Fire Me to Ash

After a long hiatus, this is more from the Who I Want to Be series.

This morning, a wonderfully wise man gave me information that helped me on my path. He wrote about fire in our spirit and when fire is done there is nothing but ash and ash is nothing. The fire should be going all of the time, the ash should be blowing away all of the time, and the forest should be thin in minimalist beauty.

In order for our spirit to have fire, we cannot be thinking of anything but what we are doing, and hopefully what we are doing does not require thinking (though we tend to think almost all of the time, life probably requires true thinking for less than 5% of the time we spend awake. So when I’m reading the paper, if I am thinking about the report that is due at work this morning, I am doing neither the reading nor the report and instead, I am basking in this incredible, hopefully temporary insanity. Some might name this as a disease of modernity, as a plague of our culture rather than insanity.

When my mind is disturbed, I am on my way to insanity. When I am 100% disturbed, which has happened a few times, I don’t do anything wacky like kill people (yet!) or streak naked through the neighborhood (yet!), but I clutch at my head, wanting all of the pain to go away, wanting to gain even a split second of peace. (Have you ever had a split second of peace? I have and it is always far preferable to no peace at all. A split second of peace fuels this tiny hope for permanent peace, and why should we lose hope? I will perish alone very soon if I lose hope for peace, not world peace, but peace in my mind.)

It seems unfathomable that we cannot create more peace than we do in our minds. I have this false belief that we are somehow in charge of our minds, that we have some control over how our minds work. Some men buried in our history have obtained control of the messy violence of mind, and some of them have been labeled as gurus. If we found one of these men in Kansas City, people would scream from their Hummers, “What are you doing? Get a job! Get a life!” There is quite literally no value in our society for those who are able to control the madness of mind in order to establish a light amount of peace. I have met some people, not just on Memorex, who seem to have control, but when I explore, it is because they have no mind. They might be drunk or high, or some of them were born with genes that caused their minds to freeze like a blown motor, just like I was born with a mind that makes me hate myself and fear my world.

If your mind is still spinning violently, several religions recommend meditation. I heartily recommend mediation. It does wonders for me when I do it successfully. Success is rare. It is certainly irony – I must have established a certain amount of peace in the mind in order to allow my mind to allow my body to sit still for more than 20 seconds. (Sometimes I blame the dogs. When you have five dogs, at least one of them is roaming around doing something, disturbing your sense of an undisturbed world, especially when it is Pixie, the youngest, because she is in trouble more than 97% (+/- 2%) of the time that her eyes are open and I am always asleep when her eyes are closed.) One of the goals on my mission this year was to meditate. I didn’t put a concrete measure on it because how much sense does it make to meditate hard? (Have you ever tried to pray hard. I have and I think my hard prayers are less effective than my easy-going prayers.) But I seem to be constitutionally unable to sit fucking still.

Back to fire, these Eastern religions that value mediation also teach adherents to do one thing at a time, to work hard to prevent any form of multi-tasking. I love this. I suppose I do all sorts of multi-tasking to various degrees of stupidity, but when I get in a zone where my mind focuses in on one thing to do, I always do better. Can you remember the last time you mindfully brushed your teeth? I can’t – I might try this evening.

Imagine that this fire of spirit creates one of those moments in life when you are absolutely flabbergasted at how beautiful life is. This has happened to me several times. It’s almost as powerful as a burning-bush moment, not that it requires any particular form of god, but my moments seem to have distinctly maintained a sense of higher power making the stream flow absolutely perfectly.

One way to learn to have fire in life is to practice it on the most routine tasks such as brushing the teeth or doing the dishes or even taking out the trash. It is amazing how relieving it is when you are doing the dishes and you allow your eyes to occupy your mind with seeing every bubble of water that flows over the plate, to focus on every speck of food that you want to remove, or if moving the plate to the dishwasher, working to make an intuitive determination of when the plate is clean enough so as to not have food stuff only get baked on the plate in the dishwasher (really a problem of older dishwashers, but bear with me), feeling your hand and each of your fingers as you carefully and smoothly move the plate to the dishwasher with the intention of taking care of the plate, making sure it does not get chopped by other forms or does not chip another form as it takes a very carefully guided path into a perfect spot for that plate. This is doing a task with loving attention. Now, this is mind-blowing, but what would happen if you treated every single person you related with today with that same sort of intense focus, intense care and intense loving attention. Can you imagine if someone treated you with that type of care? It is amazing.

We keep coming back to the fire. When your loving attention is so fierce and determined, the fire starts because your mind is clean. You are not thinking about your appointment at 11 or what your boss is going to think about that report or how you fucked up by rear-ending that guy on the way to work, no, your mind is only zoned in on the task at hand, and only then does the fire come.

When the fire is done, you are left with ash. Ash blows away leaving an empty vessel of love. I want to be an empty vessel of love for the rest of my life.

I was reflecting and the only time I ever feel the fire is when I am writing, though sometimes when I am reading, and so that tells me that reading and writing is good for me, and I could affirm that on a consciousness basis, based on experience over the last few months. When I came back to writing, I realized it cleans me and eases me into a peace. Fire clears out an overgrown forest and my mind is actually far worse than an overgrown forest, so my mind is begging for fire.

My job has been a complete drag, has been the opposite of challenging, but imagine if I tried to light the fire with the things I need to do at work? Maybe I could be satisfied with working an aggravating job if I focus on giving loving attention to every task I needed to do. If I could do life without a job, skip my responsibilities, write and read all day in the most luxurious fashion, sure it would be easy to light the fire all day long, but my life is not allowing that right now. If I pray harder, I might win the Powerball and have that life delivered to me.

Tomorrow, I am going to be working on lighting a fire in my head on each single task I do, even when I hit the toilet, and if I fail, I will keep trying because when the fire starts, it glorious and I won’t let it stop.

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  1. #1 by Evelyn on February 25, 2011 - 7:31 pm

    this is happy and fun and loving and honest and real and really YOU.
    I never say this.I hate when people say “thanks for this” in their comments, but
    honestly? Thanks for this.
    Its so nice to hear you happy and expressive and sad and honest and I am totally rambling.
    this is so good.

    • #2 by Carl on February 26, 2011 - 6:54 am

      Thank YOU for this!

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