The Inner Fascist
Every stern thing we think or say about another has its roots in our own dissatisfaction. The mirror is perfect: as outside, so inside.
What would it be like if we trusted other people enough to let them go? By ‘trust’ I don’t mean ‘approve of’ or ‘Oh, I know they won’t do me some petty harm’ – we can never know that… by ‘trust’ I mean, let it be OK for friends and relations to stumble about behaving, we think, idiotically; without trying to rescue them, improve them, make them better, put them on the right track – even in casual conversation, behind their backs. Even in our own private monologues conducted behind the shutters of our open eyes.
Would the world fall apart? Or would we fall apart ourselves, showing the bones?
I’ve been pondering this after listening lately to how much conversation – by email, in person, in books, on the phone, between self and lover, and inside myself – so, presumably, world-wide – is about how regrettable it is that So-and-So behaves like this, and Such-and-Such doesn’t see that perfectly obvious thing; what a perennial idiot Whozis is, knocking over women like ninepins via a series of deep-felt hit-and-run affairs (this last I refuse to judge, but I do judge the judger). How awful it is that in a certain branch of my huge family people criticize each other a lot (whilst in another they fairly sing with joy in each other’s quirks) – how Deedlebobber keeps shooting himself in the foot, and when will he ever stop?
We might, after parsing over this with someone on the phone in tones of gracious pity, or half-withheld scorn, or liberal mild regret – have a second of inner questioning – of doubt – ‘let he who hath no sin cast the first stone -‘ but we don’t examine that. That would take time; and we are busy (so busy!); tools for inner digging, and we’ve been given none; an eye to our own heart’s aching – and we have pulled the blinds over our heart’s fullness of purpose –
to be a heart, big or small (they’re all big) – ache or delight. To a heart, you see, delight hath ache and ache hath delight – and both would command our full attention while they are there.
Every improvement we would make on another, however casually, leads back in tiny fine rootlets or sturdier fat roots into our very marrow – the slights and aches and impossibilities of our lives and those of our families that we have shouldered, trusting our own selves to carry them.
I’m bringing this up because a scientific point has occurred to me: undoubtedly huge wealths of energy are bound up in this protective habit of humankind – judging and setting right the world – and I’m wondering what would happen if, overnight, through some miracle, nobody did it anymore.
Suppose we trusted people – even children, even teenagers, even our own spouses and lovers – to just be themselves?
When I was seventeen and thereabouts, my mother trusted me enough to let me have love affairs and even a boorish live-in; to hitchhike across the country with my little sister; to fly to a foreign country; to live, in other words – to live. Her very trust made me trustworthy. I made hellish errors, yes, mostly in relationships, but not totally hellish; and I learned from them – oh, did I learn.
My gratefulness came to me in a dream two nights ago where I clasped her frail old body to mine – for in her age, she had fallen – and our two hearts met and went into each other and I told her ‘I love you more than anybody else in the whole world! I love you so much -‘ and I could feel, in her heart, her her-ness – how she too is just a female in a body being herself – and that people who are very different can still meet in a fusion of love so sweet – so sweet – it takes over all things for that time….
I told her this on the phone next day and my heart had a hard time letting its door be big enough to let it all out -. And she gasped and said that this dream filled some space she had that was just right for it.
I’m still amazed at how she trusted me and how I staunchly proved her right – however long it took is not the point.
And so – on a subtler level – how much do we trust each other to live our lives well? We tend to think everybody should be like us – have our particular path… and yet, of course, we don’t trust ourselves either. We criticize, blame, harangue our own dear selves night and day. ‘You should have… you ought to… you’re an idiot if you don’t…’ So we neither live our lives especially well, nor think anyone else can. Suppose we just gave up and let it all be in handless hands bigger than ours, that we can’t see and that (every moment) might very well not be there at all? Do we really have a choice? What effect has all this rearranging of priorities for everyone we aren’t even in the same body as? Is it perhaps like a bunch of drying, dying gnats twisting and spinning on some cosmic windowsill, thinking they can change the direction the sun might shine from next day? If only the sun would listen to impeccable reason? And if it won’t – well, we’ll tell the next gnat about it, when the sun has gone to bed.
Suppose we respected people’s timing? If one looks at the world like a Buddhist, say – with the notion that ll are going to become enlightened in the course of their incarnations – what business is it of ours if it takes someone ten or two hundred more lives?
But I see it a bit differently: as a retired psychic reader and (gasp) therapist, I would always hold a person’s feet or hands in silence for a long time, resting, then receiving, then plumbing… and in each, deep down, the beauty – managing to be somehow both utterly unique, and belonging to the Whole – would be found shining in the depth like a jewel, shimmering with glad glory.
Is it not a person’s own business how long (if time exists) it takes her to realize what she has underfoot? Under rib? Under tummy?
Why should I even concern myself about it?
I’m writing this too as part of my inner enquiry. I live, for better or for worse (and I use lots of energy being ashamed of this fact) in the Midwest – just now. I was pleased to discover that a surprisingly large number of great poets have hailed from these measured and prosaic regions – but I’ve not met many of them – though I can’t say I’ve met none, for I have – but in the day-to-day I know that I am guilty of a huge judgmentalness towards the souls flapping about me on their daily rounds, and whom I almost never see since I rarely leave our plains-huge house except for walks. Their perceived shallowness upsets me – I sit in judgement on their diets, their shapes, their complacency.
During a very vigorous meditation recently I beat them all up (being aware of one’s own judgments is actually much easier if one first addresses them with complete passion during the safety of a meditation) and here’s what i discovered: I’m mad at them because I want something from them, and they are not giving it to me. I want attention, energy – I want them to buy my art, my jewels – I want them to want my (gasp again) poetry. And they don’t – they don’t even, unnatural women that they are, line up for palm readings or tarot!
You see – I could go on and on – as people do – and what I’m really crying is: I’m a hungry mouth! Give me food! And if you don’t, fuck you!
There is a beautiful, effective little exercise any two intimates can try: and if you can find a third to sit near as witness and umpire, all the better:
Timed precisely, each person has five minutes to talk to the other about his own experience of the relating without ever using the word ‘you’. Only ‘I’ is allowed; and any attempts to squirrel that ‘I’ around into a subterranean ‘you’ are called by the umpire.
The other is to remain quiet, just listening… and then she has her turn. And, after, they thank each other, and share how all of it felt – to listen, to speak.
It’s magnificent – I recommend it. The beauty of pulling all that helpless junk back inside and submitting it to the heartspace of the true ‘I’ – ah, what a breath of relief it is!
Blame is a thing. It comes out of the solar plexus in hot arrows, and it penetrates the other, who naturally enough doesn’t want it and will either throw it back or give it to someone else. (The Buddha used to wander about the province of Bihar with his disciples, and of course many people came to see him. Once a man stood before him and insulted him at length. Buddha bowed and made a gesture as if to hand him something, saying ‘thank you for the gift; but I have no need of it today – you may have it back.’ The beauty of this story, to me, is not only the Buddha’s cleverness but his equanimity – for who among us remains inwardly calm when judged/discussed/insulted/harangued/ etc etc? We seem to feel our very identities are on the line… as they are; for who among us knows her own, or if she even has such a thing? Really?)
But I don’t intend this as a rant on blame – since I’m not feeling blamey – but rather as a standing-back-and-examining how much energy might be tied up in all this. I’m concerning myself, just now, with the interesting notion of what it might be like if we all became aware how much energy we use to improve the world behind its back. Then, if it’s not asking too much, where that energy came from in us.
In me, I mean.
As an ex-therapist, I have an eye to people’s layers, distresses, and, even more dangerously – their potential healing. For I’ve been a healer… and worked hard and long and much; and seen results mindblowing; as well as people who frustratingly recover their grousing within a week… and by the finally lifesaving necessity of coming back to me in all that healerhood, I’ve had to drop saving the world. It wasn’t easy – I felt I was abandoning small children.
But we’re all small children, and we’re all abandoned.
What would it be like to just leave us all to our fate inside myself?
Respect our timing – as future-voyageurs or geologists of the inner? Respect our privacy for gods’ sake? – for when we criticize or even inspect, don’t we intrude also? Unless specifically invited?
What – out of scientific curiousity – would happen if I don’t even bother to find it regrettable how fucked up everyone is?
If I just, like, shine about in my house minding my own business? And if I don’t like someone, just wander away if they accost me? And if I find it necessary to be kind to them and thus annoy myself, forgive myself for that too?
How much energy would be released by non-interference?
I have heard the Master say, ‘Do whatever you like – just don’t interfere in anyone else’s life.’ (That right there covers Hitler et al.) Can you see the comets all over the earth rising from this unfed force for blame – rising freed and final – rising forever – rising hot and hot – rising atonished and joyful and then, maybe, cool as anything – when they finally breach the atmosphere and find out what they’ve become??