Archive | May 2015

Spiritual Warfare and Non-attachment

So much can (or not) happen in such a short period of time.

I’ve been talking about something spiritual (demon? entity?) stopping me from making even the most basic of progress in terms of moving. The realtor doesn’t get back with me. The plumber doesn’t arrive or call. The lawn people do not take the fallen branches from my back yard despite numerous requests to do so.

Also, I had to explain to the student loan people that my general, durable power of attorney (DPOA) did not (and never will) expire simply because the notary’s commission expired in 2013. They wanted Barry’s signature, something tough for him to do, so I mailed them a copy of the DPOA, which they then did not recognize as valid. I thought I would have to go get another one until a friend explained the concept of “durable.” The next day, I called them back and said I would not get another one because that would be conceding that the one I sent them was not valid, and I am unwilling to concede that on any level. They acted like it was just a big misunderstanding. No. This is serious legal ignorance and incompetence on their part only. My comprehension of the situation is 100% accurate and sound.

Now something else has happened. This past weekend, Barry and I were watching TV and suddenly heard a very loud “ting” sound. We had no idea what it was and didn’t give it another thought. A couple days ago, I looked at my living room window and saw this perfectly circular, tiny hole. I described it to a friend. I answered a few questions about it and she said, “Yeah. That sounds like a .22.” I looked again at the hole and saw just how close it came to where my head is while watching TV. Whatever the hell this is, I now know that it wants me dead.

Monday, before I noticed the hole in my window, I went to the blessing and saw some of my new-agey friends. I told them about some of the happenings. One nice lady said, “Have you thought about surrendering to the situation?” I said, “No. Capital n, capital o, all bolded, all italicized. Absolutely not. That’s the best definition of ‘good little victim’ I can think of. I’m fighting spiritual warfare and your suggestion is to capitulate. Are you kidding?”

I’m between different worlds. I have known Protestants that blame everything on demons and see them around every corner. They seldom take any personal responsibility for their contribution to a given situation. I’m talking about the type of people that pray against diabetes while eating a Hershey bar. The opposite world is the rose-colored-glasses new-agey world that sees the spiritual world as all sweetness and light. Both are ridiculous. I’m not saying there aren’t angels; I am only saying that there aren’t only angels.  The spiritual realm has a dark side, as well.

There’s an article in the May Shambhala Sun, The Problem of Evil, by Zoketsu Norman Fischer. He tries to bring some sanity to the discussion. “The great death, oneness, enlightenment, total acceptance of reality beyond good and evil–this is a necessary step in Zen or any other profound spiritual practice. But although this may be ultimate, it is only a step. Zen calls it ‘the great death’ for a good reason. It is a kind of ‘death.’ It requires a complete letting go, a complete relinquishment, in trust, of everything that one has identified as one’s life. To be truly alive, as Zen practice sees it, one has to die–to let go of life. But until we are physically dead, we can’t remain dead. We have to be alive. We can’t remain in the darkness and purity of beyond-good-and-evil. We have to arrive in the daylight of this physical, limited world of distinctions and moral choices. Difficult though it may be, there is no escape and no alternative.” Until we are dead, we live in the relative reality of good and evil. Period. Declaring non-duality prematurely is delusional and plays into the hand of the dark side.

I believe I stirred these spiritual energies up when I started getting rid of Barry’s stuff. I believe this is why Buddhism and other religions are clear on the necessity of not getting attached to things. What is attached to your stuff? Do you even know? It may not be benign or friendly.


Letting Go Every Day

“In the practice of the Tao, every day something is dropped. Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.” Tao Te Ching, chapter 28, Stephen Mitchell translation

This is what I’ve been living lately: dropping something every day. It sounds so easy, so deceptively easy.

I’m still fighting the weird spiritual battle of putting forth a herculean effort and not getting much accomplished, at least on the surface. I’ve been making appointments to get things done to the house to prepare it for sale—and I somehow always get canceled on. It is as if I am surrounded by a big spiritual black hole where time, effort, and energy go in and zilch comes out.

My solution? Do what I can. Every single day. I’ve been rooting around and looking for things to get rid of or organize. For example, I just cleaned out my car’s trunk, getting rid of the remnant of a bag of salt, pitching a few items, and dust-busting. Also, tomorrow the trash gets hauled away, so tonight I am looking for enough crap to fill the Granger container, given that we use less than one entire bag of trash per week.

“So what?” You may ask. By doing these “little” things, I am making my life easier for when, probably quite suddenly, things speed up for me and the timing of events is completely taken from my hands. If things are going to move excruciatingly slowly for the time being, I shall use that to my advantage as much as possible.

“Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non-action.” To me, this sounds deceptive, as if you might finally get things the way you like them and can relax at last. That impression is the exact opposite of reality. Reality is change; change is reality. Anyone unwilling to deal with change is refusing to deal with reality. I am not talking about forcing things to happen because I am unsure if that is even possible. I am talking about accepting changes and not resisting them, riding on the wings of change, if you will.

I cannot force things to happen, but I can gradually eliminate all obstacles and sharpen my mind for the next phase of my life. I can just see it. When the next phase starts, people are going to say I am so lucky to be so ready. My attitude will undoubtedly be along the lines of, “Seriously? Lucky?” I’ll just laugh, remembering the truth of 2013-2015.