Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bartleby, Silk and Heroin

What does it feel like to be with you right now? Spiritually speaking, what are you wearing? Many times throughout life I felt I was wearing some sort of distorting instrument of torture with seams in all the wrong places and a lining of burlap or velcro. 

Now, sometimes, experientially speaking, I wear silk. Even while I may be in some degree of pain. Some might say that, in truth, there is nothing but silk. 

In Chinese Jin means silk. I am not a Chinese speaker but to me that sounds a lot like yin. Most likely you’ve heard of yin, maybe you know it signifies the feminine aspect and stands interdependently with yang, the male component. Maybe you know that yang is usually associated with things that are hard and with concerted activity. Yin, on the other hand, is kind of an emptiness, a softness, acceptance, the quality of listening, knowing and discerning. For life to be balanced and for action to be holistically informed there must be a balance between yin and yang. 

I have been pushed my entire life to be something like super yang, as have many since we live in the age of super yang. We have solutions for every discomfort but those solutions are in turn creating more discomfort. Yin, the quality that allows wisdom and acceptance so often associated with spiritual growth, has become terrifying. One might think of Melville’s Bartleby, who refused to do the work he was hired for, because his instinct preferred not to and he refused to betray himself. We are all terrified of this Bartleby, the efforts of yang collapsing into yin. 

Functionally speaking, yang represents earthly efficacy and yin, spiritually efficacy. These two things stand in opposition–when yang is fixated by terror, anyway. Sometimes spiritual efficacy specifically undermines earthly efficacy so that we can recover our true identities as emanations of the divine. One idiom that addresses this relationship is the statement “You want to know how to make God laugh? Make plans.” The reason yang is so crazed and terrified is because of the trauma of forgetting this fact. It is out to manipulate everything into being more pleasurable when the thing that will bring us home may be the discomfort of spiritual separation. The herion addiction that is claiming so many lives now represents the folly of yang impersonating yin, chemically manipulating a sensation that contrives an experience of heaven like something demonic disguised as angelic. 

I hate to tell my relatives and my husband that yin has claimed me and my life is devoted to it. I’ve tried to swim along with the tides of super yang and almost drowned swimming upstream. But the good news is that no matter what suffering this heritage causes me, I will always, in some respect, be wearing silk, as long as I maintain my innocence, I will never abuse another into manipulating themselves or someone else to quell the endless desperation and terror of those who’ve forgotten their innate spiritual abundance, who have no idea they are wearing silk. I would never approach Barrleby with an electric prod or any kind of verbal violence or shaming in order to quell my own terror of not being in control of all that threatens discomfort. 

I urge my desperate family and friends to realize that they too, are, truthfully, wearing robes of silk. I beg you not to be cheated out of your spiritual inheritance. The problem is, we have to go through the eye of the needle in order to realize our treasure, to give up our earthly wealth to open the chamber in which we discover our true legacy. And the more we run from that challenge, the harder it is to undertake. 

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