Enjoy your godlessness! Practice new-found freedoms, find out for yourself just how meaningless life really is, learn to love the absence of obligation to think deep thoughts, not that you ever did, though adding God to the stew did seem to add some dimension, some heft to the flat, banal, daily grind… it didn’t of course, but it felt like it, because we believed it. Now that belief is gone, enjoy the almost unbearable freedom of being without strings, without meaning, without illusions! It is the mind’s appetite for meaning, after all, that makes us such suckers for illusion. And if you just sit and savor the emptiness, the absence of meaning for a while, you may find it intensely meaningful. Yup, we’re living in a parabox. And I am really starting to like it. I for one enjoy tripping through my days, disappointments, annoyances, chores, flights of fancy, total immersion, sudden epiphany, quiet mindfulness – what was I thinking? NO IDEA. none. Life is just packed with sensation, every throbbing moment.
I think Buddhists get too hung up on impermanence. Nothing’s real, they say, if it isn’t eternal. Tough crowd! That’s their standard? Permanence? That roller coaster ride may not last forever, thank God! (it’s English, I’m gonna use it), but when you’re cleaning the puke out of your ears (don’t ask), you may be hard to persuade that it wasn’t real. And sometimes, impermanence can be a comfort. “This, too, shall pass” is an acknowledgement of how real your pain is, not how nonexistent. Nobody exclaims, “This can’t be happening!” unless it very much is, happening. So, nothing’s real, but as long as it’s happening, it doesn’t matter. With deep shit like that, who needs God?
There are of course pragmatic aspects to reality, like linguistics, if you put the “is” back in there. Language is us, it’s the default mapping app of our operating system. Bake a cake, build a house, we can verbally map it so virtually anyone else can go there. But the map has to match the territory, and unfortunately, the brain does not distinguish between ideas and objects, that’s what banana peels are for, or as Lord Buckley used to say, “who do you think was driving while you were away?” Too obscure? Language is dangerous – it gives delusions wings, and an afterburner. For example, “Dave will never be happy with Ginger, he’s Gemini, she’s Libra” is a map without a territory. Take “I made a resolution to lose weight.” Weight relates to territory, but what is a resolution? God only knows, but she’s not talking until after we die? Send me flowers while I’m livin’ is my attitude. Seriously, the territory we need to map is the body/mind operating system, and it’s rapidly becoming “terra cognita” thanks to neurology and related disciplines. Where was I? Oh, yeah, resolution; so, where are the levers to this system? Weight is not a lever, it’s a consequence of uncontrolled impulses. We know almost nothing about impulse control, “lever”, “impulse”, “control”, “resolution” are metaphors that have meaning to us, but the mind is smarter than we in some ways; it seems to “know” that “meaning” is just another label for “illusion”. To simply “resolve” something is not enough; in order to be successful, resolutions must be deconstructed into commands the operating system can recognize, smells, touch, hunger and habit. That’s where we need to put the “is” – where it presently isn’t. We need a stack of new metaphors on which to build roads into the undiscovered country of our true selves. Godless and free of illusion (I know, I know!!! reality is a fluid construct, neither wave nor particle, work with me willya?), we can map out a territory of evolutionary truth and neurologic fact, tempered with the humility of inadequacy and the empathy and love of a fundamental humanism that is the best working response to the yawning chasm that opens beneath us whenever awareness floods in to fill the void we call sleep, the constant companion of consciousness, nameless terror. Nothingness, the Old Same Place, I read somewhere. My hope is that we can manage ourselves, minister to ourselves better, starting today. The best thing LRH (L. Ron Hubbard) ever said was, “If it’s not true for you, it’s not true.” Consider this hypothetical exchange,
“Hey, Frank, what’s been goin’ on?” “You mean, other than the usual crap?” “Yeah, sure, skip the preamble.” “Well, I think I may have succeeded in leaving a marker on the parasympathetic side of my appetite loop.” “No way! That could be the answer to your weight problem, right? How did you access that? Meditation?” “No, and mind you, this is all highly tenuous and metaphoric, but there’s been a real change. What I did was, I left a posthypnotic suggestion to go into a lucid state when dreaming about food, and I saw – no, I felt – my appetite and put like a tab on it so it would snag my attention and give me a chance to make a decision rather than just reacting. Ever since I did that, whenever I think of having a snack, I imagine the thing, like a donut or whatever, but now the satisfaction comes from making a decision about it, not from indulging the impulse. Does that make sense?” ”Sure as shit does! I’ll try that pathway and see if I can get it to work for me.”
And that, friends, is Tactical Linguistics. Baby steps, but perseverance furthers, as the I Ching advises us ad nauseam. So far, my successes have been largely accidental, but significant. I no longer suffer from sleep apnea, simply because I posed the question, “If I can lie in bed and breathe normally, why do I choke when I sleep?” Then, in lucid dreams, I would say to myself, “Hey dumbass, you’re not gargling here, so open up your throat and breathe right!” And after a few times, it took! And if I can do it…..