Bliss - The Joy of Life, amidst the feelings from pleasure to pain, all feelings, expressed in many ways, like prayer, chant, tears, laughter, yelling, silence, joking, dancing, sex, ... any way you can think of, and more.
* * *
It dawned, and slowly, with the wiping away of the sad history woven of bleak memories, a fresh joyfulness. An unexpected insight appeared of how reverent I could be in being irreverent, and the irreverence is okay. Why would I want a 'God' who could not take a joke? I well-knew a way of life death-dealing to body and spirit. I chose joy, and I am learning to choose joy. The choice does not mean I make myself joyful. I choose joy so joy can be given to me as a gift - some might prefer to say a grace. Where does this joy arise from? Not from me, not apart from me. Or, maybe a better reply to the question is, "That's a good question."
* * *
I kayaked up the river. I wanted to reach where the river rises out of the ground. I made it and exhausted, partly for not having gotten enough rest since a long trip cycling two days prior. Not only was I bedraggled, but my buttocks were hurting much.
See, this was a 3.5 hours round trip sitting on a seat of hard plastic. No cushioning. I had a cushion, and halfway toward the inception of the river, I put it on the seat. I sat on it. Sitting on the cushion lifted me too high, and this made the kayak too unsteady. I decided to endure the plastic seat and the pain rather than risk turning over the kayak. Good choice.
So, on the way back to the cabin, I would lift my rear briefly to ease the pain. The pain would soon, too soon, return. Finally, within the site of the landing dock, I again placed the paddle on the kayak and lifted myself, and for a much longer time than the prior fleeting interludes of relief. My buttocks relished the consolation and felt much better when sitting back down.
Now, this relief was such a relief, I exclaimed, "Hallelujah!". I was smiling with thanks. Then, I realized I had voiced a "Praise the Lord!" and without directing it to anyone. The act dawned on me as humorous, and I began laughing hilariously. I had discovered a link between rejoicing in ease from butt pain and ritual thanksgiving.
I did not mean the exclamation to be religious or non-religious. The celebratory cry arose spontaneously from my religious background. I had never considered joining such apparently irreconcilable verities as posterior comfort and creator praise. To someone else, such would likely not be humorous, not at all, for different persons, different reasons.
* * *
Reflecting on this, I saw two matters having to do with the joy possible to us. One matter is the humor itself - humor not always being funny, sometimes quietly blissful. Life, when engaged in compassionate connection with others, human and nonhuman, leads to bliss. This bliss is partly due to the innate humor of life and partly due to falling in love with life.
The second matter has to do with reverence. When wisdom arises, over time, so does the freedom to be irreverent, reverence and irreverence being a unity. Of course, if one believes in a 'God' up there somewhere who is keeping a moral register and this will decide happy heaven or hellish hell later, there may be little room for humor and, indeed, irreverence is off-limits. This could apply to someone fixated on the apparent utter seriousness of karma, or fate, or any deadly-deadening way of viewing reality.
Yet, when I see how I can be irreverent about matters deserving reverence, what do I see? I see the apparent irreverence is not irreverent at all. I see, too, what would be irreverent for one, for her heart is not attuned to Life, is not so to another, for her spirit is attuned to Spirit.
* * *
I laugh at everything, even at that I love the most. There is no fact, thing, feeling or person over which I have not blithely run my clownishness, like an iron roller imparting sheen to cloth.
*Gustave Flaubert. The Letters - 1830-1888.
* * *
*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2021
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.