At least it was in my younger days. I suppose now there’s an expression about fingertips to the keyboard, but you get the idea. For me the hardest part isn’t getting started on a new project, be it a written one or any other kind. I usually start out pretty strong and then after the initial burst of energy and excitement my motivation falters. It’s usually slow going from there, with the occasional breakthrough intermingled through long periods of what more closely resembles real work rather than the fun I envisioned the project would be at the start.
So not surprisingly the initial chapters of my tribute to the women who were such an important part of my life started out at a quick clip. I chose to direct my novel to the young adult reader; mostly because that was the age I first began independently exploring my mother’s unusual interests. Plus it was important to my mother I leave a guide behind for her grandchildren. Since I still had teenagers in the house I wrote a story I hoped would appeal to them.
It was a relief to put down on paper the memories and stories that would otherwise be lost with my eventual passing. It was easy to incorporate them into a paranormal fantasy. I could share under the cloak of fiction my mother’s tarot card readings, crystal balls and séance’s. I could relate both the beauty and the fear of opening the door within…the one leading to eternity. And tell how it felt to pass through that gate, knowing it was an irrevocable step I could never undo.
That was one of my clearest memories of the beginning of my personal journey along the path leading to the eternal way. My mother cautioned me to be absolutely sure it was a door I wanted to open within me. There was a reason most of the world still slept. Ignorance was equated with bliss for a reason and with knowledge came great responsibility. As much as seeing through the veil separating the physical and spiritual worlds would be amusing and astonishing and wonderful at times, it also complicated one’s life. There were suddenly lots of balls to keep in the air at once, and a new previously inconceivable juggling between the demands of this world and those of the next.
So we both proceeded with extreme caution. Me, because I’m cautious by nature. My mother, because she didn’t want to impose a burden on my young shoulders I wasn’t capable of understanding until it was too late to turn back. Enlightenment in the flash of revelation is an experience reserved for the chosen few. For the rest of us, it is a long process, lifetimes of learning the wisdom of eternity while at the same time unlearning the ephemeral wisdom of this passing world.
As with anything else, I embraced my apprenticeship with a youthful enthusiasm. It was only very gradually, so slowly it was almost imperceptible, I became aware of the weight of new accountability settling over me. ‘First do no harm’ takes on new meaning when your focus is not only on the next several decades, but on the next several millennia. Karma could have unpleasant consequences and I didn’t want to risk becoming tangled up in its darker side.
By the time I began to understand what my mother was cautioning me about, I was long past the point of no return. Not that I didn’t attempt it a time or two. It’s rather laughable trying to turn your back on yourself, or to pretend you don’t hear the nagging voices inside your head. Still, it’s not impossible and there were long periods in my life of what I considered the almost normal phases. I imagined that was how other, normal people lived their lives. For me it was more like playing dress-up as a kid.
But as with any fantasy, it was impossible to sustain for long, certainly not forever. Some people would argue my life is the fantasy, and everyone else’s is the true nature of reality. That would be true for them. Just as my truth is true for me. One of the first things one learns along the path of enlightenment is what we believe to be true in this life is so often the exact opposite in eternity. Here, taking is equated with getting, in eternity giving breeds abundance. Here, there is separation and our differences so often define us. In eternity oneness and communion are what bring us joy.
You can begin to understand why the journey is so hard. Hate is not the opposite of love. Indifference is. If you are starting from a place of hatred, at least there is the implication you care about something, or you still retain some feeling. Hate is only a stopping point on the path towards not caring at all. Evil simply waits for our indifference to catch up with it.
Seeking knowledge is harder. Striving is harder. Becoming more is harder. Enlightenment is not a path to be undertaken by the weak, for its challenges soon conquer the fickle-minded. I’m reminded of a passage I read in a book about the rewards of yoga. (I can’t remember which one or I would gladly give the author credit since the passage struck me so forcibly.) In it the author describes how a person walking by sees a yogi practicing on a river bank and how impressed the observer is by the yogi’s perfect form, how he seems to so effortlessly balance himself in the most complex postures. The witness thinks to himself how lucky the yogi is to be blessed with such natural flexibility, as if the perfection of his practice was simply a basket he retrieved from the river one day as he was passing by. When the truth of the matter was, the yogi’s near perfection was accomplished after only long years of study and practice.
People assume the same thing about the perfection of the spirit, as if enlightenment was a gift one could find simply lying unattended on the side of the road.
There is no end to the excuses we’re willing to make for ourselves.
Ignorance is bliss…
In ignorance, there is no need to even make excuses.