There But For ? Go I

When you think about what medical research is showing in terms of what actually causes genetic disease, syndromes of all sorts, it is pretty amazing.  One twinked protein out of however many zillion there are in the chain (we are nothing if not scientific with our wording around here) can generate cystic fibrosis, or a disorder that makes you chew your hands and lips off, eventual Alzheimer’s, or proclivities toward addiction, depression, sociopathy…all kinds of things.  Just one little tiny item in the entire matrix can make something huge happen, and it can’t readily be undone.  

Fate seems to work in a similar way at times.  Choices, being in X place at Y time; all the larger components of the world and the universe that act on us in ways we don’t necessarily recognize or understand.  There seems to be a giant swirling matrix of  “stuff” that we navigate by luck, or intuition, or who knows what?  Why are we in any particular “here” at any particular “now”? It can seem like a miracle that anything progresses at all.  Of course, when you look up at the sky, or into a tree in spring when the leaf sets are forming, or into the bud of a flower, or watch a small child or animal learn to navigate their world, you can also see that there IS a creative force there that carries all along with it.   Every raindrop, every grain of sand, every dust mote, every one of us: We’re all one but we’re all different.  So: We’re all in this together.

The thing of it is probably to trust.  Perhaps this is where faith comes in.  Not the faith that gets pushed at us by zealots of all stripes, which is to my mind more about fear than faith.  Do it our way or else.  Believe in what we say or you’ll be in trouble.   Faith that comes from experiencing the vastness of what we don’t know, of what’s all around us, our kinship with all that,  and finding a kind of peace in that, and an ability to more forward in the flow of time, is the kind of faith I’m thinking of.  The awareness that if, say, you visualize the world and everything and every being in it, as one big body? You’re maybe a hair? So does it make sense to fight with the scalp? No.

I really have been wondering about all this more than usual even, lately.  The recent murder of a small girl in Tracy, California made me think: How did the woman accused of this act get to where she is now?  Whether or not she committed this deed, what cosmic tweaked protein distorted her life?  What about all the people, all over the world, who through no real fault of their own wind up stuck in refugee camps?  Or mired in intractable poverty which puts them in situations, routinely, that verge on the unimaginable.  Or on the other end, those at the top of the pyramid.  How did they get THERE?

Another question is: How do you survive these things? Live with the tweak and the wound?  How do you live with people who have such major bends in their inner chains that they can’t be lived with? The serial killers, the abusers.  As well as, how do you live with Power?

  There is a Buddhist saying: Help those you think you cannot help.  In that help, however, you cannot destroy yourself, and this is where most of the learning has to take place.  Help, like love, is offered like air or sunshine.  It is kind of a function of unconditional love to want others to be whole and happy, and to work toward that by offering help.  But that help can’t be thrown away, and it can’t be given to something that destroys you in the process, or to something that will not receive it.

Still.  This ties in to societal causes in a way, because often everyone gets tarred with the same brush, as it were.  If you have a disability, you’re different, there’s no way to make money off you.  If you’re poor, you’re part of a seemingly necessary substrate for capitalism.  I’m thinking too about all the individuals who, through their life experiences, are hurt and wounded and damaged.  Maybe you can’t see that damage in someone who’s endured trauma or illness or poverty or any number of things and setbacks.  But it is there.  It can be healed but it cannot be cured.  This is what I’ve been realizing lately.  You may learn alot from what it takes to make yourself whole again, but you cannot go back to what you were.  It’s kind of like the quest for eternally youthful appearance.  You’re only 25 once this go round.  It is a waste of precious time and energy to spend succeeding minutes, days, years, trying to maintain that fleeting episode.  You can’t go back, but you can go forward.

I like to think this is possible in many ways.  Trauma and stress leave their marks and they are lasting.  But there is a way to understand what you’ve learned from the experience.  Not necessarily to know exactly what happened, but to know how YOU feel about it, and to also understand you have to take care of yourself and learn to, metaphorically, walk again.  Maybe the real task for us all is to develop our compassion and breadth of vision.  This is what leads to forgiveness, which to my mind  is actually a mixture of the faith referred to above, and letting go of what is past, like being 25 forever.  Perhaps a silly example.  Forgiveness doesn’t mean you let it happen again.  It just means you learn from what DID happen.  You can stop letting it take over your thoughts and behavior and feelings. It means you can help your fellow creatures in their travels and travails.  It means you can view the negative events through a broader lens, which means you have alot more space to get through them.

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