People of the Moment

Posted: December 2, 2012 in Life, living, truth-telling
Tags: , , ,

Sometimes you just have to speak up.

The oldest social rule is:  “never talk about politics or religion”.

There’s a reason, obviously.  Both topics tend to bring out the ogres in so many of us.

Never has that been more evident than in the recent American election.  Liberals and conservatives were both guilty of demonizing each other.  I don’t mean mild condemnation either.  I mean full-out balls-to-the-wall judgement and condemnation.

The bright spot in all of it was the number of undecideds who adamantly refused to be pigeon-holed into one mindset or the other.

I suppose at one point I was just as prone to demonizing those who disagreed with me as anyone else.  So it’s not like I can claim purity here.

Eventually you get to realize that the world maybe isn’t as black and white as you thought.  Kind of scary, isn’t it?  Undependable.  You want your villains to wear black hats, and your good guys to wear white.   You detest those guys with the multi-coloured hats (what?  You expected grey?  Grey is muddled and muddy and undefined.  Rainbow – besides being indicative of gay – is a little more invigorating and alive)

Recently someone close to me has introduced a thinker named Miguel Ruiz – in a book entitled “The Mastery of Love”.   He talks about the fact that we are subject to a hell of a lot of guilt.  Unnecessary guilt.  It comes from so many sources too.  Religion is a big one:  both Catholic and Jewish children are subject to it.   Fundamentalist Christians (Baptists, some Pentecostalists) believe that we are born depraved and icky and pretty stinking awful and that it’s only through the grace of a benevolent being that we have any worth at all.  And those who don’t believe in that benevolent being are utterly lost and depraved forever.

It doesn’t matter if they hold love in their hearts for others.  Or if they indulge in charity or look out for strangers.   They’re lost and depraved and so very very icky.  Probably beat up their cats too.

The dichotomy of atheists’ loving attitudes and what we were taught about unbelievers always bugged me on a subliminal level.  I learned not to question it though:  my mind decided that a lot of deception was involved and so I likely wasn’t seeing them as they truly were.

My mind was right:  there *was* deception.  It was an innocent one though, and one based upon a lot of wrong assumptions.

Assumption #1:  that any one man or religion has all of the answers.

So not true.  I think the universe, or God or whatever you want to call it, has indeed created a force for curiosity.  It’s how we grow at all.  It’s how we progress in the sciences.  Curiosity – the nemesis of the complacent and rigidly correct intelligentsia.

I think that a true appreciation of reality will result in a humble realization that it’s not possible to know everything.  Such paucity of assuredness fertilizes the ground of curiosity and questing.   When your feet sink deep into the sod of uncertainty there’s a heightened expectation of wonder.  A “what’s next?” that keeps your heart racing.

Assumption #2:  that those who think differently have a devilish agenda.

This assumption is born from a belief – not a fact – that one’s experience is normal, usual.  And so anyone who’s had the same experience as us necessarily must have evolved the same way.  It’s that core.  It seems to be visceral to a great number of people.

What if you met someone who didn’t have any of those preconceptions?  What if you met someone who had joy and not a whit of judgement toward anyone else?  Someone who was excited and joyfully apprehensive, looking for something great to happen?  What if that person infected you with his or her excitement?

You wouldn’t judge him or her.  Neither would I.

In fact, you’ve met such a person.  I’m positive that you have.  I know I have too.  At the time I didn’t know whether to believe she was real.  Maybe there was a screw loose.  Who goes around so happy all the time?   But then I realized she was real.  He was real.  He was curious, so he asked questions.   And he/she invited me to the party.

I remember sitting with such people, late at night, in a condo, with the music playing quietly as we drank and talked.  It’s so clear in my mind:  the moment was magical.  It felt like anything could happen.  There were zero prejudgments about anything.  Judgement wasn’t even on the radar.  We were, in effect:  People of the Moment.

That’s certainly my desired end state, for all time.  I have no tolerance for intolerance.  *grin*

I think it’s a worthy goal.   What do you think?

