Well, where does one start to talk about the Infinite and one's finite and limited relationship to It?
I found Asana Bear some years ago when I started toying around with yoga. While our politics are nearly opposite, our dietary choices are complementary. I'm a gleeful omnivore, while he is strictly vegan BUT he has some of the best recipies for "food that food eats" that I've come across. Conversion by stomach, as it were.
So I read his blog. And post in his comments. And sometimes engage in a debate via e-mail, where we shake hands, salute the spark of the Divine in one another, and agree to disagree. I'm not seeking to gain his approval by making him agree with me, and I think the same is reciprocated. I am looking to enlarge my viewpoint by reading his words, digesting them, and refining my views by defending them. Sometimes it's hard to know what we think until we hear or see the words.
And that's why this is here, o Tonstant Weader.
So, getting 'round to the title subject at long last. Asana Bear has found God (under the couch with the cat toys, as I've been telling him for ages. That's where everything that is lost is eventually discovered). A little more seriously, Asana Bear relates that he had the bog standard church experience of lectures on Sunday where the preacher told you what your relationship with the Infinite Should Be (and presumably, how you were fucking everything up. Why is it always about ME???)
And see, I can relate in some ways to this, having had the Mystery Conversation with friends about their upbringing (one specific that comes to mind is Lynchpyn, actually, where after a nasty misunderstanding we sat and talked again (almost a year later, granted) and she explained that she had the Arranged Marriage relationship with the Great I Am, where the man stands up in the pulpit and tells you that anything that is remotely fun is Wrong and will lead to Eternal Damnnation and you should Quit That Immediately.)
And I mean . . . wow.
Just like an arranged marriage, where people who presumably have your best interests at heart hand you over to a demanding incomprehensible rule-bound Being whose sole interest seems to be putting up arbitrary rules for you to follow, and then insisting that you must love this Being, that you're going to be together forever and you shouldn't try to understand, just OBEY.
Here's the thing though, my experience was different. I was raised
Yes, this was a Pustulent Ball of Suck in a community full of Catholics and Lutherans, with clearly labeled religions and icons of faith to point to and thump. But as I became older, I see that this actually provided me with tools to grope after understanding, limited though it may be, and gave me a spiritual life NOT predicated simply on proximity. (God as Work Buddy, anyone? What happens when you change employers, and can't make plans around the water cooler any more? When you have to put actual effort into the relationship?)
Given the demands for submission to rules and regulations that seem like no more than buzzkill whimsy at the time (and given no explanation for the same), and the increasing demands for limited time as we get older and our choices expand exponentially, is it any surprise that some people run for the exit as soon as they can walk??? And aren't particularly interested when you talk about your buddy, the Divine who loves to dance, and finds joy in the color purple, and who won't give you everything you ask for, but can help you find what you need?
Because all they can see, when your great friend the Divine comes through the door, is that he has the same face as their Awful Being, and so they scoot to the opposite end of the couch, make stiff small talk, and bolt for the door as soon as it's polite to do so.
And so my heart is delighted for Asana Bear, my other virtual friend, as he takes the next steps on his Mystery Walk and comes round to where he had left off before.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti. For each and every one of you.
1. In high school, one of Li'l Brah's classmates played a particularly sophisticated joke on him--they sent the Mormons to our house to discuss Li'l Brah's relationship with Jesus. And so they wound up with Li'l Brah on the sofa for--no kidding--an HOUR talking his ear off about their beliefs.
And the 'rents and I? The Dowager Empress and I bumped into each other in the hall, and essentially agreed that, well, if this was the path that called Li'l Brah, then who were WE to argue? *shrug*