Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We are Challenge Challenged

I haven't been staying at the canyon cave all week. I'm house-sitting at my friend Roberta's by the Colorado River. She should be back tomorrow.

Shall We Gather at the River?

A lot of good people I know live down here. I might make this area one of my habitats, because I feel more of a sense of community here. Plus, I got a clear sign. Another one of many grand coincidences happened the other day. I was investigating the woods near the river & stumbled upon a beautiful kiva-type structure, half-underground. I thought I'd like to live in it, but then second-thought it belonged to somebody, so I quickly put that thought out of my head. I could build my own somewhere, perhaps, I thought.

The very next day I was bicycling into town & my friend David (whom I hadn't seen since last year) called out to me. He asked me if I was looking for a new place to live. David said he and his twin brother Isaiah had built a kiva-type structure by the river I could move into if I wanted! He had no idea I was just contemplating that idea the day before! Some signs are just so blatant you can't ignore them!

There are other folks living in those woods. One friend is planting a good-size garden & would love for us & some other friends down there make it a community garden. We are envisioning a totally self-sufficient, subversive :-) community.

Don't Sweat the Details

You know that interview Chris Ketcham did with me for Details magazine, that I talked about a couple bloggings ago? I think it's coming out in June, not in May. He says he's coming back to Moab mid-May to maybe do another interview for another magazine.

The Mysterious Ugliness & Beauty of Religion

I'm doing a lot of thinking about different world religions & their scriptures these days. I don't talk about this with most my friends, because it's not interesting to them. But I can't help it, it's a passion of mine. Taste is taste, & how or why should everybody have the same taste?

Scriptures & Religion are like fire. To those who are attracted to them, they can be sublime & powerful. But, also, they are usually in careless hands & get out of hand & end up causing more destruction than good. Even with all the hypocrisy & destruction that come in the wake of religion & scripture, I still have a passion for them - I can't help it, any more than I can't help staying away from using fire. Some creatures get warm at the fire, some are so attracted to it they fly into it to their deaths.

Something is brewing in me about the sublime three-part harmony of the Quran, The Bible, & the Book of Mormon, under the grand conductor-ship of the Buddhist suttras & the Bhagavad Gita. Sometimes I see it as sure as the sun. But other times there is doubt, because the sun also sets. This is what makes it so infinitely & sublimely mysterious & intriguing & so very hard.

Yes, what makes it so hard is there are also discordant & irritating noises, I mean totally un-PC, in the Quran, the Bible, & the Book of Mormon - putrid things that make you want to chuck them back into the dusty cellar. Thus, their one divinely harmonious symphony remains hidden in the dust.

But this is what's so sublime about those scriptures & religions. They're just like people. They are people, full of both attraction and revulsion. The trick is to see religions & philosophy (culture) in the same way we must see each other: full of hideousness and also full of sublimity. Take the good & leave the bad in everything & everybody. If you don't, you might as well not get out of bed in the morning.

When you see somebody as all good or all evil, you then have what psychiatrists call personality disorder. We all have vestiges of personality disorder.

Right, Left, Right, Left, into the Ditch

And that's what's happening to people in droves: we either become discouraged, whining, cynical, suicidal crybabies, because we sometimes have to pick somebody's hair out of our gourmet dinners, or we put on a fake smile & pretend the status quo is perfect. Either our bubble bursts when we find out our romantic partner has flaws, or we maintain a facade relationship. I don't speak as a clueless judge. I myself went through years & years of bored, crybaby, suicidal cynicism, as a reaction against the blind optimism I had had before. Yes, I speak from experience.

We drop our saintly friend when we find out she has hidden rages. We become bitter when we find out Dad & Mom aren't the gods we'd imagined. We find out Jesus or Buddha or Muhammad or Joseph Smith or Krishna were human & maybe even did some atrocious things. So we throw away the Perfect Divine with the flawed package it came in. Yup, we throw out the Baby with the bathwater. Either that or we hide our head in the sand and pretend to see no evil, hear no evil.

Hitler on the right, Stalin on the left. One pretends to see no wrong in Tradition and the other throws away Tradition. One sees everything new as a threat, one sees everything old as a threat. One glorifies Religion and one crushes Religion. One is sickeningly optimistic and one is bitterly cynical. Both are suspicious and hateful toward each other & ultimately toward everybody.

Our very labels, Right Wing and Left Wing, indicate one single Bird. A house divided cannot stand, and this is why our house is falling. Hitler & Stalin are still here, in us, every one of us.

