"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

12 December 2010

Reptile Zen and the Tao of Chaos

I first really came to accept the concept of chaos when I was around twenty-four. Between my own experiences and personal tragedies and observing a world, which could be simultaneously beautiful and horrifying, it made perfect sense. Order was an illusion.

The first tattoo I ever got was of a yin and yang within the star of chaos, surrounded by flames. The symbolism was simple; trying to strike balance within the reality of chaos. Those flames spoke of how fire and destruction are the very womb of creation. The universe was born in an explosion, after all.

Fourteen years later, that symbolism is a truth I still cling to. I was once told if I was going to get drawings made upon my flesh in black India ink, it better be something that means something to me. There is not a single mark on body that doesn't still hold some degree of meaning.

Philosophically, the far, far eastern schools appealed to me. Taoism, with both Sun and Lao Tzu respectively. Buddhism, was the more spiritual aspect of it, although, that at its heart is just a philosophy. I can still remember the dreams I had with a decided Buddhist flavor to them and I would say for years after that was my religious experience.

I've always been solitary in my spiritual/philosophical practice. Well, I'm not an establishment kind of guy, for one. It also seemed to me such things are felt and experienced head, heart, and gut. The rituals and temples and other trappings were merely stage props. Fetters.

It was around a year ago I was reading John Muir, along with some scientific works, when Sabina first made the crack that when we were out on walkabout, we were in church. I found that made sense. There was a certain kind of peace I could find out on the trail, which certainly seemed to border upon a kiss from the Divine. This is when I started investigating Pantheism again for the first time since when I was studying theology.

I was finding that this was when my spirituality/philosophy was starting to go through a bit of an evolution anyway, which is something I believe a thinking individual does; reassessing and reevaluating their position and viewpoints as new information becomes available. It seems the only sane course of action. Stagnation leads to extinction, after all. Along with the acquisition of new bits of knowledge, I think some of this was brought on simply by the experiences of growing older.

Then my mother went and got sick, sick and ultimately died. Almost a year later, one of my best friends was killed in an accident. Those two things alone are enough to have one question their perception of how things are and reassess. My sister, in context of my mother, would speak of being angry with her god, whilst I spoke of chaos and the Noble Truth of suffering.

I could be called a Taoist, because of the concept of wuwei. Non-action. Effortless doing. Going with the flow, but not disturbing it. In using my own words; sitting back and listening to the rhythms and rhymes of the cosmos. Or, perhaps that proclamation I made to the empty small hours atmosphere as I traveled through the Rub 'al Khali of the badlands of eastern Colorado when my mother died;

"I cast my lot to the winds of chaos."

I could be called a Buddhist, because of understanding and accepting impermanence. Practicing mindfulness and understanding suffering and samsara. To me, there is an empirical practicality to the philosophy, which makes such perfect sense.

I could be called a Pantheist, because of the perceived divinity as nature and the universe. Feeling in touch with the Divine whilst on walkabout, or gazing upon the peaks or the stars. Nature is amazing. The universe is awesome. Its magic is always there, if one knows how to look, even though it's not fireballs and thunderbolts spoken of in mythologies and other fairy stories. Here I see a sort of synthesis of mystic and science, faith and reason, I've always tried for.

However, I do not like labels, and establishments offend me. These are dog and pony shows, which are ultimately unnecessary. It is naive, silly, and insulting to try and pigeonhole the Divine beneath a single Voodoo mask. One, which, in some belief systems, plays favorites with a species of half-bald primates. Its much too big for that.

The three I've mentioned I can groove with and synchronistically incorporate into my liquid mercury-shifting spirituality/philosophy. I no longer think theology is an appropriate term, because what I strive for is more a way of thinking and being. A way of life.

Were I pressed to conceptualize the this into labeled Voodoo mask for those playing the home game, I would call it Reptile Zen and the Tao of Chaos. Such a title, aside from maybe being a little catchy, seems to make the most sense. Well, at least to me. And somehow, I find myself at peace with that.

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