Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Guru the Desert

I'm back in the Moab, Utah area, living in the canyon.

West Coast Coasting

The last I wrote here, I was in Arcata, Cali, on my way from San Fran to toward Portland, OR. But then the wind blew me another direction. I had emailed my parents telling them my cousin said my uncle in the Bay area might not survive through the winter, and my parents decided to rush on out to see him. So I decided to hitch back to the Bay area for the mini fam reunion.

On my way down, I took a detour to visit my friend, Dan, in Ft Bragg. I was so glad I did. We went through a lot of processing about our mutual friend, Ayla, who had killed herself a year & a half ago. Some of you who've gotten my mass e's from that time might remember that Ayla was one of the folks traveling in our "moneyless tribe" about 5 years ago.

My parents, my Uncle Louis & Aunt Edith, my twin cousins Annie & Sue and their families, plus my 2nd cousin Lauren (who also happened to be passing through), all had a little family reunion. I was glad I decided to go. Life is short & precious.

After much debate, I decided I didn't want to be in Portland for the rainy season, so I decided to go back to Colorado with my parents, and then back here to Moab. I have a piece of my heart in Portland, so it was hard deciding.

Desert Chaos & Order

So I headed back into the canyon for the first time since last June. The canyon here looks very different, from all the floods. And not only that, there was a fire where the cave is - so it looks nuked. But it felt kinda good seeing it cleansed like that. When I got just about to the cave, a coyote appeared about 50 yards from me! He was playfully poking into bushes, like dogs do, and he totally didn't notice me. I stood there quietly until he finally turned his head and noticed me. Startled, he trotted to the edge of the burned-out woods. Then he stopped and looked at me curiously for about half a minute, then walked out of site.

Then I looked at the blackened trees, the washed-out dirt, the patterns of ripples & lines on the rocks, sand, and the water. In fact, I tried to pick out a random square inch anywhere, just to see if I could find a single portion of disorder! Go out & try it for yourself. Is there a single square inch outside civilization's boundaries anywhere that is not saturated with pristine order? Actually, every square inch has a baffling balance between order and chaos - in everything, everywhere, constantly. It's perfectly imperfect! It's so perfectly imperfect, it eases the mind from the stress of civilization.

We humans have the strange power to separate the order from the chaos in our minds, which takes effort. So we look around and either see one or the other - either order or chaos - but rarely the two in harmony. And in this separation of order & chaos our minds become either lethargic or stressed out. Then we blame it on chaos and try more & more to erase chaos, and make our world more & more clean & perfect. It's like we're living more & more on sugar, and cutting all else from our diet. But we can only hide chaos like a seed in the ground, where it grows unseen, waiting to come back in grand vengeance. Human representatives of chaos can't stand the sugar anymore and crave challenge, so they rise up in gangs and terrorism and random rebellion and screaming. Our bodies revolt and start strange self-attacking cancers, allergies, and self-defeating mental illnesses. Isn't this Nature's innate sense of vengeance, Nature's rebalancing act, bringing back balance between positive & negative? Chaos wants her rightful place of unity beside Order, and will get it, as long as galaxies roll.

Human minds cannot balance the positive and the negative. Can any human mind truly balance a budget? Can any person balance the environment? Vengeance, pay-back, justice, balance, belongs to Nature, not us. We stole Fire, or Consciousness of Credit & Debt, from Heaven. We took the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. Isn't this the theme of myths in every corner the world?

Back to that playful coyote again. The closer I live with nature, the more I see Nature playful. It's not the dreary, incessant scrounging for survival that most TV nature shows portray it to be. Chaos plays with order, perpetually, forever and ever. Why do bunnies & squirrels & deer run in front of cars, and why do climbers scale mountains and skydivers dive? Is it stupidity or the play of Risk? Playfulness is imbibed into every particle.

Nature is harsh, yet it is gentle and quiet most of the time - and full of grace. Nature doesn't tolerate prolonged suffering, so it knocks out the lame. Thus we call Nature cruel. But it has such a perfect balance of life and death, pleasure & pain, that it keeps all of life interesting & stimulated with challenge, with no room for the mental illnesses & boredom that we suffer within the walls of civilization. Maybe we ought to redefine cruel. In the end, every single one of us life-forms will be smashed, selected away by Nature, as much as civilization tries to fool you that we won't. But if we come to realize there is no separation between chaos & order, won't we know there is no separation between pleasure & pain, life & death? Won't we have discovered what IS?

This can all be translated into religious language, describing the very walk of Faith.