September 25, 2008
I have largely come to the conclusion that abdicating from the world of matter and men may be the very best thing a warrior can do - though I am fairly certain many here will disagree at some level. And yet...
Several years ago, it began to occur to me that I had essentially become segregated from the world and, as a result, from most people. At first, I experienced a small amount of alarm at this realization - I have no friends by the traditional definition, no social groups with whom I interact regularly (or even irregularly), nor do I watch television, listen to the radio, or go to church. My initial reaction to that observation was to scold myself - "Self, you've become a hermit! Not only do you not HAVE any friends, you do not appear to MISS having friends!"
When I was brutally honest with myself, I also came to realize that this seemingly "sad" state of affairs had been arrived at solely through my own choices AND my own desires. And, perhaps worst of all, I was and AM quite content with this. In other words, it wasn't that I had "lost" all my friends, or even lost interest in the world at large. More accurately, I have found that once a warrior sees through the illusions, delusions, political dramas, world wars, pseudo-terrorism, economic crises and the like, the warrior has a tendency to end up living somewhere in an isolated environment, not unlike don Juan and his little shack in the desert. And, in my opinion, that is a good thing in the grand scheme of things if one is truly serious about BE-ING a warrior, as opposed to just talking like a warrior.
I can honestly say that I would know nothing of the current economic crisis (oh, those fearful words!) if others had not brought it to my attention. That's one of the perks of not being plugged into the consensus reality through the comforting teat of the terror-tube. Gives new meaning to the old cliche - "What we don't know won't hurt us." And, again, I'm fairly certain many will raise the argument of "Forearmed is forearmed," or something to the effect...
Over the past year, our business has continued to do well, even though we are what might be called a "luxury"-based business - in other words, the things we sell are definitely NOT essentials. Clothing, jewelry, little indulgences for the kiddies... absolutely nothing of value whatsoever. And obviously, those are the types of business which are the first to fail in a bad economy.
So I ask myself... to what extent does my own mindset contribute to all of this? In other words, had I been more aware of "The Economic Crisis" (be afraid, be very afraid), is it possible that my own fears would have caused me to take a different course of action, and perhaps ended up thwarting myself in the process? For example, a lot of our acquaintances in the business have said they "cannot afford to restock" because they are essentially hoarding what little money they make for "survival". On the other hand, Wendy and I have restocked freely over the past few months (even moreso than usual, it seems), and as a result, we have the merchandise to offer to customers, whereas our competitors may be beginning to appear shopworn - in other words, victims of their own fears. By failing to restock, a self-fulfilling prophecy comes into being... and I have to wonder if it ever would have happened in that manner had they NOT been so keenly aware of that Economic Crisis (be afraid, be very VERY afraid!)
We like to tell ourselves that awareness is always the key - and, indeed, that is a true statement. And yet... when stalking the consensus reality, it certainly seems to me that there are times when one simply needs to walk away from the fear, turn a deaf ear to the blathering media, ignore all the predictions of doom and gloom by the analysts, and simply DO the right thing in whatever one's individual position might be. It's when we start living in fear that we start hoarding - so the seeds for next year's harvest may be squirreled away for times of famine, and one has to ask, is the famine even REAL at the level where we ourselves exist? And if the seeds are never planted, where will next year's crops come from?
I've said before, with regard to politics, that I no longer vote, nor do I give a fat rat's patootie about who will end up in the white house in November. It isn't because I am an irresponsible fuck that I walked away from all of that - it's BECAUSE of the warrior-stalker's ever-present awareness, the brutal knowledge that my vote is not going to change the world, nor is yours. Idealistically, it could be argued otherwise. But reality has proven otherwise just within the past few years - i.e., the guy who actually WON the last election was shoved aside when the electoral college (aka "The Fixers") were called in to clean up the mess made by the American public (read: we didn't vote the way we were "supposta").
So... having clearly seen what happens when the people go against the powers that be, it just seems to me that ANY investment of energy in the process of voting or politics is entirely folly - and not the least bit "controlled" folly. Simple. Folly. Period. The ultimate no-win scenario. No matter which way you bend over, you're still going to get... well... you get the picture, yes?
