Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Edge of the Abyss

I live on the edge of the abyss. That place our mind fears for failing into and not coming back, or at best, sitting in the darkness and silence at the bottom looking for hope and light knowing it's not there nor coming any time soon. But more than that, I'm addicted to living on the edge. It was a gift. Not something that happened, but something given.

You see I was born with genetic Dysthymia. My father had it and my Mom was prone to short periods of depression. And they passed it on as the baseline of my life. It's always there, just underneath the exterior, a vast interior of my mind, sitting on the edge, of the abyss.

I reckon my abyss is not unlike the Grand Canyon. And I sit on the edge of the north rim, the south rim far across, lower and extending south onto the vast plain and the world beyond. The river deep below flowing like emotions and thoughts traversing my mind into the deep and deeper recess of experience to reveal the sorrow lying within alongside the self-hate.

The simple reality of my being. Long determined before birth and evolving through a life, just as the blood flows through me, the feelings rage through my mind. Sometimes torrents. Sometimes calm. The definitive history of a depressed life. And the constant struggle to stay alive and sane.

And in that is the chance and often experience of seeing and being on the other side. The south side of the rim feeling the light and warmth in the view of the abyss and far side. Feeling the flood of life at the last moment of it, to return to the living, still alive, but not renewed, just older. And maybe a little wiser.

As the sun brings our shadows, life and death shadows my existence. Never far apart and never far from my consciousness. Visible in everything I see, read, hear, touch, taste and smell. The whole of my experience flavored with the duality of both and each. Always wondering and always wanderiing around every facet. Waiting for periods of calm when just feeling alive is enough for the moment.

Sitting in a cafe, table for two against the window, with the opposing vacent chair, I imagine the whole world, just for the brief moment, everything in motion, doing what it's doing then and wherever everything else is happening. And wonder if my existence is anything more than just that, and like everything else happening, just is and just happens. And the next moment, and the one after that.

It's the view from the edge of the abyss.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If Tears had a Voice

I didn't know whether to tag this entry about Taoism or Dysthymia. I still don't and may change it in the future, but I was thinking about it and joking with the professional who attends to my weekly sessions. It's not painful in that pain is the goal or the process of the treatments, but simply the side-effect of it. It got me to thinking since I don't externalize pain.

I notice people express pain along a spectrum, from those who externalize, really vocalize, any and all pain, no matter the intensity or severity, even the slightly cut is sounded, heard by everyone, to those who never say a word, expressionless for the most part except some facial expressions. And everything in between in shades and degrees.

I'm on the extreme end of internalizing pain. I have rarely vocally expressed pain, only some anger, and mostly just stand there and feel it, knowing every brain cell in my brain is screaming. But nothing comes out, except tears. During the treatment we talked about it as she said people vary so much during these treatments, both in the threshold and expression of the pain.

I said, if tears had voices, you would hear me across the street.

Monday, July 14, 2008

God II

I was listening to an interview between a philosopher and a religious leader. The philosopher stated, "God is a social construct." The religious leader said he couldn't accept this because his faith said it wasn't a construct but the underlying basis of life given to us by God. Talk about polar opposites.

And I don't know about you, but I can't think of way to argue (in the debate meaning) with someone who says that it's all about faith, something they can't provide proof of its existence or something you can't test to determine if it exists or just something in the mind or imagination. Harsh? Not really when you consider many of them say it's about their faith, and even they can't define it or prove it's existence other than their belief.

Except that many take out the Bible to show their faith, and say, it's all here, the word of God. Really? Their Bible is their faith or God? Both? But did God write the Bible?

And this is the crux of the issue, who wrote the Bible. If God wasn't human and didn't have the capacity to write, where did the words and ideas in the Bible originate? Bible scholars are certain various men (not no women or ones so acknowledged) wrote the Bible over its lifetime. And we're told the word of God was expressed through them. Literally, firguratively or some other means?

