Friday, July 31, 2009

On Struggle...

This morning was one of those tough ones. You know, the ones when you wake up tired of the struggle because its been going on too long with no perceptible movement. I lay there in bed, tears seeping out of the corners of my eyes, feeling helpless and stuck. But it didn't last for long. Thank God/dess! And it did get me thinking about struggle (stemming from that eternal question, "WHY?") and what it's all about.

There was a wise man on this planet who once said, "Struggle is the Meaning of Life. Defeat or victory is in the hands of God. But struggle itself is Man's duty and should be his joy."

That wise man was Aga Khan III. I've heard those words all my life and have struggled all these years just to understand them.

In a typical organized religion framework that sees God (or the the Source of All that IS, as I like to think of "God/dess") as an authoritarian figure that sits in the sky passing judgement and doling out punishments and rewards based on our behaviour, Humankind is positioned as powerless in the face of struggle, stuck with having to roll with the punches and like it. Where is the joy in that? How different would that be from being in a bad, relationship where someone has all kinds of power over you and your survival depends on your capacity to submit (or else) over working co-operatively?

This construction of God/dess feels more like a bad B-Movie script in which God is cast as the invisible mob boss who is going to order a hit, leaving you "swimming with the fishes" unless you do what you're told. Herein lies the recipe for most organized religion's "behaviour management" techniques. I can just see the meeting where this was decided: "Okay, so we'll break them down with some Threat, a little Shame, some Crazy-making and plenty of Guilt and we'll have 'em where we want 'em. Then we'll get them to beat themselves up with Self-Doubt and Self-Judgement! It's Perfect! We won't have to keep getting our hands dirty AND we get to keep lining our pockets. Bada bing, Bada boom!"

Yeah. It's enough to make an enlightened revolutionary turn over money lenders' tables.

That way of understanding the Source of All that IS just doesn't sit well with me. Where's the Unconditional love in all of that? Where is unity, wholeness, one-ness, or the river that runs through all of creation? I just can't see God/dess from that framework. So I can't really accept struggle as being a punishment or something that is my fault because I ate some fruit off a heavenly tree that had a big red circle with a line painted on it. No, it's gotta be something else. How about this? Let's try THIS on for size --- Struggle presents an enormous OPPORTUNITY.

Stuff happens that we mere mortals cannot control. "Struggle is the meaning of life" implies that there is a requirement that we roll with it. It's not so much powerlessness as acceptance of the way things are.

"Success or defeat being in the hands of God," is a way of saying, "Hey, you can't control everything, so don't even try. You're gonna have to learn to do your best and let go of the rest."

But how do we meet Struggle? In a dark alley with Fear, Guilt, Anger, Frustration, Shame or Blame? Or do we greet it on the side of the street that's sunny, with some Grace, Compassion, Joy, Gratitude and Love? Or do we do a bit of both? THAT is where the terrain of meaning lies. And one's capacity to embrace that meaning rests in whether or not one's heart is two sizes too small (Dr. Suess. Wisdom is EVERYWHERE!). That is, perhaps where the joy comes in. To accept that stuff happens and find a reason to joyously, raucously laugh anyway

The pay off for going through the struggle, for trying, no matter what is that we learn, we grow, we evolve. THAT seems to be the Meaning, the Opportunity underneath it all. Perhaps this is what was meant by "duty"--that we owe it to ourselves to keep on trying. And can we muster up some Joy and celebration for the tenacity and depth of the Human spirit? Yeah, dude. I believe we can.

1 comment:

  1. What no comments? Here is my 2 cents.

    I paid money, consulted several specialists (in my youth) to find out the WHY. Yes, I was looking for character self- assassination (it's a cultural thang!)

    Straight across the board, in a variety of languages, the answer given to me was 'bad luck.'

    However, with some guidance, my own terrier-like personality, and with the kindness of others, I found my own road map to the real question, "What are you going to do about it?"

    I am still working my way through that, and expect I will until I leave this earth.

    As the saying goes, "It's your journey, dress accordingly!" Damn I have had loads of joy!

    Thanks for your Blahg (old Celt word for blog!)