Saturday, November 04, 2006

finding God again through yoga and ineptitude

I've been very remiss about things lately, a prime example of what Paul said about doing everything but what we think we should. A dreadful example of it. David from Kwakerskripturestudy was wondering about me, not only because I wasn't commenting there but because I hadn't added anything here either.

Frankly, I'd hoped more people would read what I'd already posted here. But that ain't the way of it; we're writing for the birdcages (no matter how good our stuff is) just like when I published/edited Street Light (an interesting time, while it lasted.) Virtual birdcages, and where are the virtual birds to whitewash them?

Certainly part of this is that I really do love games, even Civilization. Which I think must be a bad influence; I wouldn't be surprised if GW plays it. Next time someone tells you about The Clash of Civilizations, nod wisely and remember this game. Where you meet all this great leaders from the past civilizations of the world, and all of them act like Cheney on speed. A loathsome crew, and how can one cope without being just as vile?

Luckily, virtual soldiers don't bleed. They don't come home in baskets or end up pushing shopping carts. You see them die, leaving nothing behind, but there'll be another just like them any time you reload the game.

We're different. We're manifestations of God. Even manifestations of God playing games while our projects languish and our wives complain that we're "playing That Stupid Game again!"

I haven't been altogether happy with myself.

What's wrong? I really do love to play games; get used to it! I don't want to wake up six months from now and realize that all I've done was to conquer the virtual Chinese and Spanish over and over and over, but I want to learn how this game works, even if it (fairly often) gets boring. Where else can I practice being a human being and see how it works, without harming myself or others? That is, after all, how we're designed to learn, by practice. I'm not sure that learning to be Attila the Hun is the best thing; go teaches better lessons (try!) My go teacher once said, "Improve your character and you'll improve your game 100%", and by now I know exactly what he meant. (Alas!)

I've made some progress on my yoga, not enough because the world keeps impinging, and because I've gotten old and stiff between the ears as well as in my back. I'm having to learn to give up progress, and thus I make progress, all the same. Because the point is to use the postures you can't do anymore, that you've done wrong and neglected and half-forgotten, as prayers for guidance, into what you can do that'll be best for body and mind.

Not getting myself sucked into an Officially Christian Quaker mailing list. I'd enjoyed some back-&-forth with a woman on Quaker-L, who suggested I join, but when I did, I found myself confronted by a demand that I not bother their simple minds unless I agreed to their statement about Jesus' place in our lives. I wasn't even sure what they meant by it, let alone what I would mean if I said it. So I thought about removing myself, and didn't, and six months later, when the Amish were being talked about both there and on the La Jolla Meeting list, I got confused and responded to a post from the wrong list. Oh well, here I am in the midst of them! Pretty soon, I'm defending the Hindu, and the moderator isn't objecting. (I may have had a couple posts dumped; they were either posted or rejected when my server was down the other day.) But I am definitely finding myself Anathema!

That's not good. It doesn't leave one eager to write more. One could be attacked!--One must be careful, not to be misunderstood.

What has been good about it... One person engaged another in an unpleasant, proof-text-quoting attack over his idea of "following Jesus" vs the attacker's notion that Jesus' role was to gain us forgiveness of our sins by sacrificing his life, after which we need do nothing so strenuous (and indeed had better not!)

All this traditional--and utterly senseless--Stuff helped put things back in perspective, gave me something to write about. Only Jesus could save me from this nonsense! There's this Sermon on the Mount, early in Matthew, where he talks about God, how he loves us like a (good) Father, doesn't wish us any harm, does good to us whether we've been bad or good. That makes sense.

We need to believe Jesus here--because it's the truth, and if we don't believe it, we won't know it, and we could get in trouble. People do. They get inflated ideas of their own importance, and of all the silly things they've learned, and it's not that God punishes them--but they do really terrible things to self and others, in this game. They'd be endlessly suffering, stuck in it eternally, if they didn't see through it sooner or later.

Once, having neglected my yoga for too long, I determined to make up for it by a strenuous effort. I'd forced myself into that posture where you lie down between your own heels... and I couldn't get out of it. I panicked, and jerked myself upright, and something went "TWANG!!!" in my lower back. I literally dragged myself onto the living room couch, where I spent the night wondering if I would ever walk again. (But I had the most wonderful feeling of energy lighting up everything from my butt to my brain!) The next day I needed crutches to interview someone for the paper.

I needed to trust God. I needed to pay attention to how things were in that particular moment--not how I wanted to be, but how I was--and accept that, let God show me the right way to work with it. I would have missed an interesting night on the couch, of course.