And do we know they actually got the translation right, even after all the translations and edits over the milleni? How many translations of the Bible have there been? And we know the current Bible is accurate and correct? But which version today is that? So, we have all these versions all of which have been or are accurate and correct, but they all differ in writing and interpretation.

And then there are other religions. If the Bible is the word of God, what about Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shamanism, and all the other religions? Isn't their God and the word of their God different? So, who's God and book of God is right? Which is the true, accurate and correct version of God?

And what about the history of the Bible? Why don't we have versions before about 4-5,000 BCE? if God has existed all these millenia and a part of human history, where are the Bibles of long ago? Didn't they have a God and their God gave them words to live by and with?

Ok, wandering around a bit. But it always intrigues me about people who assign faith to the belief out of dedication to an imaginary entity with a book replete with unproven and unsubstantiated power. It is and that's all there is, or so they say, without reservation or question. It gives them something solid to believe in and live by.

I don't find that wrong, only wrong when the espouse that it's what we all should do and be, something they simply can't define or prove. I'm not disagreeing with them, I'm only asserting the philosopher has a point. Without a social framework, does God exist?

Or is God the result of construction for a social environment for how everyone should think or behave? Without people is there a God? And can people exist without a God? But who's God? My God or your God? And if we agree about God but disagree with the details, who's God is more right?

Ok, it's the endless circular argument and everyone is right and wrong, because neither side can prove their side or dispprove the other side. Or so their God says, or they say their God says. To them.

To me, I'm always wondering and questioning for in the end, it's the old adage, it isn't we who ask the meaning of life, it us who are asked the meaning of our life. And for that you don't need God except as an excuse, a reason or an explanation. You still to answer for yourself, something no God can help.


Ok, it's about God, but not your God, my God. And really two faces of my God, the serious one who is the soul of our faith, the indefineable reason we do things and sometimes make decisions, and the other, the imaginary one who invented and runs the universe, except it's not the same as most people think.

You see God is a the CEO of Universe Inc., the head of "the" corporation of the whole ballgame of everything. The corporation has subsidaries, division, companies, etc., the whole bureauracy of running the universe, except their names were based on astronomy, species, thoughts and ideas, ethics and morality, etc., and God has a Board of Directors who oversee the grand plan and ensure the tenets of the corporations aren't broken.

Remember God inherited Universe Inc. He was recruited by the fomer owners who needed a CEO after the last Big Bang where everything was collapsed into a black hole and then exploded into a whole new universe, which version we'll never know since everything was destroyed and recreated anew. So, God was hired, after which God needed a staff, God couldn't run it alone.

So God created a corporate-government style management team and approach where there is no money but just the value of being and doing good. But God knew that doesn't always work, so God and Universe Inc. has branches that ensures everything is monitored and reported. God can't intervene, God can vaguely suggest in your mind.

You see in this version of the universe the Really Big Entities who hired God decided to limit his power to control. The RBE built the framework, eg. laws of physics, evolution, and so on, called our science, and decided to limit his intervention powers. God is only allowed to start things in motion, like Earth, and let things happen. The rest is up to us or whenever we get these vague notions or messages from God.

And so I have these imaginary conversations and discussion with God, God's personal secretary and staff with the various heads of each branch, divisions, companies, subsidaries, offices, etc., kinda' just like we all have in our work and life, dealing with all the situations, circumstances, problems, etc. which happen when you set something in play and it all goes awry.

The problem is that God, his staff and everyone else in Universe Inc. thinks at the speed of light, or close to it, so I have to stretch the conversation out where us mere mortal can comprehend and understand. Such as we are, limited by our initial rules of being and by evolution. Sorry to all you Intelligent Design, aka. Creationism, folks, we're the products of physics and chemistry with evolution.

And so you know, God is never down or blue. God might be upset, but then God can't change the rules of the game. God can only gives hints and hope the person getting one or more, actually is listening and heeds them. Otherwise, God chalks it up to us. God tried, we didn't. It's these conversation God has with the staff that pop into my mind and spill out through the fingers to the screen and into words expressing ideas.

