- I loved her, and I told her so. Yes, she responded, but
you love me the way YOU want to love me, not in the way I want you to love
me. So I thought about that.
- And then she told me a story she'd learned from Osho,
a guru from India notorious to some who didn't really know him but revered
by many who did, including her.
- It was a story about a cul de sac. Most of us live our
lives reliving the same habitual pattern, and keep repeating it over and
over again, so that our lives devolve into shallowness, and then pain,
and we feel trapped, frustrated, and empty. Osho's lesson, she explained,
was to learn all there is to learn about what you like, then finish that
dance and move on to the next step to continue to see what life and the
world can teach you.
- Once the lesson is learned, leap out of the cul de sac,
go beyond what you know and learn what you don't.
- If you don't keep growing, she insisted, you're liable
to wither and die, trapped in a blind alley from which you do not escape.
The repetition of what was once pleasure can degenerate into torture if
- I heard what she was saying, at least through my ears
and in my brain, but perhaps not in my heart. After all, here was a woman
I told myself I loved, an admirable woman, not to mention beautiful, full
of integrity, practicality and a social consciousness more realistic than
- Although I instantly recognized the cul de sac in which
I was trapped " sexual pleasure " it has now taken me many months
for the logic of Osho's advice to sink in, and I'm still not sure it has.
I yearn to leap out of the cul de sac, to go beyond it, yet can't quite
bring myself to do it.
- But as I begin to discern the fuzzy, confusing border
between desire and real love, and how habits and expectations can become
objectionable and even destructive if they're not consciously reevaluated
on a regular basis, it becomes clear to me that this is not just my problem
with an overimaginative libido I have used to numb my frustrations over
my inability to impact this world in a worthwhile and profitable way.
- It is also the general problem of the human species and
how each of us relates to the world.
- We seek to take pleasure from it, and don't furnish the
reverence and respect and appreciation necessary to make any love thrive.
- Do I really love her enough to forego what gives me pleasure
in order to understand who and what it is I love? Do we really love the
earth enough to transcend our petty proclivities and try to understand
what it is we're all doing here?
- Silly stuff, huh? Comparing my love life to the degeneration
of the planetary environment that enables us to live in the first place.
- Maybe not so silly. Maybe surprisingly germane at a pivotal
time in human history.
- You need only look at what we have done to the world.
Turned the Garden of Eden into a toxic waste dump. Doesn't that sound a
lot like f***ing it instead of loving it? And isn't that what has happened?
- At least in America, and perhaps in many locations around
the world, we are suffocating in an endless electronic avalanche of prurient
images deftly designed to make us covet an alluring array of essentially
unnecessary items: toxic creams to keep our skin from wrinkling, automobiles
that every year look more and more like penises, drugs that prevent us
from remembering we are desperate and depressed from buying all these products
that keep us from looking at ourselves.
- All of these items are expressly designed to keep us
from looking " really looking " at ourselves.
- And while we Botox, Lexus and Prozac the scary shadows
from our faces in the mirror, in the deafening silence of our distractions
we cannot hear the fish screaming in pain as they leap from the ocean preferring
suicide to life, or see the dead peasants on the road to Baghdad covered
with flies and maggots in the dust, ominous monuments to our refusal to
leave the cul de sac of our own self-deceptive delusions.
- We let the world go by, preferring to hide in our orgasms
of distracted delight and misleading ourselves into believing that these
will last forever if we can just purchase the right product.
- As long as you remain in the cul de sac of your own habits,
expectations and desires, the world will not be cured of this manic affliction
known as the human ratrace.
- Most of us see only two ways out of this existential
dilemma: through God or with money.
- Some of those who choose God turn their backs on the
sweaty, filthy, bleeding world and fantasize that their piety and self-proclaimed
purity will protect them from the wrath of Jehovah (or whomever) when their
mortal coil inevitably unsprings. It is they who create God as the Evil
One, their protector and anesthesiologist who will cuddle their immortal
souls while they pretend they don't hear the gunfire in their own neighborhoods,
much of it generated by members of their own congregations.
- Even those who choose to serve God for the right reasons
do a disservice to Him by focusing on their own salvation rather than on
the suffering of others, and I'm certain He doesn't like that.
- Some of those who choose money insulate themselves from
their own guilt by surrounding themselves with luxuries that titillate
the senses and forestall self-analysis, reasoning that if they can stay
distracted right up to the departure point and then just step in front
of a bus they won't really have to worry about anything else.
