So much about the concept of being “saved” by a divine being must include the recognition that the saving does not happen once. On the spiritual path, which is the path of the warrior, we must recognize we are saved again and again and again. We don’t know things. We walk through a passage of confusion, of toil. And then we emerge, and we know better, and we live in a deeper, more love-filled, holistic way.
TiredChristianity would have you believe Jesus is a one-and-done magic man and then you just get to sit on your ass for a good long while.
And SexyJesus is magic. But his presence is surely not one and done. It is an invitation into a new kind of life. A life of beauty and majesty, what he terms the “kingdom of heaven,” and what I’m calling “the garden of the divine,” because heck, I’m tired of all these images of kings and ruling. That doesn’t work anymore. We see dynasties all over the world failing. They’re run by men, made to benefit men. And Jesus was not a man in the traditional sense. He may or may not have had a penis—we just can’t know—but he was the gentlest and inwardly strongest and most faithful representation of God’s love and truth. And he loved women. And I’m sure he grieves at the way all this shit has gone down after he died.
The thing about “love” is that it’s a word we use all the time and yet we don’t know what it is. Or we don’t know how to describe it. Our language is so limited. What love is, is the essence of all things. It is what Kahlil Gibran says about children, I think: love is “life’s longing for itself.” It is what we find when we continue to peel back layer after layer of what we call sin, of what we call shame, of what we call time. It is the truth of existence, which is good, and whole, and holy.
It is not, as many would have you believe, about control, about exerting control over others. Love may include a life of being disciplined, and it requires practice and openness. It certainly involves egolessness. But it is not about strategizing what someone should or should not do, and trying to tailor your actions or emotions based on what you want from another person. That is manipulation. That is sickness. Having someone do what you want or fulfill a need you put forth is not love—that is contract.
Inherent in love is freedom, is all I’m telling you. It is open air. A lot of people think that to love someone is to have passionate intensity, a craving for that person in your life, a need, a hole. That is not love—it is just an old wound that’s trying to heal. That is hurt disguising itself as love, and you must learn to move through it, and not worship it, and not believe it is the whole truth. If you put your effort into healing and learning, in not shutting yourself down, in a knowledge that life is mostly vast and unknown, every connection becomes a passage that helps you love in a deeper way. That does not mean bowing down at the foot of every person you meet; it does not mean giving all of yourself to a person; it does not mean sacrificing your time and energy and what matters to you for the hint of pleasure or long-lastingness. Neediness and love are quite opposite. Recognize the difference.
At root, true love has to be based in freedom, not contract, because contract or transaction—“I get this, you get this other thing”—is conditional. Love is more like, I’m here. All of me. And I encounter all of you. I am not going to try to control this thing. Let’s just be.
That is a radical departure from ‘Til death do us part.
And yet I think it’s more holy. Whole-y. You get the idea.