And as Rusty Wallace so aptly said, "Stay tuned Hot Rod, we're just getting started."

Just a Thought

Young people die with unfullfilled hopes and dreams. Old people die with unfullfilled memories. And the rest of us in between die with unfullfilled realities, of what we can't do, won't do, or don't have the time to do. We die knowing our hopes and dreams haven't come true and our memories aren't full realized. We die as we lived, trying to understand not knowing it wasn't about understanding, but about just living, with what you have and who you are, and trying to do more, not knowing if it's real or a youthful hope or dream. And it fades into an unfullfilled memory.

Maybe I should stop listening to the blues (music) at night.


Specifically meeting people, or more so accepting people. I got to thinking about this from an on-line bulletin board discusson about this topic, about meeting people with disabilities or who are obviously different than they appear, whether by way of recent circumstance or situation or by intention. And I suspect you're going, "Huh?"

I remember when I lived in Phoenix, or really lived in Scottsdale and worked (office) in Phoenix. I spent a lot of time in the field, especially the summer doing groundwater work, namely locating, inventorying, measuring and sampling wells - not fun in the summer there around agricultural wellheads and pumps. By the time I got back I was hot and tired and didn't want to fix anything to eat, so I found an alternative.

Many of the resorts in Scottsdale have happy hours from 4-6 pm. No surprise, it's good for business. Anyway, one about a mile or so my home had a great food spread, and for the price of a beer, albeit expensive beer, you got a free dinner, ensuring you didn't gorge yourself and be evicted and not invited back. This one had great waitresses who simply took your order, and when returning with your beer (Guiness for me) would invite to the food.

Well, I would first stop by the office and at least cleaned up a little, meaning a quick wash of the sweat and shake off the desert dush from the clothes and boots, and then go to this resort. I would spend about an hour watching the people, drink my beer, eat a little food, and leave a good tip before heading home. Sometimes someone would come and we'd have a good conversation about Arizona, mostly tourist visting.

One day, a man came in wearing cowboy boots and dustier than me. Before he sat down the waitress took his order and he went to the food bar. Seeing me there, looking not that much different, meaning having spent a day in the desert, he came over and we talked about work. He was a driller who explored for water, oil, whatever he was contracted to drill for, and he'd come back from a bad day at the drill site.

After he left and I was getting ready to leave, I stopped the waitress I usually got and thanked her for the service to someone as bad looking as I was often. She said she takes people as they come and didn't mind people who weren't always cleaned up. She said you never know who they really are, and mentioned the man who I talked with and said he owns the exploration business we spoke of and is worth millions (remember it's the mid-1980s').

So you never know.

Another time, years later being inTacoma, I used to take walks at lunch. I'd pick a direction and walk for half and hour to turn around and walk back a different route. Being the office was downtown it was fairly easy to pick a direction and find a whole different scene and flavor of Tacoma. Sometimes I ended up walking through adjacent neighborhoods and occasionally meeting people working in their yards or outside their business or church and have a short conversation.

One day coming back I was walking across a plaza when I heard a loud commotion in the street. A transient was walking down the block in the middle of the street yelling at the drivers in cars. And when we wandered to the sidewalk people quickly walked away from him, or face him yelling at them too. Finally he walked onto the plaza where I was standing.

I had stopped to watch the whole incident, and seeing me he started to walk up to me yelling things I really didn't understand. When he got about 3 feet in front of me, he stopped and in a quieter, but still loud tone, continued to talk. After about a minute he stopped and just looked at me. I still don't know why I didn't walk away.

When he stopped talking I simply said in a quiet tone, "Are you done? What's your name?" He got this blank look on his face, so I said, "I'd like to know your name." He stared at me, and didn't move or talk so I repeated myself saying, "I can't help you if I don't know your name.", and after about a minute or so, he just turned and slowly walked away. By then the police came and he walked up to them and surrendered without even a word.

He quietly got into the patrol car and they drove off. All he wanted was to be recognized for being a person. No different than I did in that resort.