Leave Your Baggage Unattended
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.” — Thomas Jefferson
Doreen Virtue threw me for one.
I had a conversation a couple weeks ago with a friend/client/whateves (same same), and during our chat we went spelunking about religion, spirituality, ‘woo-woo,’ and what’s true.
She informed me that The Hay House (Publishing Company) Darling, Doreen Virtue – prolific producer of New Age Books, Oracle Card Decks, and all-things angel – announced 2-ish years ago that she had ‘found Jesus,’ repented that she’d been unwittingly working for ‘The Enemy’, and was (for lack of a better or accurate description of her transformation) born again.
That freaked me out, and sent me down a YouTube rabbit hole of investigation into: “What’s going on with Doreen Virtue?”
Freaked-out, as in: “Does she know something I don’t know?” – Since I went from Jesus, to all-things spiritual, and back-again; and SHE went from all-things-spiritual, to Jesus…
Is the one-of-us who ‘has it wrong’ going to burn in the eternal fires of hell?
It’s as if we passed each other going in opposite directions on the highway that links the form and the formless of worship and religion, and waved.
Except the look on my face while waving was like seeing someone that you think you recognize, but the look says: “that couldn’t possibly be…”
Because I thought the highway only went in one direction.
I mean, I used to be the kind of person who thought:
“It’s really too bad that that cute little Shaman – even though he’s healing people and doing real magic – won’t be going to heaven because he wasn’t baptized in the Catholic Church.” And everyone KNOWS you can’t get into heaven with your original sin showing” (Duh.)
Then, about a decade ago, during a ceremony conducted by a Native American Medicine Man (that my conditioned breeding STILL feels cring-ie to describe as ‘mystical’) induced doubt into everything I’d previously thought was definitely true until that moment.
I soon found myself training under ‘Cheri the Shaman’ (her name was actually Cheri), and trying to work out the hierarchy of who I was now supposed to pray to:
“WTF?? Is there a protocol or hierarchy for this shit? Who exactly am I supposed to ask for help? Is it the grandmothers and grandfathers of the 4 directions? My spirit animal? My totem? The Ascended Masters? My Guardian Angels? My “Higher Self,” the “God Within?”
Dear Jesus, I hope not… because, as Alan Watts points out – how can it be that the one who needs to be improved is the one doing the improving? (and is it ok that Jesus is obviously my fall-back when praying about clarity on the hierarchy?)
So the other week, when Doreen was seemingly going down the wrong side of the highway back into form and intolerance, and “if you don’t do it this way you’ll burn for eternity,” because she’d finally read the Bible cover-to-cover and finally ‘GOT IT’ because “IT IS WRITTEN…”
I had a think about that…
The reason why they say at airports: “don’t leave your baggage unattended,” is because even well-intentioned humans can really screw things up, drop things in –
inadvertently, or because they have some shit they’d rather let YOU be caught with (“I swear, officer, there was no LSD in my bag when I left it to buy beef jerky at Hudson News”);
never-mind the CREEPS who are intending to do some real damage with guns and bombs and magic-store-itching-powder in the pilot’s knickers (when they’re the only ones with leverage of the baking soda antidote on the plane, because who brings baking soda on a plane?)
And that’s just in the short time at an airport, while you’re waiting with the rest of the schlubs who aren’t in the haut monde of ‘priority access,’ ’emerald,’ ‘gold,’ ‘diamond,’ diamond-elite,’ ‘platinum,’ ‘platinum-elite,’ ‘sparkly-rainbow-unicorn,’ and “you’re-just-old-you-can- board-now” clubs.
There’s no telling WHAT could’ve happened, over thousands of years, while the sacred texts from which ‘because-it-has-been-written’ came, have been left unattended by those who wrote ’em.
Re-translations; skewed editors that didn’t keep their ‘voice;’ mead stains; monarchs that asked: “could you not just put it this way for my 32nd wife, Mary XXVII?; itching powder, LSD, etc.
Point being… No one REALLY knows. Go ahead, try.
If I was making the “because-it-is-written argument,” the best counter to everything would be: “were you there?”
Because, if you weren’t, you don’t know.
You can have faith, sure.
You can abide by tradition, sure.
You can feel saved by The Word, and What is Written, and Jesus Christ, sure.
Maybe you’re right.
But all ll I’ve got from asking genuine questions about the ‘Old Way’ is: “It’s what The Catechism says.” Or: “Because it is written.” Or: “Faith.” Or: “Tradition.”
But I wasn’t there, so how can I really, honestly, undoubtedly, truthfully know that what has been written, or what has been ‘passed-on,’ is true?
I wasn’t taught-and-told by the direct witnesses to that sacred schizzle, so how can I be certain that living a life of rules, and protocols, and ‘Thou Shalts,’ and (at best) pity, and (middling) preaching my way, and (at worst) intolerance – which seems really sucky – is the way to go?
(I know, there’s a lot of question marks in this account, it’s Doreen Virtue’s fault.)
