The Law of Oops shakes the hell out of our tree of beautiful beliefs! We totter and tremble when it happens; the beliefs we cling to fall, gently or heavily, to the earth below. It’s a mercy-less mercy, a powerful de-composing of this tree we call “me”. Many of the very notions that we think are “real and true” now lie, dry and yellowed, on the ground of our being. The occasion can be just a trembler in which nothing too real is lost, or it can be devastating –indeed, “short, sharp and brutal!” A 9.8! Whatever the Richter scales’ magnitude, whenever it occurs, this Falling is always the same. First the painful gasp as we lose our grasp; then the long, long, eternally long, desperate dying whisper as yet another closely held belief spirals down and out of our control, followed by a certain sighing thud –a sudden drop dead deadness.
The beliefs we’re most attached to often fall last and heaviest, ripped away not by the earthquakes they somehow survived, but by a feathery light breeze whose gentle prodding happens just when we are vulnerable. Usually only when we are bare and exposed. Open.
So that’s the Law of Oops! It’s accidental and indiscriminate nature is well known to most of us, though it seems to happen with increased frequency and severity to those mighty oaks that, willingly or not, have courted it. General warning indicators for its occurrence include everything from welcomed surprises to unwelcomed shocks; from minor illusions to major delusions. But they all have one thing in common – Desire.
The term “desire” –de-sidere, means “away from your star.” Behind and beneath all our beliefs is a desire for something to take us away from our “star” –our beingness; our existence in and as this, here and now.
Our collection of beliefs is assembled as very young children growing up surrounded by illusions. We exchange our birthright of pure awareness for a set of personal beliefs because a naturally “human” desire innocently arises to proclaim the end of a non-personal babyhood. From desireless being, an “I am ______” ( fill in the blank ) created by thought emerges. We desire no longer
simply to be, but to do. We adopt and adapt a growing sense of “self” to form an individual entity we call “me”. To quote the Indian sage Balsekar:
“ We project an individual entity, a “self” into our actions because then we can account for the way our actions seem to have a continuity although, in fact, they are merely fragmentary perceptions.”
This newly minted “self” creation is given an identity, a name and an address where it can be found in our head. Memory is the storehouse for all the assembled bits of data and connected feelings called “me” and “mine”.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in a letter to B.P. Blood, wrote of this subtle transition:
“ A kind of waking trance I have frequently had quite up from childhood when I have been alone. This has generally come upon me through repeating my name two or three times to myself silently until all at once, as it were out of the intensity of consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this is not a confused state, but the clearest of the clear, the surest of the sure, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was almost a laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but only true life.”
Our tree of branching desires grows our beliefs. The winter – falling of our beliefs reveals that which we are, have always been, and always will be.
Oops! it turns out, is just another word for the falling away of Hope…and the spring – budding of Grace!