Yeah, both tradition and innovation are hard. But they are joy when they dance together. They wreak havoc when they separate - when they ethnically cleanse themselves from each other.

Immune diseases, Gangs, School Shootings, Wars, Suicides

In our modern age, we have processed everything so much there's no more fun. We want gems without digging for them. We want food pre-processed & pre-packaged so we don't have to hunt for it & prepare it. We want everything explained to us in soundbites so we don't have to think. We can't handle the mysterious parables of tradition nor can we adapt to the newness of progression. We want sterility so our immune systems have nothing to work on anymore.

Over-processing & sterility: this is what both the Right Wing and the Left Wing have in common. Yes, what the Right & Left have in common is their refusal to see that they have anything in common! Ha!

We are unchallenged. Challenge is the backbone of joy. Our muscles of creativity have atrophied so much that the joy of living is gone! Gone! Then we can't figure out why mental illness & immune diseases are so epidemic. We can't figure out why our bodies, for lack of anything else to attack, start attacking themselves with cancers & immune diseases. We can't figure out why our brains go into loops of self-destructive thoughts. We can't figure out why our unchallenged politicians create imaginary enemies to bring whole nations to war against. We can't figure out why bored kids join gangs to fight fictitious foes. We can't figure out why children project their own created nightmares onto others and go to school to gun them down.

Processed, pure food is fine, in its place. It comes right from Mother's nipple. But then comes the time to grow up and chew food. Then to gather & prepare your own food. Mother's milk is poison to an adult.

Behold, with hardship is ease. Behold, with hardship is ease.
(Quran 94:95 & 96)


  1. Hey Suelo, great new post. Your ponderings on society still amaze my simple, optimistic mind.

    So is that place by the river to be your new home? Or just another temporary residence?

    Hey, well, I hope to see you soon.


  2. Great post Suelo, Like you I have aquired the attraction to the fire of the worlds religions.

    I often find myself feeling conflicted through this interest as I have met many great buddhists, christians and native groups. They tend to foster exclusive loyalty towards there tradition, but personally I can not do this. I understand that one can only walk one path, but we live in a unique period were ones path most naturally intersects many different traditions.

    I don't know what it is I even practice. I meditate and pray from my heart but seek knowledge and wisdom from multiple traditions. A big part of me feels completely blasphemous since I don't really follow any tradition completely, yet a bigger part can't close an eye to the fact that no religion has exclusive rights to the truth. I do really hope my attempts to know different religions is the type of challenge that will eventually yield clarity and understanding, not confusion. We'll see.


  3. I concur. The blind leading the blind. As old Adolf once said "Through the skillful use of propaganda, whole peoples can be persuaded that Heaven is Hell, and vice versa."

  4. Thanks, G, Nick, & Craig.
    I think it'll be my "second home" by the river, G. I don't know what temporary means anymore, because what's permanent? That' what's great about this lifestyle - realizing nobody on earth has a permanent home, except Being.
    Of course, I totally relate, Nick. It's good to follow only one path. If you see one religion as one path, then that's what you see & that's what you have to follow. But if you see all religions as one path, then that's what you see and that's what you have to follow! How can we force ourselves otherwise?
    Great Adolf quote, Craig. I have a bunch of 'em that for odd some reason sound like they're straight from today's politicians' & religious leaders' mouths!

  5. That's because they are from some current politician's mouth, in some form or other.

    I relate to what you say about religion. I was raised non-religiously. A few years ago, I was married to a Muslim woman and adopted Islam as my chosen faith. There were some things I just never bought into, though, as they did not make sense. Now, and every day, I know myself better and simply cannot call myself one thing or another. All religions have something to say, but no religion says it all.

    Good post, good blog, good web site about living without money. If my girlfriend and I did not have 9 cats, our own lives would be much more fluid and have much less money - but we are responsible for those lives in a society that cares nothing for them.

  6. Suelo, If I read this single post correctly, you and I share a common disinterest in money. Except for the constant threat of property taxes, you could say that I own a couple of homes and some property, besides. (Thanks, in large part to the generosity of others.) I have nearly no interest in them at all ... although I DO obsess about my garden.

  7. " I myself went through years & years of bored, crybaby, suicidal cynicism, as a reaction against the blind optimism I had had before. "

    As someone who is going through the EXACT SAME THING, I would love to read the story of how you got through it.

  8. Just learned about this site today on a story I read on msn. But anyone interested in this topic should also check out The Venus Project They think the world would be better off by switching to a resource based society. Go check it out.