Week of October 17th, 2019

Being in Love with Your Life

What if there's no contradiction between being your idiosyncratic self in love with your life and serving others with the best gifts you have to give?

What if exploring your inner world to activate your personal genius dovetails perfectly with fighting to recreate the soulless culture we're embedded in?

What if working on your own salvation makes you a more effective force in liberating others from their suffering?


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WE'RE ALL FAMILY

Quoting geneticists, Guy Murchie says we're all family. You have at least a million relatives as close as tenth cousin, and no one on Earth is any further removed than your fiftieth cousin.

Murchie also describes our kinship through an analysis of how deeply we share the air. With each breath, you take into your body 10 sextillion atoms, and—owing to the wind's ceaseless circulation—over a year's time you have intimate relations with oxygen molecules exhaled by every person alive, as well as by everyone who ever lived.

Right now you may be carrying atoms that were once inside the lungs of Malcolm X, Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, and Cleopatra.


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EXPERIMENTS

Be tastefully crazy and gracefully racy,
walk sleek and lithe like a supernatural champion,
think chunky and sing funky,
dream upside-down and breathe inside-out,
laugh incorrectly and change everything you look at,
be a wonder-plucker and a thunder-sucker,
expunge guilt with a tender vengeance
and erase shame like a legendary joker,
do no harm and take no shit


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PRIMAL LONGING

Recently I wrote about the pleasures that can come from cultivating a robust relationship with one’s primal longing. "What is a 'primal longing' exactly?" a reader asked me.

I replied: Your primal longing is the deepest yearning you have; the essential desire that brought you here to earth; the reason why you're alive; the goal that's most important for you to strive for this lifetime; your core driving force.


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FAKE ENLIGHTENMENT

If your quest for spiritual enlightenment doesn't enhance your ability to witness and heal the suffering of your fellow humans, then it's fake enlightenment.


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SEVEN BILLION, 700 MILLION RELIGIONS

There is no God. God is dead. God is a drug for people who aren't very smart. God is an illusion sold to dupes by money-hungry religions. God is a right-wing conspiracy. God is an infantile fantasy favored by superstitious cowards who can't face life's existential meaninglessness.

JUST KIDDING! The truth is, anyone who says he or she knows what God is or isn't, doesn't really know.

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What if the Creator is like the poet Rainer Maria Rilke's God: "like a webbing made of a hundred roots, that drink in silence"? What if the Source of All Life inhabits both the dark and the light, heals with strange splendor as much as with sweet insight, is hermaphroditic and omnisexual?

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What if the Source loves to give you riddles that push you past the boundaries of your understanding, forcing you to change the ways you think about everything? What if, as Rusty Morrison speculates in Poetry Flash, "the sublime can only be glimpsed by pressing through fear's boundary, beyond one's previous conceptions of the beautiful"?

Close your eyes and imagine you can sense the presence of this tender, marvelous, difficult, entertaining intelligence.

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In "Letters to a Young Poet," Rilke urged an aspiring bard to change the way he imagined the Supreme Being. "Why don't you conceive of God as an ally who is coming," Rilke said, "who has been approaching since time began, the one who will someday arrive, the fruit of a tree whose leaves we are? Why not project his birth into the future, and live your life as an excruciating and lyrical moment in the history of a prodigious pregnancy?"

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Philosopher Robert Anton Wilson proposed that the single greatest contribution to world peace would come from there being over seven billion different religions—a unique spiritual path for each person on the planet. The Beauty and Truth Lab urges you to get started on doing your part to make this happen. What will your religion be called? What rituals will you perform? Write down your three core tenets.

You'll also need a new name for the Creator. "God" and "Goddess" have been so overused and abused that most of us are numb to them. And given the spiritual opportunities that will open up for you as you explore pronoia, you can't afford to have an impaired sensitivity toward the Great Mystery.

Here's an idea to stimulate your search: The Russian word for God is "Bog." The Basques call the Supreme Being "Jingo." To purge your psychic dockets of built-up fixations about deity, you might try singing improvisational prayers to "Jingo Bog."

Here are a few other fresh names to inspire you:

Blooming HaHa
Divine Wow
Whirl-Zap­Gush
Sublime Cackler
Chthonic Riddler

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Read more of these excerpts from my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia:

Or buy the book. It's available at Amazon and Powells.