  1. Karen Milliorn says:

    Oh, well done, indeed, Wolf! However, enlightenment (such as it is) is not a goal but a journey—& (if the Buddha is to be believed & I understand correctly) understanding that is in fact, found (not gotten, won, obtained, etc—maybe “become”?) —by leaving off the striving to “get it”. Remember the scripture that says, “Be still & know that I am God.”? (I cannot put my mind on the source—it may not even be a Bible verse—but the point is still valid: stop yammering, arguing, philosophizing, thinking too hard, trying too hard, & just BE!)
    I had the “soul-opening” experience a few years back of having one of the other docs—a female anesthesiologist, who was Jewish, come to me on Yom Kippur & apologize for having spoken sharply to me during an emergency surgery some months before! She felt she had been unnecessarily curt with me & had wronged me. I had completely forgotten the whole “incident”. (In quotation marks because it wasn’t an incident to me). I told her I had taken no offense & she was not to be concerned over it. I was so moved by her dedication to her faith & to the great sense that this ritual makes–if there is an issue between you & someone else, talk & clear it up, rather than letting it fester & cause damage to your relationship–what eminent sense that makes & how much better we’d all be–& so much lighter of spirit—with so much less emotional baggage to carry around with us!


    • wolfshades says:

      So good to hear from you Karen! You’re one of the people I admire: open, willing to learn, and willing to share of your wisdom.

      I emphatically agree with you about the journey dynamic. It almost seems ironic to say that if it were a single location – an arrival – I’d lose interest quickly. It seems that many of us aren’t built for stasis. Therefore the dynamic of passion is ever at odds with living “in the moment”. It’s a weird and curious dichotomy. Almost a logical fallacy. And maybe more enjoyable because of it.


  2. Karen Milliorn says:

    Life IS full of contradictions–just look at all our adages: practically every one has its opposite—“Many hands make light work.” BUT “Too many cooks spoil the soup!” Again, if we think too hard about it, we’ll drive ourselves right over the cliff—we have to recognize both the gravity & the silliness of it & keep a light heart. That way, when Osiris weighs it against that feather…..


  3. Karen Milliorn says:

    Hey, wolf—I’m having trouble accessing The Daily—can’t see anything but the “farewell letter” before I get kicked out again after a few seconds, even though I get update messages. Are you having the same problem?


    • wolfshades says:

      Hi Karen.

      Are you still unable to get past that page? I just saw your message now and was able to try it – I have no problem.

      Mind you over the last few days I’ve had that same problem occur in other parts of The Daily. Usually when it gets to a full page ad, and then it stops moving and kicks me out.


  4. I’m late to this party but I wanted to thank you for talking about the obvious. Discussing religion or politics is not something I can do. I am amazed at any blanket statement of “I’m right, you’re wrong”. Most times I’m not only wrong but I’m stupid too. Perhaps it is my life lessons or partly my age but I refuse to judge others so harshly. If someone is impossible to talk to I choose another path and try to communicate with those who offer mutual respect as I do. Life is truly too short to get your panties in a wad over things you cannot even change. I try to remember that each person is a product of “you know what you know when you know it”. All I can do is offer a new way of looking at an issue and then continue down a path with a purpose. Stopping on that path to argue with someone who is not even upset for the reason they think they are is a total waste of my time and theirs. Thank you for your wise words.


    • wolfshades says:

      Thanks for commenting Yvonne. I take the same path as you when encountering harsh people. Sometimes, if you’re lucky you get to have a peek into how they got there. Usually there are some harsh experiences at the core of their behaviour and almost always they’re only marginally aware of the effects on their behaviour, if at all.

      Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending) I find I’m too curious for my own good – and too prone to wanting to provide help where none is asked. There are subtle ways of doing that, and I’m fairly good at doing so. Sometimes. At other times, any kind of attempt at all is just an invitation to spiritual toxicity and it’s best just to go the other direction.


      • silverkatt says:

        My words come from a place of being that same person who helps when it isn’t necessarily wanted. I’m fairly good too but I got too comfortable in believing that some that can’t be helped wouldn’t harm me. I also wasted a lot of time.working hard to change something that couldn’t be changed while I could have helped many more that were waiting in line. I volunteer full time so I’m faced with this every day. I feel great compassion for the trauma that got them to where they are but I finally had to face that even I can’t save everyone. (I dreamed I could as a little girl) I look at it very much like my passion for saving animals. I can save some, maybe even a lot….but I can’t save them all.

        Thank you for your always very wise words Wolf. You are indeed one of the bright stars in the galaxy.


