I dropped my homeopathic headache medicine on the floor of the lavatory en route to Beijing from San Diego via Los Angeles via Tokyo.
As I bent over to retrieve the pill from the rancid, speckled floor of the latrine, I whispered to myself the magic phrase that somehow makes it safe to ingest something that’s been on the ground.
God made dirt & dirt don’t hurt.
But my mind kept on.
If God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt,
how come humans can be such a-holes?
I unfurled my spine from the amazing forward bend I’d maneuvered in the tiny airplane bathroom and squinted at my haggard self in the mirror, eyes sensitive to the light, hair amuck, follicles hurting if I pushed them in opposing directions. I felt awful. Still, there’s something about lavatory lighting and perhaps being so close to the mirror that somehow makes my in-flight ruggedness appear admirably handsome, the way unshaven actors on the covers of magazines make you want to be them, or do them.
Before a long flight I like to play hard in hopes of being able to pass out when I need to. Time zones are for wimps, or people who agree with punctuality, or people who watch television and live in the central/mountain zone. I am none of those. Nevertheless, on this flight I was suffering a migraine, due either to airplane peanut dehydration, playing hard in the yard the previous night, me against the aphids in the bio-war zone that is my garden, or allowing my mind to weigh too heavily on the plight of humankind. It was probably D, all of the above.
Throughout my travels to highfalutin cities, hippy communities, third world countries, and myriad meaning-of-life seminars, I’ve met lots of interesting people, many of whom are trying to saving their world and many who just don’t give a shit. And I say that fairly, because our modern life is a surprisingly stuck chapter and most of us have few options. This sounds pessimistic, considering there’s a universe inside of each of us, capable of the most extraordinary things. But consider for a moment the fact that in today’s world, money = survival. Not food or water, but money. Why? Because food and water are behind lock and key and only money (or guns) can open it. Therefore, so long as food and water are locked up, there will always be war. Always. And there will always be famine. And poverty. And somehow we’re all okay with that, so long as there’s money to be made. We just shrug and assume this is how life is supposed to go. I think most of us play along because a) it feels like a game or b) we watch too much tv/porn to care, or c) it’s been going on for so long, it’s not really our fault nor problem to deal with so who wants fries? or d) all of the above.
Man’s obvious dominance has been occurring since the agricultural revolution more than 10,000 years ago. As someone who dabbles in farming, I can understand the theory that suggests the same season we discovered farming was the same season we added property lines and fences to protect the fruits and vegetables of our labor. The hunter-gatherer days were behind us from then on, and stock piling resources became the path to each family’s survival. Earning a wage to pay for food, or land, meant our lords were no longer nature itself, but other humans. And if animals wanted to eat our food, we’d just kill them. But if the animal IS food, we’d lock them up and help them multiply. Farming really showed off our true speciesism and the human population has exploded exponentially ever since.
But I have a new feeling humans made themselves separate long before we walled ourselves off and starting killing to protect. I recently heard an amazing idea that inspires and scares the hell out of me at the same time. That idea is de-evolution. As in, man’s fall from grace. This is where man decided he was separate from God, or the Life Force, or the Sun and the Earth if you will. Atheists can play along with this idea too. For man began saying, I can do this on my own. God is up there. I am down here. Mythical Adam and Eve are a common version of this story; two beings of light suddenly find themselves on Earth in human form, dense and material, a de-evolved version from their prior angelic, illuminated selves. And perhaps out of fear, or upset, they invented ego and declared, We got this. We don’t need God. We’ve got each other. We’ve got penises and vaginas and free will! Literally solidifying the humanness, digging us deeper into the density of our existence.
And in that moment, they forgot they were made of the same stuff as the stars, and all the basic elements of Earth. And we’ve been riding that wave as murderous, over-consuming, hoarders ever since.
Now, I’m not sure when and if there was one exact moment when that fall actually occurred. Was it centuries ago? The modern human is more than 100,000 years old after all. That’s a long time to co-exist with nature. Or maybe time is irrelevant and the fall from grace occurs in all of us every morning when we return to our heavy, rigid bodies from the expanded, weightless place we go in our sleep. Perhaps redemption is as easy as remembering that we are all beings of light; remarking at how each atom in us contains the very light that fuels creation itself. If this is remotely true and there is lightning to be harnessed within, then perhaps our modern story isn’t one of doom and gloom after all. We just need be the weightless wonder of sleep and awake at the same time.
Perhaps this kind of thinking is why I’ve had a headache. But having the headache gave me a great opportunity to test the theory that suffering and/or boredom in the modern world can end with the flip of an internal switch.
I returned to my fancy airplane seat, designed to stow lots of baggage, bottles and magazines, and I closed my eyes, relaxing my forehead where the migraine pressure was. From the darkness blinked and blipped lines and spots in and out of existence; fractals of light and various color patterns which appeared to be neither close nor far. The darkness of space that exists behind closed eyes offers little scale. Inner space may as well be outer space. At first, I think I’m looking into a vacant cavern where an active brain should be taking up residence, but I don’t ponder that thought for too long. I do my best to stop thinking altogether. I do this by first focusing on my breath. In and then out. In and then out. If my mind wanders I come back to the in and then out. Rinse and repeat. After only a few minutes I can focus on the stars and laser lines shining on the backs of my eyelids. I recall from an old Deepak Chopra meditation CD to use blue light as a healing energy. I focus my thoughts on two words, blue and light. With a relaxed body I watch, with my eyes closed, all the bright colors transform to blue. Almost instantaneously my headache starts to diminish. After a few more minutes in the presence of this magnificent light, my headache is gone. Magic. Then again, I did eat a homeopathic headache pill from off the floor of the airplane toilet.
My friend Jerry calls this doing, and anything related to Spirit, Yoga, or Veganism, Hocus-Pocus. It’s actually a good overall term for it because the benefits one receives from the practices don’t come from money, they come from the nature within us, or the divine, and that’s just plain magic in my journal. And feeling good without material want or need is proof that we ARE higher than we are led to believe. Humans aren’t a-holes by nature. A-holeness is a bi-product of a) not wanting to do the work, b) hoping that our money or weapons will do the heavy lifting for us, c) assuming we’re separate from each other, and d) making multiple choice lists.
I don’t really know what’s in store for the humans, but the outlook is… different. I wish I could say the outlook is grim, but I prefer to leave doomsday out of it. Regardless, every day we drill for more oil, kill for more resources, and blow people up just to get attention. We still build our homes of wood which we all know has to be replaced every 30-50 years, usually around the time you’ve paid off your mortgage. We still eat loads of genetically modified and chemically sprayed foods, and because anything from nature can’t be patented, our medicines are synthetic in order for the economy to be stimulated.
Sadly, I predict it’s only going to get worse before it gets better; that being the weather, wars, famine, poverty, you name it, which is why sustainability is the second best thing we can be studying right now. The first being cooperation. I enjoy dabbling in food production, energy and water harvesting, and tree planting. I like to imagine there are creatures hundreds of years from now napping under the shade of a tree I planted, drinking clean water I helped protect. I may be long gone from Earth, or maybe I’ll be reincarnated as that very creature, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll finally have a solid belief system by then. Or not. Beliefs don’t equal survival either. If anything, certainty of one’s beliefs only leads to bickering. (and that I am certain.) See any thread of online news comments, or even the comments to follow this lengthy labyrinth of an op-ed for proof. But whether I think my glass is half full or half empty, which varies almost daily, I’m just glad there’s still something in the glass to drink. I’ve got pills to swallow after all. And toasts to make.
To the a-holes!
May we not shit on each other.
Posted with jet lag, ironically from the financial district, Beijing, China