- But these two avenues both really lead to the same cul
de sac, and as the whole world crowds down them, seeking sweet security
in one form or another, the very conditions of the planet which sustain
their lives, and their distractions, continue to disintegrate, and the
only purpose of their perfumed escapes becomes a shortcut to self-destruction.
Death by suffocation in the cul de sac.
- So we endure the mocking lies of George W. Bush and his
ill-bred ilk, who dissemble and get away with it because no one has the
moral courage to challenge them in a straightforward way. We watch the
world burn and the people die and shrug our shoulders, rationalizing that
this is all horrible stuff, but that there is nothing we can do about it:
the momentum of the system, all five thousand years of it, is just too
powerful for one person to confront.
- So we might as well either hide in our self-created depictions
of heaven or laugh as long as we can and let the devil take the rest. Well,
that is what is happening. The devil is taking the rest.
- In the Book of Wisdom, Osho relates: "... unless
you go into your suffering, you cannot be released from the imprisonment
- Please allow me to redact that down to the present political
situation on Planet Earth. "Unless you see that the 9/11 tragedy was
unleashed by the very people you pretend to trust most, there is absolutely
no hope that you will ever live in a humane or just world, and you might
as well shoot your children right now before you give your government the
chance to do it for you."
- Unless we see our suicidal course as a species as a direct
manifestation of the way we are living and seeking material distractions
rather than trying to find a worthwhile purpose for our lives, none of
the dire situations that threaten our peace of mind and our existence are
ever going to be resolved.
- On the other hand, if you completely ignore the money
situation and let your systems disintegrate while you are preaching about
possible paths to peace, as I have, you run the risk of not being able
to preach another day.
- Perhaps this is my way out of the cul de sac. Sneaking
out through the bottom on that day next week when they repossess my car
and home, and worse, shut off my computer hookup. But at least I got to
say what I wanted to say.
- Back to Osho: "A new journey has started in your
life, you are moving into a new kind of being " because immediately,
the moment you accept the pain with no rejection anywhere, its energy and
its quality changes. It is no longer pain.
- "One cannot believe that suffering can be transformed
into ecstasy, that pain can become joy. Whenever anything is total it turns
into its opposite.
- "This is a great secret to be remembered. Whenever
something is total it changes into its opposite, because there is no way
to go any further; the cul-de-sac has arrived. Watch an old clock with
a pendulum. It goes on and on: the pendulum goes to the left, to the extreme
left, and then there is a point beyond which it cannot go, then it starts
moving towards the right.
- "Opposites are complementaries. If you can suffer
your suffering in totality, in great intensity, you will be surprised ...
you will not be able to believe it when it happens for the first time,
that your own suffering absorbed willingly, welcomingly, becomes a great
blessing. The same energy that becomes hate becomes love, the same energy
that becomes pain becomes pleasure, the same energy that becomes suffering
- All of which is to say ... we must accept that the world
is not what those who manipulate us say it is. And in confronting the continuing
horrors that are perpetrated in our names, the recognition of it will lead
not only to the cessation of these horrors, but to the knowledge of why
we allowed them to happen.
- As long as we stay in the cul de sac, we will never know
what hit us when the end comes.
- So ... did I get the girl? Well ... I don't know yet.
My damn pants are caught on the iron-spike picket fence surrounding the
cul de sac, and I'm dangling from the top.
- I do know she's out of the cul de sac and running free,
and I also know that if I'm going to catch her, and really love her, that
I have to understand why and where she's running, and not try to corral
her into some predictable cul de sac of my own desires.
- It's the same with the future of our world. It doesn't
look good, but it's too early to tell. One thing's sure: we have to stop
trying to shape it into an object of our own desire, and hear what it is
telling us, where it is leading us, rather than abusing it by making it
a prop to keep us from confronting the shadows in our own faces.
- The earth, like the woman I love, is not a product to
be used to fulfill our own selfish and ultimately delusional desires. She
is a purpose that it is our distinct privilege and honor to try and discover.
But if we stay in the cul de sac of desire, distraction, and deception,
there's no chance we ever will.
- John Kaminski is the author of "America's Autopsy
Report," a collection of his Internet essays published by Dandelion
Books. To order, click http://www.johnkaminski.com/