creates all this pain—the pain we ironically point to when defending the reality of separation.
Curious wonder is just that—a curious attempt to discover and uncover and wonder at what is—the I AM.
Isn’t that nice? I still both slightly agree with (and am slightly nauseated by) some of the items above, but not many, thus the need for a rewrite. Most of all am pretty embarrassed by that level of naive, self-righteous certainty coming from someone so soon after a faith transition (that it almost looks like someone was uncomfortable with the freefall and was grasping at comfort in cosmic unity).
It’s also interesting to me that as late as 2015 I am coming to bat for Religion still, whereas now for me, Religion has completed the unholy trinity of “Brokers”—Religion, Commerce, and the State—human organizations who consolidate power and control by selling humans things that could be had for free if only people would cut out the Brokers, ironically.
Whatever your State, Religion, or role in the Capitalist machine, it is developmentally appropriate for humans to assume their birth ideology definitely is the correct one out of the global pool of ideologies. But at some point, that same development forces the realization that that our societal structures and systems are not “correct” simply because they have lasted, or because they have attracted more believers over the centuries, or because we ourselves are born into it. Our human organizations (State, Commerce and Religion) are mostly outdated, flawed, biased, and holding on to power that information and technology has made or is currently making obsolete.