When You Fall, Get Right Back Up

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I slept like the dead these past two days, giving in to my body’s demand for reconnection to both the grounding of cellular reality and the votive healing of dreams. The sun and the stars vaulted overhead twice before my eyes stopped the light and measured time once again. The fever and the coughing had receded and my throat felt dry. I got up to get a glass of water.

It was very reassuring to read both Pica’s and Numenius’ reactions to the seminar they both attended. Seeing people gather and talk about how to solve the problems encourages me to keep up hope. Part of the difficulty for me is that even though I know that there must be similar gatherings going on here in Japan, I find them hard to locate because my Japanese reading is poor, rendering me practically illiterate in a country of people rated among the most literate in the world. At the same time there is little sense of urgency here. Most people hardly refer to any big issues when conversing. A nation of people in complete denial, even though their prime minister is sending troops to Iraq against the wishes of 90% of the populace, the economy has been in a 12-year slump, and their precious landscape is going to ruin, mainly because of government farm subsidies which render nearly half the farms unattended to, indiscriminate government sponsored road construction, and complete lack of imagination when coming up with schemes to revive local economies. Because there is so little protest going on and grassroots movements are so insular and are actively discouraged by the government and social mores, it is difficult to make a stand on any issues. While politicians yearly inundate neighborhoods with blaring election campaigns from loudspeakers mounted on vans driving through the local streets (something I can’t imagine an American or European town would tolerate), citizens who protest are openly derided on the news as being “too noisy” and “dangerous”. Even one of my close Japanese friends, when I took her to her first anti-war demonstration in 2003, voiced almost hysterical fear of “the mob” before she experienced the peaceful bonding that often occurs in such gatherings. All because of a lifelong subjection to a government-favoring education and society, promoted entirely by a very conservative government.

I’ve been trudging through emotional mud since the American election, trying to find some redeeming bit of news to give me reason to feel I can still trust the human race. It seems as if the world is descending into hell, and that we are teetering on the edge of the anihilation. It is all bathed in pain and I thrash about in my words like a fish snagged by a hook. I am so angry. I am so hurt. I struggle with the urge to hate, though I have no idea which face it is that I am supposed to hate. The Iraq war, the political climate, the threat of nuclear bombs, the impending collapse of the sky and oceans, the holocaust of other living things, even the danger to the very food and water we consume… How can we maintain sanity with such an overwhelming doom-sense hanging over us?

Hate is simply a knee-jerk protest against pain. Surely I have matured enough to draw the pain nigh and encompass it? Surely I can learn from this pain and evolve within the moral landscape? Surely there must be a way to evoke recognition of the fundamental common denominator of being children of this planet? Surely it cannot all be debatable, that there exist some universal truths that cannot be denied?

It is so easy to forget that the TV snatches only a smattering of the leaves of reality fluttering through the air. And like trying to catch snowflakes, you only get a tiny collection of insights into all that is happening. All you can know is the little that your senses bring you, and even that is selected by corridors of concentration.

I glanced up just now at the stillness of the branches and leaves outside the window, burning yellow in the November evening sunlight. Amidst the stillness scribed a hawk moth, wings blurred and hot, all energy tight and focused on the white camellia blossoms she touched and whirled around. She was like a restless scholar with her nose buried in a book, life too short and precious for anything else. An orange-brown speck in my eye, her feeding swept through the moment in an angry delight, arriving out of the air for those traces of sugar, then darting off towards whatever tendrils of taste she followed, out of sight. There and back again, with nary even a word of greeting.

These four years have eaten away at the roots, both in my personal life and in the life of the commons. Sometimes I shiver before opening the front door. But it is all momentary and there is nothing else. You might start by loving, intensely and with all urgency, your immediate surroundings. Recognize that they will soon pass and that nothing will ever again hold quite this shape or pattern. So that when we look up and look further, it is all connected and one, a matrix of pulsing energy and, yes, the glue of love. For what else is life and the world but the congelation of grace?

It is grace that I seek when I scramble for hope.

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