Hi! Surprised to see me? I am sort of surprised to see you too. I haven’t posted in well over a year in my musings. I guess my last post was deep enough to free me to focus a little time on other parts of my journey.
Man, it is a cool one.
The journey that is… it is cool journey. That is what I was referring to when I said “Man, it is a cool one”.
I celebrated by 30th anniversary to my wonderful wife this year. 30 years, hard to believe. It goes by so fast, it goes by so slow. But it definitely goes by. There is no stopping that.
And changes, they are about as steady as time. The one thing that is constant is change. Been a lot of changes since my spirit last called me to write here. Some of them seem good, some of them seem real bad. I guess only time will tell.
But life goes on. Until it doesn’t, and then it goes on for everyone else and we just don’t know what happens to you. We know the physical part, but we don’t know the spirit part, no not at all. Some of us pretend like we know what is out there. But shit!
We know nothing. And yet we let the stories we have been told lead us to war, and hate and violence. A lot of it in the name of religion. The stories we are told to teach us how to think, religion. The stories all tell us to love, but whenever I see hate out there, religion is right in there with it. Maybe not always, but near enough to always to count it.
If it isn’t stories, then it is something else stupid that we draw out to separate ourselves out from someone else. Color, nationality, what we do, or who we see. Something to make me think of you as different, so I can justify hating on you and loving on me.
What ever happened to we? What ever happened to you? What ever happened to me? What ever happened to we.
As I grow older I am given the opportunity to reflect on many of the mysteries of life. I walk a path that often changes my perspective on the world. Many times in my life I have found myself with thoughts that are completely contradictory to the thoughts of the younger me.
I once was an active poet, writing many poems of which I now have no recollection. But there is one poem that I wrote over 30 years ago that holds truer today than I could have ever imagined.
I used to laugh at people like me
Look at me now
I used to laugh at people like me
It was an early realization of the nature of my own human existence. A recognition that even as a teen I had changed my perspective on some of the big questions of life, and a glimpse into the ever evolving nature of me.
I no longer profess to have the answers, or even a clue about the answers to some of the questions that life presents us. The answers to questions of spirituality and existence elude me.
Why are we here?
What are we supposed to do in this life?
What happens when we die?
But these are the questions my mind finds its way back to again, and again, and again.
Now, as winter sets in, things slow down a little and nature hunkers down until it awakens again in spring. It is a time to think and plan for the coming seasons. My mind settles on the deeper things in life, like Peace, Love, Joy and of course my garden.
Let’s talk about those deeper things that have become a focus of my thoughts. They are not easy to explain, but we’ll keep it simple.
A lot of different meanings here.
Quiet and Tranquility.
Freedom from civil disturbance.
Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards humankind.
On an individual level, I can be at peace with a decision, or at peace with the world. In this way it is an acceptance of the world the way it is. But generally when we talk about peace, we are talking about something belonging to a community or collective.
It is easier to explain what it is not than what it is.
On the collective level, peace is the absence of violence, strife, … tension. I think of Peace as the collective decision to not violate “the others”.
Just because there isn’t war doesn’t mean there is peace. When I am violating or even threatening the tranquility of a community,
I am disturbing the peace.
Peace is illusive because it depends upon groups to get along.
Peace is a gift that we give to each other.
Peace is about We.
An intense feeling of deep affection. I think that love is the strongest, the deepest and the most profound aspect of our spiritual being. At least it is for me.
I was recently asked to define what I meant by love.
If I have to define love for you, this is a sad state of affairs indeed.
But as I thought about it, the closest I could come to defining love in my words was the bonding of two spirits.
There is the love of God, the love of another human, and the love for other creatures. The reality is that love doesn’t have to be reciprocated. I can love you and you not love me.
Under my definition you cannot love chocolate, ((but I love chocolate ))
though you may use that word to describe a deep affection. ((I love chocolate ))
And in my definition you cannot love yourself. ((that is Narcissism))
Or, self-love is the state of self-respect and caring for oneself.
Self-love is your spirit embracing and respecting itself.
I love you. You love me.
Ideally we both love each other. I give my love to you. Love is a thing that I give to you.
Love is about you.
A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Joy is the most transient, the most changeable and the quickest of the states we have discussed. Joy is a perspective, it is a conscious decision about how I am going to interpret and react to my circumstances.
The pure and simple delight in life and the world I live in.
Each day I make decisions about how I am going to proceed through the day.
Joy is a gift I give myself.
Joy is a gift you give yourself.
In that way, it is like a garden.
Plant kindness and understanding and Joy grows. Fertilize with Love and Peace, and Joy thrives. But you have got to pull the weeds.
Weeds take the energy that Joy needs to grow.
Dig out the hate to make room for joy.
Pull up jealousy and anger by the roots.
Don’t allow prejudice to invade the garden,
it is invasive and will choke out the joy
and may even spread to your neighbors.
Joy is a gift that I give myself
and it makes the world around me more beautiful.
Joy is about me.
We wish you all the joy of life,
but that of course is a decision that you have to make for yourself.
I think it was when We beat Them in the revolution
We mourned and celebrated our dead
We created a new society based on freedom and liberty and justice
We recognized and glorified the value of You and Me
And realized that our strength came from We
After We had beaten Them it was agreed that We would never be Them
We thought great thoughts and wrote them down as rules and laws
We built a great society
We valued You and Me
And We acted out of freedom and equality, for these are the things that We valued
I’m not sure when it began
I think it had been there all along
We slowly began to lose the way We valued You and Me
We forgot that our society was built on You and Me
We became We and They
And they acted a lot like Them.
For They there was no concern for We, only a focus on Me
They slowly took down the things that made the We society
They gathered great wealth and shut We out
They twisted the words that We used to speak
And here are some of the things that They did
They took away the ability to unite.
Because We can only prosper when it combines You and Me.
They sent the jobs overseas.
Because if I don’t have to pay You there is much more for Me
They found ways to buy representatives, officials and judges.
Because Now Government answers only to Me
They found ways to limit the Voting of We.
Because They didn’t want to hear the voice of We
They squandered our national resources and ran up great debt.
Because that allowed for collecting from We and giving to Me
They ignored the philosophies of freedom, liberty and justice.
Because They thought that those were not good for We, only for Me
They vilified ideas that were different from Me.
Because They thoughts are right thoughts so We thoughts can’t be
They attacked education.
Because We should not think.
And They got what they wanted
Because We did not speak
Along the way You and Me forgot that We could disagree
They grew angry and formed separate camps
They must think this way and They must think that
They are the left and They are the right
And stuck in the middle sit You and Me
I’m not sure when it began
I think it happened pretty quick
We remembered that We only exists with You and Me
We cried out to They, and They ignored We
We tried to restore the great society
And They fought it with every stride
They didn’t realize how much they had to lose
Because They didn’t know how much They had
They didn’t realize We had gotten so strong
Because for so long They focused only on Me
They seemed to think, that We were an inconvenience
Because focusing on We takes focus from Me
On the day the revolution began,
They grew angry, for
We didn’t have a permit for a revolution and
They felt We would interfere with their ability to enjoy the park
And They didn’t know that We had become Them!
And so the revolution began.
Kevin W. Tharp
Originally written Oct. 8, 2011 and posted to FaceBook. This version changes one line to make it clearer:
edited Version: “Because They thought that those were not good for We, only for Me”
original version: “Because those were not good for We, only for Me”