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Forbidden knowledge & illegal truth

Defiant compassion & outlaw gratitude

Friendly shocks & fertile chaos

Sacred transgression & tumultuous beauty

Spiritual anarchy & liberated morality

Joyful wrath, adoring pranks, & taboo justice

Outrageous prayers & tender apocalypses

Venerable violations & seething exaltations

Zen pride & redemptive charisma

Unopinionated perceptions & shrewd innocence

Flagrant exaltation & notorious lucidity

Fanatical balance & insane poise

Rigorous flexibility & robust humility

Militant ecstasy & raucous resonance

Shadowy clarity & illuminating ambiguity

Open-hearted rage & luminous teasing

Mystical activism & crazy logic

Devout breakdowns & restorative deviance

Radical curiosity, fierce inquiry, & voracious listening


(The above is excerpted from the Chaos Magick manual disguised as a self-help book, Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia. It's available at Amazon and Powells.)



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The only appropriate state of the mind is surprise

The universe is, instant by instant, recreated anew. There is in truth no past, only a memory of the past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.

—Terry Pratchett


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THE HEALING JOY OF ADMIRATION

“Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough." So said Vincent van Gogh.

Admiring people who are worthy of our admiration doesn't cost us anything. Same with admiring animals and plants and natural phenomena: no pain involved. Same with admiring great accomplishments by our fellow humans: no agony or agitation required.

I'll go so far as to say that feeling and expressing admiration is a joyful form of healing.


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ENDLESS TRASNFORMATION

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.

—John Muir

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When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.

—John Muir


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BE WHOLLY ATTENTIVE

At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening.

—Annie Dillard


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BEAUTY AND GRACE

The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.

—Annie Dillard


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THE WISDOM OF GENEROSITY

The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

—Annie Dillard


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"A good song reminds us what we're fighting for," said Pete Seeger. So here's a good song by Rising Appalachia


Here's another good song by Rising Appalachia


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WHAT WE'RE HERE FOR

We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us.

—Annie Dillard


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EARTH SEX

In the belly of the furnace of creativity is a sexual fire; the flames twine about each other in fear and delight. The same sort of coiling, at a cooler, slower pace, is what the life of this planet looks like. The enormous spirals of typhoons, the twists and turns of mountain ranges and gorges, the waves and the deep ocean currents—a dragonlike writhing.

—Gary Snyder


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HOPE SPRINGS UP

Hope has never trickled down, it has always sprung up.

—Naomi Klein


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In the eternal youth of Nature, you may renew your own.

—John Muir


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The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.

—Pete Seeger


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WE ARE THE SUN

The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing.

The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.

—John Muir


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LOVE KEEPS COMING

I invite you to meditate on the relentlessness of your yearnings to give love and receive love.

Recognize the fact that your urge to merge will never leave you in peace, will never allow you to remain static, will always ask you to outgrow and transcend the current version of You.

Accept that your yearnings to blend your fate with the fates of others will forever torment you, delight you, bewilder you, and inspire you.

Understand that your desire for intimate connection will just keep coming and coming and coming, teaching you new secrets and keeping you creatively off-balance and stimulating you to constantly revise your ideas about who you are and what you purpose is .


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THE JOYS OF TEARS

It's life-affirming to cry when you're sad about your life. There are many other good reasons to cry, too.

Have you ever burst into tears after having a sudden rush of insight into a nagging problem?

If you traveled to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and stood in front of the artist's paintings, chances are you would sob in appreciation for the raw beauty.

I have a friend who regards her crying spells as surrogate orgasms. They bring a surging release of pent-up emotions, and leave her deeply relaxed and in love with life.

NASA's chief scientist for Mars exploration confessed what stirs his emotions up from the depths. "When I first gazed at the images of the Martian landscape from Surveyor's camera," said Jim Garvin, "I was moved to tears."

Myself, I experience my tears as a well-earned triumph, whether they're driven by loss or fullness and joy; they're the sign of the inner work I've done to feel things deeply.

I've found, too, that sadness is often at the root of my anger.

When I feel rage at Trump's latest cruel and ignorant behavior, for example, it's because I'm profoundly sad about the dire consequences that his actions have and will have for human beings. I'm heartbroken about the suffering he perpetrates.

I'm not saying that sadness is "better" than anger. But I think it's important to understand that our anger often comes out of our sadness, and that we need to feel the sadness as much as the anger.


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TREMBLING TRUTHS

Each morning is all mornings.

The oak tree's shadow is the messiah.

The elephant shrew and the supernova are equals.

The Honda Accord is as natural as the Grand Canyon.

The skin is a temporary boundary, and so is the planet's surface.

The swallowtail butterfly is a savant.

Logic is crazy love.

The bat-eared fox is a razor-backed musk turtle.

Jubilation is an ecologically sound strategy.

No one knows how to sing the end of time because there is no end of time.

The critically endangered white rhinoceros is a forgotten birthday.

The vulnerable arctic wolf is emancipated from sin.

Purity is a sacrilegious vortex of panic.

Listening is the apotheosis of arrogance.

Our serpent thoughts keep us linked to original mirth.

The bumble bee redeems our unfertilized prophecies.


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