This I Believe

Victoria - Dallas, Texas
Entered on February 25, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65


I believe the hardest thing, the supreme human challenge, is to tolerate the outrageous, piercing beauty of the present moment.

To let go of our narratives, my narrative – the fussy, irritating comfort of my he-said, she-said, they-did, I-felt, self-justifying story – to let my moats and walls dissolve into the blissful terror of oneness: There’s the rub.

Civilizations have been built and destroyed, are being built and destroyed, by the energy we absurd, glorious human animals expend trying to evade the present moment. That is what we call “life.” The beauty of the present we call “Heaven” or “Paradise,” and reserve for later, for after-life, for any time but now.

And me? I work and play and run and hide as doggedly as any – more so than many. So? Am I wretchedly deluded, am I fortune’s fool, to cling so doggedly to this hurly-burly we call life? No: I am human. Yes: I am human.

I believe that it’s all god. Everything we see, everything we don’t see. Everything we know and, most of all, everything we know we don’t know. You, me, Mother Teresa, and the most loathsome, low-down, dirtiest rotten scoundrel that ever was – fully human, fully divine.

I believe that evil is fear turned outward. The reason we human beings consistently do such petty, monstrous things to one another is that we’re scared. Personally, I don’t know which scares me most: the illusion that I’m separate and alone, or the reality that we’re all one. That’s funny, but it’s no joke. Life hurts, because fear hurts. It hurts like hell.

Which brings me to this: I believe that the things I avoid most diligently – loss and grief, decay and death – are the magic wormholes that can shoot me straight through the clotted, murky matter we call “reality” into the bright, clear spaciousness that is so real it can’t be named. You hurt me out of your fear, and my pain takes me to the very place I fear most, and it is so beautiful that I can’t bear to stay there. Go figure.

Finally, I believe that the beauty of the present is supportable – if only barely – because at some point, if we’re lucky, we get it that we’re all in this thing together. I can’t support the beauty of the present on my own, and I’m certainly not ready to live there. But I can visit now and again because when I do, I feel the touch of the millions of other souls, all over the planet, who have screwed up the courage to dip their toes into that endless, glittering ocean.

Once, a wise person invited me to listen to and write down the deepest wisdom of my own heart. What came was a sound but not language. The best I could do to put it into words was: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …