A Place to Pivot

I was thinking of gurus today. Follower energy. The desire to be led. Gurus and their followers being a manifestation of that energy, that passivity. Maybe that lack of energy.

Gurus give answers, right? Direction. So they absolve their disciples, their students, whatever word you use, of some responsibility, the responsibility to act, to decide to act and to act. The only action becomes the giving over of that responsibility.

Does that make sense?

You say, I’m lost and confused and I don’t think I can find my way out. Well I do, says the Guru. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. That’s not the point. That’s not what we were asking for, was it?

So we say, Okay. You drive. You take the reins. You decide which fork we should take. It’s okay. I’ll follow. Following is nice. You get to look at the scenery. You get to think, At least I’m not the one who has to make choices, who has to come to a decision.

The real teacher would say, But you do have to choose. You do have to decide.

The real teacher probably wouldn’t have taken the reins in the first place. She knows better. She isn’t going to let us off so easy. Those teachers are hard to find. They don’t put up ads looking for students. They aren’t counting on you to pay the bills or keep a few potatoes in the pot.

At the doctor’s office, I have follower energy. Cheerful helpful follower energy. I’m nice to everyone – very grateful, very humble – then the doctor shows up and I remember why I’m here. It’s not about being nice to people who are busy and stressed. It’s not about shining a little light. It’s about me. I want an answer.

It’s good to see that! Good to know it. At least then you can begin to tease out the false and the true. You can laugh at yourself – look at me, I want a guru! I don’t care so much about what’s happening to my heart or why I have this headache. To me, whatever is happening inside my body is just a symbol of some deeper problem, some estrangement, some separation or divide.

It’s a spiritual thing. I can feel it in the doctor’s presence, the same as a priest, the same as a good lecturer on Christ. What is this brokenness? And how are you going to fix it?

The doctor has her computer, her charts. She has her busyness, her own affairs. I knew a priest who listened to confessions thinking about his mother. He was never there with the sinner begging for mercy. There’s a real awareness, a real intelligence that’s called for. And it’s hard, very hard. I’m not telling you I have it. Don’t think that.

If you knew the Answer, the Absolute, would you sell it? If you could free everybody – if you knew how to – would you market the solution? Travel around wearing a white robe, always speaking with a replica Ming vase of lilies nearby?

Everything is for sale but the name of God. It’s true.

It could be this, says the doctor. Could be that. Let’s run this test. Take this pill for a month and that one for two months. Come back in thirty days. That can go on for years! It already has.

Today’s lesson in A Course in Miracles says, “These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the magazines I see in this rack, the dog I see on the street, the clouds I see in the sky.”

Tara Singh says, If you could understand the truth of that lesson – really grasp it for just one second, then you would be enlightened.

This morning at 4 a.m. the sky was filled with stars, and every few minutes one of them would go sailing away, falling with a bright flash over the horizon. It can mean anything you want it to mean. God is coming, God is here.

In 4 a.m. darkness, starlight on what snow remains in early January, the dogs follow me. We stumble through the field towards the pond, listening to the wind. They walk nose down, I walk head up, staring at the sky.

I asked myself, What do I want from the doctor today?

The answer: Peace. Peace and a place from which to pivot.

Peace – okay. Let that go. Everybody knows what peace is.

But what does that mean – a place from which to pivot? That’s weird.

It means a space in which one can suddenly and totally and emphatically change. Not change appearances or diets, but be made anew. Born again. Not the slow transition inside the chrysalis – quicker. Shedding the past, the future, time, every last symbol of the beholden.

It’s an old dream, older than the one that leaves you singing about being a poor wayfaring stranger.

Probably gurus mean well. Doctors, too. Most of them anyway, don’t you think? After all, we create them. We want answers and healing and somebody has to do it. Follower energy begets leader energy. It’s a law.

But if all that’s true, ask why we never get to Peace or Love, why we’re never healed. The doctor today was great, very funny, full of the crackling energy of the universe, just like those shooting stars, but no peace. No place to pivot.

Why not?

Come home, make tea. Take a nap, try to write. Come back to it again. Who is blessing who? Do I have it wrong?

Pivot from what? To what?

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