        • Karen Milliorn says:

          Yvonne—Great to see a fellow “rescuer”! I realized, that I, too “couldn’t save every one”! (be it critters or patients). Sometimes the most profound wisdom ends coming from the most unexpected places (how’s that for a non sequitur?—the first part was actually just greeting) I was cruising past the operating room front desk on my way home one day when I spotted a small framed drawing with a motto that piqued my interest. It showed some kind of gangly bird doing something—I forget what. What I DO remember is the motto, “BLESSED ARE THE FLEXIBLE, FOR THEY ARE SELOM BENT OUT OF SHAPE” It is simultaneously corny, but so true! There ought to be some sort of descriptive noun for it, along the lines of “oxymoron”, but I know of none.


          • wolfshades says:

            I like how you use the correct spelling of “piqued”. I’ve seen it spelled so many different ways. Usually “peaked”. Or “peeked”. *rolls eyes* I know – it’s petty of me, but damn it, I’ll own that peculiarity.

            There’s a blogger I follow who happens to be a cop. She tells wonderful stories but then uses the term “walla!” when she means “voila!” Drives me insane. (Note to that blogger: please don’t beat me up. I didn’t mention you by name, now did I?)

            I can be flexible about so many things. Horribly disfigured words ain’t one of them. : )


            • Karen Milliorn says:

              Wolf—I have to give credit for my vocabulary to a dead television! We had a TV for about 3 years in the mid 1950’s, but then it died & we couldn’t afford to have it repaired. It was in a lovely cherry wood cabinet with shutter-type doors that stayed in the family till after I got married (“There MUST be SOMETHING we can do with this—it’s such NICE wood!). With no TV to rot our brains, my sister (the “fallen-away” lawyer) & I became “wordies”—we made up word games & stories. We devoured books (although not as broad a spectrum of literature as I might have wished). I eventually ended up a philosophy/premed major in college & she in French/pre-law. We are the first in either side of our family to go to professional school & get a doctoral degree. I conclude (from our small uncontrolled case study) that less TV is a good thing!


          • I swear I’ve fought with my WordPress login forever. Now I’m showing up as silverkatt and that’s OK, you know who I am. Anyway I like that motto! It was a difficult day in my life when I realized that no matter what I did there would be many I just couldn’t help. Even with a clear vision of exactly what it would take…for some, familiar misery is often a more comfortable place than unfamiliar happiness. Once I figured that out I became much more efficient at rescue. Sign me flexible!


            • wolfshades says:

              I’m amazed at the number of people – even couples – who actually embrace their misery. Swear to God – one couple I know have kept their marriage together because of their shared misery. They seemed to hate each other (openly and behind closed doors) and yet stayed together in a stasis of verbal abusiveness and social horror, like a psychiatric experiment gone wrong. Learned my lesson early from them – and stayed right the hell away from them. *shudders*

              I suppose too you get to realizing early when someone is complaining because they want an answer, and when they’re grumping because they need to vent. No harm in the latter – I’ve done the same myself on the rare occasion. But it’s important to distinguish between the two before you go about wasting energy.


              • silverkatt says:

                I had a former family member (by marriage) who was raised in an incredibly dysfunctional situation. She was given a good job and a chance to pull herself up to a better place. She was not happy unless some kind of drama was in full gear. It was her comfort zone. She didn’t know how to be happy. It is amazing how some couples would rather remain in a dance of wounded souls because it is all they know. It isn’t until someone finally realizes that changing is less painful than not changing that some progress has a chance to happen,

                I remain grateful every day that I am able to rise and stay above the fray while I continue to feel compassion for those who don’t wish to join me.


                • wolfshades says:

                  Someone once said that we settle for the love we think we deserve. I think that’s true of a lot of relationships. We just don’t seem to have a good sense of our own worth sometimes. And I know of no other way to rectify that without some kind of therapy.


                  • silverkatt says:

                    We don’t have a good sense of our own worth. It is especially true when you have something about you that society in general looks down upon. After being obese for 30 years (and not for 11) I can tell you that some things are not easily rectified. I probably did more damage to myself than anyone else but even 11 years later I tend to fake being somewhat worthy because my outer shell qualifies for what I call “normie land”. I was one of the lucky ones that was freed from my prison and I hope to help many more do the same thing. Life is tough….no need to do things to make it tougher.


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