01 April, 2017

If at first you don't fricassee...

... let it go, read Ann Lamott, and fry a hen.

V'YKR: and He calls

To you what might seem like "overthinking" is to me attempting to make the best possible use of the powerful CPU G-d gave me.

In over thirty years of continuous education, thanks to an "unlimited" attention span, the strong intellectual foundation homeschooling offered, and the freedom of thought afforded by a liberal higher education, i've learned a little bit about an awful lot of things and thought long and hard. I define the limits of a single thought in book-length terms - and when it comes to having a Christian conversion experience, i could write a book. A really interesting book. Would you have a brain hiccup if i proposed the thought that Judaism and Hinduism have two different names for what you call the presence of the Holy Ghost, and that it can be described in specific terms in relation to neuroscience and psychiatry?

There are things one can’t undo: life has no delete key, and once something is on the internet, for better or worse, it’s part of human consciousness. A truly well-crafted utterance - a.k.a. good art - might just become part of collective memory: this is what i strive toward, art made in good faith. For things one can’t undo, there is grace and forgiveness. 

There are also things one can’t unsay. When security guards ask if i am carrying any weapons, my standard response is, “just my words, but i try not to use them that way.” I invite you to share this practice of mindful communication with me. I agree to refrain from words you find offensive if you will prayerfully make an effort to understand the ways in which "abomination" might apply to you as well, and agree never to drop the A-bomb in our conversation. I forgive you for things you’ve said that cut me deeply, and hope you can do the same. That we are still listening to each other is hopeful. I dare say we are already better at communicating than we used to be. 

Then there are things one can’t unthink, for which there are no remedy. Christ teaches us that thought is morally equivalent to action, thus i believe as a Christian i should strive toward right thought - but in a free society, right thought is a matter on which i seek guidance from G-d, not from family members. Paradoxically, the person toward whom i first experienced a sexually impure thought was also the person who showed me how to perform mikvah. Thoughts arise and pass on this stream of consciousness, and creative practice for me is about deciding which ones to share, how, and with whom. 

Today's big a-ha - did i mention i'm still very actively learning? - is that my father, sister, and brother are all unique individuals. (D'oh, David, d'oh.) I have invited my father to share in a practice of sitting meditation, and that he engages with me in this - while bringing his own meaning to it - is spiritually nourishing to me. We're sharing culture on a level i never imagined possible. Meanwhile, engaging my two siblings requires different rubric approaches. But practice makes fluency.

Practice makes fluency: This is a concept i encountered in music, applied in language learning, and later realized applies to pretty much any behavior including self-punishing and self-destructive ones. Existential crises do not tend to make one love being alive.

Thanks be to G-d, i survived this far. In Judaism there's a blessing for that, a blessing for new experiences, and i'd like to share it with you.