Okay... that being the said, it also seems to me that this current Economic Crisis (run for the hills! pur your money in a sock! be afraid, be very very VERY afraid!) is being played up with all the usual pomp and circumstance that precedes any major election, but may not be any more "real" than the gas shortage of '73 or the notion of a lone gunman in the Kennedy assassination. I mean - really! - what would happen if they gave a crisis and nobody bought into it? What would happen if we all just turned off our television sets and went about our day to day affairs as if none of it were happening?
Well, Della, that's a bit naive, isn't it?
I dunno. IS it? My point here is simply this: are there times when too much information - particularly too much FALSE information - may actually cause us to panic, and in our panic, create that self-fulfilling prophecy which says, "The sky is falling!?" IOW, would the sky fall at all if everyone could just carry on, doing their impeccable best, rather than trying to speculate and prepare for some imagined crisis that seems to be far more of shell game for the power brokers than anything else? We hear terms like bail-out and economic collapse and the like, but is there anything we can actually DO about it? Pull our money out of banks and stick it in the mattress? And, what would that solve? And what other problems would it create in the big picture? Self-fulfilling prophecies are the most dangerous of all, for there is a certain grim satisfaction in being able to say, "See, I told you so!" And yet... somehow I don't think I'd feel right predicting the sinking of a ship if I then went out and sank the ship just so I COULD say, "see... told you so!"
The point is simply this. Do. Not. Engage.
Or, if you are going to insist on believing that your vote matters or your awareness of every detail of The Economic Downfall of America is going to somehow make you a better person, then at least try to keep it in perspective. A warrior's perspective. Which states, very simply: "In a thousand years, it won't make any difference."
There are some who do not like to acknowledge that everything in our world is folly, because once we acknowledge that, it is a huge blow to our ego, and often a crushing blow to our self-importance. We want-to-believe we are going to make a difference, our vote will count, rah rah rah and wave the flag for freedom, but the ultimate (and ugly) reality is that we'd might as well be playing with Monopoly money and moving our litle chits along the board game of Life.
A grim outlook? Hardly! When a warrior is finally able to *see* that it's all just a crazy game, there is a sense of freedom which goes beyond the ability of words to express. Sure, I still maintain my responsibilities to my life, my family and the things I care about - but I do so largely BECAUSE I am "in" this world, but no longer "part" of this world. I make no apologies. I feel no remorse. I don't accept guilt trips. I simply do not find it beneficial or productive to "care" about the things I cannot change, particularly when it is so blatantly obvious that the problems which have been created at the highest possible level will not be solved as a result of me turning my attention to it.
I realize (and respect) that there are many warriors out there who believe that our "involvement" in such things are part of the path, but that has not been the case for me, and to be brutally honest, I'm not sure it's the case for anyone who is wholly committed to the path of self-evolution. Reason being - if I were to devote the kind of time and energy it would require to address the "problems of the here and now" (economics, war, famine, meth, illiteracy & stupidity, just to name a few), I would have no time at all to devote to my own pursuits. And let's face it: when it's just me and the eagle, I'm not going to have a whole lot of concern about what I did to try to 'save the world'. The eagle ain't keeping score, and death isn't advising me to go out and campaign for the latest joker in the three ring circus. I have more important things to do - and so do you.
So in that regard, I have to say that a warrior chooses her battles and her battlefields. When I place myself in alignment with "the right way to live" in regard to these issues, what inevitably comes to me is that our responsibility is not to "the world" (which is little more than a series of illusions strung together like so much xmas popcorn), but to the self, and to those who might cross our path. I have always found that there is never a shortage of problems "close to home" as it were - people (and I consider animals to be people, too) who just seem to naturally come into my field of vision, and whom I might actually be able to help on some minor level.
I don't have to go out looking for souls to save or causes to engage. It's all right here - as Dorothy said - "right in my own back yard." Sure, even that is only controlled folly, but at least it may actually serve to enhance my own awareness while simultaneously serving another's, so there is some mutual benefit to the engagement, which seems to indicate an efficient use of energy - far moreso than banging one's head against the political arena or trying to vaguely understand or even wrap one's mind around the sum of trillions of dollars of debt.
In the 60s, there was much talk of "getting involved." Luckily, I have grown older and hopefully somewhat wiser. The only winning move is not to play.
Your mileage may vary.