Saturday, August 17, 2013
you never know
This morning, I got up at 4 AM or so, awakened by the obnoxious whining of our small black cat Merwin, whose main missions in life are to wake us up at ungodly hours, and to perch himself on my keyboard while I'm trying to work on the computer, in that order. Merwin has consequently typed the numbers 582 in this post, which I am passing on to you just in case they have any esoteric significance.
After my usual coffee and a sitting, I was out the door with the famous dog Isabel before the sun came up. (Truth in advertising disclaimer: the photo on this post is yesterday's sunrise... the one that came with the birds flying out of the marsh. Today, it was cloudy.) A bat greeted me in the skies above the driveway; a rare sight, the first one this year — so many of them have died of white-nose syndrome.
A little further down towards the river, two screech owls traded calls. It was still dark; I climbed to the top of the Palisades in barely enough light to see the stones under my feet. All of this interests me; when I was a child, I was afraid of the dark, but this is one fear that doesn't seem worth much anymore. Even the thought of the cryptic black panthers that have been seen on a few occasions in the past few years stalking our end of Tallman State Park (probably escapees from some rich person's exotic menagerie in Sneden's Landing) didn't bother me too much.
In the darkness I was swallowing, I found myself contemplating fraud. Not the kind of fraud that we understand outwardly; no, the fraud that we make within ourselves.
Every human being is, I think, ultimately held to account for the nature of their own fraud; and for the lucky ones, this takes place before we die. If there is any reason to conduct an inner journey, it is to see this; on a journey to discover the truth in us, what we need to discover is actually the falsehood. Our inner fraud is in our very bones; and if our education lies in our sin, then fraud is our professor.
I often come up against my own fraud and see it in relationship to the world; to outer things, fraudulent representations, pretending to be one way when I'm actually another. As this impression deepens, however, as I penetrate further and further into the kernel of Being, I ultimately see that the fraud I commit is always fraud against myself, first. I can't, after all, get square with God unless I get square with myself; never mind the lies I tell all the other people. They do enough damage on their own; but the lies I tell myself go further. They do an inner damage. And, let's face it, lying to myself is so habitual I don't even notice it anymore. It's only if I wake up a little bit that I see it going on.
I'll leave that thought there, because it's as far as I got with it this morning, and I don't want to recycle it to push it any further.
Later today, the concept of fraud was not the front of my awareness. That sublime gravity that erases the flat landscape of my ordinary concerns arrived; and the world seems to stand still in these afternoons. Things are just as they are; life becomes still. It is as still, perhaps, as the morning in darkness, where the only thing that stirs is a single bat against the dark sky. There isn't any fraud here; there is just what is, and although one could argue that it is in fact completely empty, that emptiness is filled. Exactly what it is filled with, I couldn't say; life, perhaps, or something sent by God to keep company while I wait for the next flower to bloom.
It's the time of year when the katydids are active; every one of them a symphony unto themselves, a reminder of perfection. Their sound sinks into me in ways I don't understand; I become a vessel that receives it, and I'm grateful, even though I don't know why.
May your soul be filled with light.