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Personal Best

Warning: the Snark is strong in this one, Obi-Wan.

My older daughter has undergone a spiritual awakening over the past several months.  It’s been interesting to see this devil-may-care child, one whose life choices haven’t always been the best, become so Zen.  (I underwent a similar shift a few years back, albeit substantially later than hers along my life path.)  I don’t necessarily agree with all aspects of what she is studying.  It’s easy to get caught up in the New Age movements and buy into things that are just a little too far off the beaten path.

Then again, I once would have been appalled by some of the things I’ve studied over the years.  Last night, I watched a PBS special on the Islamic prophet Mohammad.  These days I’m pretty sure I won’t become Islamic as a result of watching the educational program.  In fact, I found the show to be a bit tedious.  There was a time I’d have been chastised (or worse) for daring to watch such “extremist” stuff.

Over the years I’ve read on a number of fringe and potentially faux groups, such as the Illuminati.  I think the Illuminati may exist at some level, just not at all sure what that level is, and not altogether convinced they hold quite so much power as is alluded in modern legend.  There are the Knights Templar, a very real phenomenon who may or may not have morphed into the Freemasons.  Interesting bunch on both sides, whether or not they’re tied directly.

G and I enjoyed the History Channel’s show America Unearthed last season.  I think the host, Scott Wolter, has a lot more enthusiasm than accuracy in some of his claims, but it is a lot of fun to watch him race down those ethereally-thin tangents.  He’s one of a number of people who link the Freemasons to the Knights Templar, and is convinced that the Knights Templar traveled to the Americas long before Christopher Columbus made his famous voyages.  (I’ll buy into that possibility.  Just show me some proof that’s a little less nebulous, please.)

Obviously we know that Columbus wasn’t the first European who hit our shores.  In fact, he never stepped foot on the mainland of North America, landing instead on Caribbean islands.  We know now from archaeological evidence that the Vikings were here much, much earlier, and we’re finding more all the time to show earlier incursions from numerous European groups.  Jury’s still out on whether or not Europeans interacted with the Mayan and Inca civilizations long before the Spaniards tried genocide.  There have been noises that some of the east-coast Amerinds have European ancestors.  I’m game.  Show me the money… er, evidence.

But I digress.  (Very much so.)  Whatever else the Vikings, Spaniards and Christopher Columbus were, they weren’t here chanting and shaking Voodoo rattles.

I won’t get into Voodoo, which is something else again.

Bottom line is that my daughter and I have been exchanging messages about the nature of God and our perceptions of the Devil/Lucifer, about humanity’s spiritual elements or lack thereof, etc.  A few days ago she pointed me to what was definitely one of the more “out there” articles, one in which a person asserting he/she was Illuminati (among other things) claimed both to be holy and to be Lucifer, aka the Devil.

Yeah… way, way out there.

The link goes to the article, which is actually a distillation of forum exchanges from yet another site.  A lot of it stereotypical “I can’t tell you that because you’re not one of the cool kids like me.”   Whatever.  I take a lot of it with a very large grain of salt, and more of it with concern for my daughter’s judgment.  It captured her attention because it does put a very different spin on the Christian God and on the dynamics of good vs. evil.  Weird and slightly creepy, yet with some assertions that definitely would explain a lot of our God mythologies.  (I’m not claiming God is a myth, but the human take on the Divine is split sixty bazillion ways.  It’s a pretty sure thing at least some of us got it wrong, and I’m betting we all did, when it comes down to it.)

Flying Spaghetti Monster

The one thing the conversation did touch on, however, was a theme espoused in a lot of other venues, which is a variation on The Secret.  The general concept is that if you wish hard enough and really really really believe, you get to be Cinderella and go to the ball.

Whoops, wrong fairytale.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Despite my snarky references to that book, which I take with so much salt it adds another 200 points to my blood pressure, I do think faith plays an important part in your life and in taking care of business, both literally and figuratively.  Illuminati dude puts it that we are co-creators of our reality.  In real person words, you gotta believe in yourself to get stuff done.  That part’s absolutely true.  Whether your belief system is about faith in God or your Oneness with the Universe, the Flying Spaghetti monster, whatever, we’ve learned that the human experience works better with a mindset that thinks it can do whatever it wants to do.  That part’s largely undisputed.  With the right mental girding (neener!) we can achieve a lot.

Some of it is sheer cussedness, old-fashioned determination that keeps us going until we get where we want to go.  I won’t link to all the articles on it, but there are countless examples of people giving up just one or two steps before success.  How do we know that’s the case?  Because someone else comes in behind them and takes the next two steps and voilá! The new guy or girl gets the laurels, whereas the person who put in the blood, sweat and tears slinks off sulking because they got no recognition.  Fair or not, it’s real life.  Even so, those who have success don’t get there without a lot of failures first.  For every Donald Trump there’s a lot of loss, a lot of heartache and sacrifice and bad toupees.

Ahem.

Point is, I do give credence to belief, whatever form it takes, and I allow that hey – I’m gonna have some days that are just plain fucked up.  Mistakes, however frustrating, let you discard the stuff that doesn’t work and shift your focus on something that may (and hopefully, eventually, something that does.)

Today my knee dumped out on me.  I’m sitting at home, knowing I’m missing some key stuff at work and irked as heck to miss out.  On the positive side, I’m gonna tackle some writing again and get it out of the way.  And the last two days on my way to work, I made it a point to Zen out in a big way.  I obviously couldn’t truly meditate whilst driving.  Not a good idea, ya know?  Still and all, I did similar breathing techniques and self-talk, and just took the approach that I can ask for and receive “enough”.  Didn’t have to spell out any kind of quantitative values because it’s an internal process anyway.  Just “enough.”

Maybe that’s the real secret.  Who can be dissatisfied with enough?  Not too much, not too little, but as Goldilocks put it, “It’s just right!”

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