I'm up on Taos Mesa, in a small "off-the-grid" community. I was invited to spend time at a friend's house while they are away for Thanksgiving. I'm loving the solitude, the quiet, the peaceful feeling. The energy is so good it's palpable. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the backdrop for this magnificent scenery. Some people might not like miles and miles of sagebrush, but I love the wide horizon, the openness that is also opening my heart, my thought, in some pretty wonderful ways.
I appreciate more and more every day the synchronicities that life shows us when we are willing to pay attention. While I was driving to Santa Fe a few days ago, my friend, Diane, called just as I was pulling into North Platte, my usual stagecoach stop. She has been reading a book by Stuart Wilde, Infinite Self, and wanted to share a passage that she thought described my own present "journey." And she was right. It hit the nail on the head.
Just before heading up here to The Mesa, I found myself driving to Border's, knowing I should buy that book. It would be the perfect reading material during my "retreat" here. It is sooo perfect. He is a Brit, with a great sense of humor. He makes spirituality/metaphysics really fun, but he also has some really solid ideas; ideas many of us have heard, more than once, but he has a style that speaks to me and makes me realize that spirituality can and should be filled with joy! Not ponderous or heavy-handed. Laughing is good for a person! Finding the humor, the absurdity of our human experience is, I believe, essential to our spiritual growth. It raises the energy, not just our own, but all the people we share it with; having fun as we awaken, remembering who we really are.
Today, a mutual friend of Diane's and mine, Peggy, mentioned she has read several of his books and is now re-reading one. She also informed me that he lives in Taos ! God has a way of dovetailing some nice elements in our life, don't you think?
He talks about conformity, the ways in which we are trained by our family, our culture, our "tribe," to conform. He says, "The idea developed that if you didn't believe what the tribe believed, somehow you would make the tribe vulnerable, and God would be displeased because of your lack of faith or action. Maybe you didn't follow through on the great hippopotamus ceremony or maybe every year in June when they threw two virgins off the cliff you said, 'I don't fancy this virgin-off-the-cliff-routine.'
He goes on to talk about neckties, as an example of conformity, "I don't know if you've noticed, but your neck is where air passes through to your body. You'd think that tying something around your windpipe wouldn't be conducive to your well-being or productivity. Yet millions of men go through the symbolic act of strangling themselves every morning, tying a colored cloth around their windpipe."
He once gave a seminar in which he encouraged people to "throw away the little piece of cloth around your neck and wear a chicken outfit instead....When your co-workers ask, 'Why are you wearing that chicken outfit?' answer 'What chicken outfit?' ...Do things to break up the binding rigidity that the mind imposes on you, and the fear it has of breaking away from the mold." His point is, "The routine you are familiar with day-to-day is part of your ego's authority over you. By doing things differently, you begin to challenge its authority."
So, think of some things you can do differently and I will too. We can start with simple things like what we eat normally, or what music we listen to. I do not like jazz, so I should probably start with that. If I can learn to like jazz, I swear, I will be the enlightened, awakened being I have long struggled to become. And please don't tell me I don't understand it. Cacophony has never appealed to me. See? That's where I need to start.
He asks us to trust our feelings more. He says, "The journey from the intellect to the Infinite Self involves wrestling the intellect into stillness...Too much thinking is a terrible disease. It brings on awfully chronic symptoms such as seriousness. I flee from serious people as fast as my chubby little legs will carry me. This life isn't serious. It's a comedy. With seriousness comes a lot of judgment and a lack of light and laughter and God Force. It's a very stony path to take."
Creativity, in all its permutations, is another thing he talks about with joy and freshness, "Mozart is still alive...his energy...and you can use that as an inspiration to improve your music and to make it more original. All of Mozart's energy is still in the collective unconscious - in the perpetual global memory of our people. You can call upon it and tap into it....just ask to be locked into his inspiration, say, 'Amadeus, bro, show me a few cool riffs on this guitar that no one has ever heard before.' Play what you hear in your mind."
Well, now I'm blathering on, as I'm wont to do. Anyhoo, you get the idea.
No, I am not a shill for Stuart Wilde. I'm likin' this book and thinking, oops, feeling, you might, too. I love his humor and I like that he walked away from his very abundant material life to find his own path, as they say, and has shared what he's learned so far with us. He literally lives with two suitcases and his laptop computer. He says, "In the end, my whole life is in two suitcases. I can look at the suitcases and think, 'Wow, cool - two suitcases, one for each arm. Three suitcases would be a problem.' He sounds like my kinda guy.
We are all Michelangelo, chiseling away at the marble, slowly revealing the Beautiful Idea, the God Force within. And that's what I'm doing up here on the mesa. Quietly chiseling away...
And as far as that virgin-off-the-cliff thing? Wheeeww! I'm glad I don't have to worry about that!