Sunday, October 14, 2007


Sometimes I feel like sobriety is extremely undervalued these days.

One should be, I think, sober and fully present. Out of respect.

Is this a weird idea, that it is important to respect the world? I seem to have found myself with an overwhelming sense of the world being very real, a presence--maybe because my sense of "God" has slowly grown and expanded to include and transcend "the world." The Divine is not just some external bearded entity in the sky or the afterlife or located wherever. The world is not "His" gift to us. The world is. I have a relationship with the world, even when I am alone. Even when I am lonely, I am lonely with(in) the world. The world is always present, fully present. To waste time being inebriated seems... ungrateful.

There are so many tiny things going on--and each tiny thing is part of the world, and also the whole world and the way in which the world manifests--and what if you're too stoned to notice? Then your stress and anxiety float in a void of not-world, isolated and seemingly without resolution or perspective or escape. So you smoke more pot to relieve the stress. And you miss out on even more, and so you feel even more "out of it" and can't keep up. You try to escape stress, but you escape into a void in which only the stress is real, or nothing is.

MeditationEscape, instead, into the world. Sit outside and listen. There are birds and a wind. There is a field, into which tress slowly migrate over hundreds of years. There is a pond, and then there is not a pond, only a dry bed and rotting wood and toads buried in the mud. There are weeds more beautiful than flowers, and there are also flowers. This has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with you. There are countless tiny things being and becoming and becoming beautiful: and you are one of them. Even when you are stressed, even when you are lonely or tired.

A friend recently wrote about the idea that "Godde doesn't exist yet":

But there is an Arising. The universe and its inhabitants are becoming more conscious, more compassionate, more empathic, with the arising of the universal Mind. As we interact socially with the Universe, we increase its consciousness.

Rilke, in his Letters to a Young Poet, wrote:

As the bees bring in the honey, so do we fetch the sweetest out of everything and build Him. With the trivial even, with the insignificant (if it but happens out of love) we make a start, with work and with rest after it, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything we do alone, without supporters and participants, we begin him.

Who will build the beauty of the world, if we won't? With infinite attention, the world expands, the universe groans and stretches and wakes from sleep. Without attention, respect, love--the world grows anxious and dull, inhospitable, repetitive. What will you do on a Sunday afternoon? The sun is bright, the leaves are creeping towards death like millions of monarch butterflies, the wind moves, or doesn't--and where are you? Hiding inside with the windows shut, squandering your precious attention on smoke and mirrors.

And if you feel your life is too stressful or too boring to withstand sobriety for long, then there it is: change your life. The world is waiting to relieve you, to refresh you. It owes you nothing, but everywhere offers itself up selflessly. Accept it. Welcome in the world. Sobriety is literally the least you can do.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Life is fuller and more enjoyable with a clear head.