I have approximately 23,336 days today on my body’s odometer. Mind and body are showing a lot of road. As Leonard Cohen puts it: “I ache in the parts I used to play.” The bones ache, the gut aches, the brain aches. Everything leaks too! The contraption is always in the garage for repair. Maintenance is mostly On Demand; servicing needs are more frequent and in inverse to my ability to pay for them. Oh, and did I mention the heart aches? You don’t want to know, trust me! So what’s left after all this rubber on the road, that doesn’t ache?
Somewhere along the line – at about 22,000 miles, something fell off. Or started to fall off really, because this is sort of a falling off. A continuous loss. At first I thought it was just due to high mileage, you know. Some of our native aggression fades, the shocks from the bumps are absorbed with a knowing indifference. After all, we do get a little tired of pushing against gravity, time and circumstance; our machines develop some comfortable rattles and familiar creeks, what with all those twisted miles we’ve rolled along and through. We need to dream less too. Those rocky shoals with there crying sirens no longer need a closer inspection. It’s not that we’ve become cautious; we’re just less inclined to turn against the wind of experience that keeps us off those rocks. We don’t race up to those red lights like we used to either. Or move on so fast.
Life treats us like a dog some days; it says “stay” and we settle back on our haunches until it says “go”. Not “GO!” like it did at 8000 days, but a kinda slow go…ing. We’re wary, savvy, street worn. We’ve pretty much practiced and practiced for pretty much every “trick-of-the-eye” the wizard of life conjures. We know the old tricks, and have a suspicion we think of as healthy, to help us avoid learning new ones.
All that being said ( if not entirely agreed, no doubt due to your having a lot less mileage!) sometimes life won’t let us sit in our chair above it, dangling our toes in the water below. Sometimes, Chaos shoots a straight arrow, hits our bulls eye and drops us into a barrel full! And we fall deep into it! And we discover at bottom their is no bottom!
We take a bath in Truth. When you first get dumped into it, it’s damm cold. Damm cold! Then damm hot. Damm hot! Oh my God, the pain is exquisite! After a while, you see you can’t get out of it this time; you’re in deep and the water temperature begins to feel…necessary, if not always warm. So you go limp and float in Truths now gentle, now forced, embrace. Gradually you acclimate to this new wetness of reality and you realize that what you’ve always, always wanted is this happy bath! And once you get the “feel” of it, you see you can’t get out of Truth because it is who and what you are. And besides, where could you go that isn’t wet?
And so, like a refugee, you take up residence in reality, and watch this Perpetual Fall, falling away. And you see that, truth to tell, all men and all women want this very same bath, because it –and only it, can make them ultimately happy! In the words of Jean Klein: “What we desire is to be desireless.”
The desperate swimming to stay on the surface of our being, to have and to hold onto our illusions, simply stops. Cessation brings release, and release, freedom. Then –how’s this for a turnabout! –you’re back into that very same life (the one you never at any point actually left ) –back into the swim of all life, for the rest of your life.