Thursday, November 02, 2006

Meditation: Manifesto

I do not want to be that man.

The one who sleepwalks through his life, who is blind to the people around him, who answers the phone expecting bad news.

I do not want to be the Hollow Man, "headpiece filled with straw."[1]

I have walked a thousand steps only to see what is around the next corner, and the next, and a thousand more to see what might be hiding behind that tree, what might lie over the ridge. I have followed deer trails into oblivion simply because some need compelled me to hands and knees through the brush and thickets, over fallen trees and through cold streams.

I crave the colors of autumn, the crisp scent of woodsmoke on a fog-bound rainy morning. I need the hot cup of coffee and the sweater as I sit there in the cold and savor that incredible scent.

I don't want anything less than the quest. The search that consumes and transforms.

I refuse a life of quiet resignation. And I do not desire fame or prestige. I want meaning.

I will not be my father, or his father, or any of the fathers in my family. And I will not become a father. This DNA line dies with me. This family tree will be killed at the root, dug up and burned for warmth on a cold December morning. I will toast marshmallows in the flames and it will be good.

This body is not a temple, or a shrine, or a marker holding space for something unseen and unknown. This body is a tool for this brain, for this heart, for this soul that no one can prove exists but is more real than anything else I have ever known.

I have pushed more weight than my body could hold simply to test my limits, to see if there are limits, and then to break them. I have seen places within the psyche where only very strong chemicals can take a person. I have explored the terrain, have become a raven and flown over oceans. I have wrestled a bear that was really my dead father. And I have returned to tell what I have seen.

I am not that man some have thought me to be. I am much less and sometimes more and seldom of the same name.

There are openings, doorways that lead through a life and into other possibilities. I seek those passages. I seek to be transformed into one of those openings. I seek seeking.

What else is there but the hope for transformation, for transfiguration, for transience?

In the blink of an eye a lifetime comes and goes. Ashes to ashes. We are born for more than making babies and waste. And we lack the capacity to see ourselves truly, to see that we are not at all real, solid, or here. And so we are. Right now. There is no other time.

What do you want to do with your life? Who do you not want to be? What are you doing to make that happen? Anything? Are you there?

[1] From "The Hollow Men," by T.S. Eliot

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