When I was a really little kid, I asked my dad: “How can people go to hell forever when it’s not their fault that they don’t know? How can they go to hell for not being baptized if they didn’t know that they were supposed to be? How can little babies, or people in tribes and stuff that have never heard of Jesus, but are really good people doing the best they know, go to hell because they didn’t even know they were supposed to be baptized, or go to confession, or receive Holy Communion?”
The answer: “Faith. Tradition. Belief. The Catechism says so.”
Just to put it out there – my dad is THE BEST man I know, and has SO MUCH credit. No matter what I learn, or how I grow, there will always be a titch of doubt because he has so obviously gotten ‘a life well lived,’ right.
BUT – aren’t you innocent for smiling with kale in your teeth if nobody told you it was there?
Anyway – it’s obvious that I could go on about this, but in summary: I don’t know what’s true.
So I find myself having to just trust the people that really seem too — The people who, when they speak about the thing that’s alive in them, it wakes that thing up in me.
And when that thing wakes up in me, I find myself thinking or saying things like:
I always wondered about that…
Or, I always knew that was true…
Or, I knew that was true when I was a kid, until everybody told me it wasn’t.
Now, by spinning these words am I somehow being, as Doreen Virtue says she was: “manipulated by dark forces and working for ‘The Enemy’?
I mean, a friend just sent me a quote with a note saying: “This reminds me of you”:
“Lead me not into temptation. Oh who am I fucking kidding? Follow me, I know a shortcut.“
(AWESOME. If you want the long-short version, you can stop now and go on about your day.)
Will I burn in the eternal fires of hell for doubting “what is written?”
But I feel like the more I fill myself up, the less I do the things I’m supposedly not supposed to do, effortlessly, independently of whether or not ‘it is written’ …
Like, when I’m already feeling full, I don’t tend to covet my neighbor’s shit.
And when I’m feeling really full – like when I’m walking my dog, or hanging out in nature or with friends with like-minds, I’m not inclined to worship or give thanks to anything other than God.
Why would I leave the peace and freedom I have right now – to DO, or TRY, or worship something else to gain peace when I’ve already got it?
And when I live from that place, every day is The Sabbath.
And I speak to my mother and father in gentle, loving, patient tones, because I’m already home – I don’t need them to SEE MY WAY OF IT in order to honor and love them.
And lying to anyone? Especially myself. It feels like itching powder to my nervous system. It’s definitely worse than getting caught doing anything that I’m trying to cover up with a lie, so I figure – might as well get on with it.
And murder? I catch-and-release any bug in my house.
Wait, I just lied. I do still weald a rolled up magazine to fell flies like Aragorn takes the Sword of Andúril to Orcs (slight “Lord of the Rings” reference.) But that’s only because they’re the spawn of Satan.
People who have enlightenment experiences only stay that way because there aren’t any flies in their houses.
And when we have to feed our pet python, “King,” live rats… I just keep repeating the mantra: “circle of life,” “circle of life,” as I hear “THUMP!”” SQEEEEEEK!” “Ca-RUNCH!” from inside the feeding box .
So maybe a titch of murder, but only flies and facilitated python food.
Even things like giving vs. sacrifice…
The old way rewarded constant “sacrifice.” And what I’ve found that’s true is sacrifice comes from lack… Like feeling you’re gonna lack heaven, “so you’d better…”
Altruism comes from overflowing. You have so much to give of your time and abundance, that you not only want to give to others, but you get even more in doing so. Same actions – TOTALLY different feeling and momentum. I can be altruistic forever, and it fuels me to do more.
When I ‘sacrifice,’ as instructed, I’m drained.
Point being, I’m going to keep trying to become more full of mySELF (capital S), because that’s what seems to make me live more naturally from a place of kindness, gentleness, and goodness; because the other way – the little ‘s’ way – was from a place of being afraid most of the time, and I don’t want to be afraid all-the-time anymore.
The ‘old way’ was much simpler in its complexity of rules regulations that determined where i was going when I died, or in the protocol of how and to whom to pray to get the stuff I was asking for – even when I rarely did.
These days everything seems so up for grabs, unknown and uncertain. That it’s terribly frightening, and incredibly exciting all in the same space, all the time.
Despite Doreen Virtue’s reversal, it seems I’ll never be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube – and at the same time, even that knowing is up-for-grabs.
For now I suppose swimming in the toothpaste goo is all any of us can do – until we’re so inclined to brush our teeth…
For now, I will live by the ONE THING that I KNOW is true: When I allow (slashes coming to accommodate your word for it…): God/Nature/Jesus (my man)/Shakti/The ‘Ground of Being’/The Energy Behind All Things/Mind/Whateves to MOVE MY BONES… I live FROM a place of kindness and goodness and altruism (and hilarity – had to put that in there, ’cause it’s freaking funny.)
Whether it’s sacred texts or airport baggage – the ONE THNG that I absolutely know is true – I don’t need “what is written” to tell me what I was born with:
when I find my way home, all boats rise with the tide – no matter what their religious, spiritual, or woo-woo delineation.
So in spite the admonition of Doreen Virue, and airports around the globe – without fear, I will be leaving my baggage unattended.