I have heard rather often that the lotus grows in cow pats. Which, while I understand the sentiment that beauty can sprout in the most fowl circumstances, I believe it’s technically incorrect. The lotus is in the water-lily family if I’m not mistaken.
Still, I know for a fact that the best mushrooms grow in cow patties, so there you go. Flowers and hallucinogens same thing right? We are all fertilized with shit at some point in our journey albeit with varying levels of awful. When you are in the shit someone invariably will say that everything happens for a reason. This I have found to be extremely unhelpful although I acknowledge that it may be very comforting for some. I am always above all else, a contrary creature. In my mind if a terrible event happens for a reason then someone has predetermined what that reason is and it is my job to work it out. The latter part I have no problem with. Second only to my contrary nature is my ability to be resilient. I will triumph but the first part gives me more than a little grief. If a nebulous consciousness has predetermined the point to my misery does it not also have the power to nullify the situation entirely? That is the part that chafes, this idea that some greater intelligence is testing me because it isn’t much of a leap from feeling tested to feeling punished. I do believe that struggles make us stronger and that it is the great triumph of the human spirit that when life throws shit at us we turn it into shrooms. At which point we proceed to trip balls. Go us!
I was unsure how to reconcile my aversion to the god testing philosophy and a firm belief that an untested character is not really character at all. The most freeing thing I have ever read was this sentence from Meg Billings: “I have concluded that, in life, some things happen for no reason and that’s why we need compassion.” This was printed in an issue of the magazine “Sage Woman” that I borrowed from the USM Pagan Students Association and didn’t open for several months. Talk about things happening at the right time, I pulled it out when things were very dark because the cover art was a beautiful rendering of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, who I was in the process of devoting my heart to. The author who lost her child, shortly after birth wrestled with the idea that it could possibly have happened for a reason, as people kept telling her in an effort to comfort her. What possible reason can there be for this type of loss? She didn’t have an answer and I certainly don’t but the way humans do when we are faced with an impossible problem, she developed an answer.
In the words of the bible, “it rains on the just and the unjust alike”. In the words of Jaromir Jagr “there is no such word as deserve.” This quote from a hockey guru may be my second favorite quote in life in general. Believing there is no concept of us deserving what happens to us either good or bad, gives my heart the freedom to fly. I call it spiritual chaos theory. Sometimes good things happen to bad people and sometimes bad things happen to good people. There is no rhyme or reason to be found. We must find our comfort where we can, struggle to survive and when that is accomplished, thrive. It explains what I see and assuages the feeling that a higher being should have prevented our suffering.
I find it particularly helpful in understanding at a world where what we perceive as evil seems to triumph everywhere, justice appears slow-moving or entirely absent, and the future often looks bleak at best. Struggling as I do with Bi-polar, I am no saint myself and as an empath and a minor seer sometimes the weight of my own behavior and that of the world seems too much. That is when my belief in a specific type of deity is the strongest. The Goddess of compassion exists in many forms across cultures. She comforts the weak and miserable. She is comparable to Mary in some ways. India has the male Avolokita. Buddhism has Tara. Japan has Kannon-sama. China has Kuan Yin. I take a great amount of comfort in the idea of a being so compassionate that she will not take the final step into nirvana while a single being still suffers. We all know that will not be any time soon. This is her sacrifice, to be pure enough to ascend and so filled with love that she will not leave a single creature behind.
If any kind of higher power is not for you then consider the words of Gogol Bordello’s Eugene Hutz. “You are the only light there is, for yourself my friend.” Even if you have nothing else, no one to guide or comfort you, you will always have your higher self. Somewhere between, fatalism, mysticism and sports mantra is my philosophy. We are born, we struggle and our journey is enriched by the triumphs and the tears alike. I don’t know what happens after that. In the end all we have is how we live.