Who Controls How

That which is produced of flesh, the animated person who belongs to just one expression of birth, is how we are. There is the more aesthetic concern of, who, that is the source of much consternation. Is there a component of how that is who? Something that proceeds birth and survives its demise. I answer the question, yes, and others are just as sure, no. In the population who believe that life exists beyond the cycle of birth there is durable disagreement.

My birth circumstance is Christianity. I was born into a devout Catholic household. If you like cautionary tales Catholicism is a good one. We have all those Saints, many of them martyred, brutally murdered for their gifts and talents. And there is Jesus. A kind and gentle man who knew life’s riddle and sought to unveil its secret. He was tortured, abandoned and brutally murdered, for being such a nice guy. The Catholic message is very clear, no one is special except for the gifted few, and, the price they pay is hardly worth it.

Even God won’t help you if you are not baptized. God is such a mean and evil sort that there is a special place, beyond the reach of  comprehension, so awful that only experience can reveal the excruciating weight of its suffering. God maintains this place not for some despicable few, it is reserved for the whole of humanity. Catholics get a pass and enjoy a blissful eternity. Other Christians believe heaven is reserved for them and even the Catholics get to go to hell.

Why do we tell such stories and choose to believe them; I do not know. Clearly if there were such a God there would be great honor and nobility in refusing Gods invitation. It would be a true act of compassion to go to hell with the rest of humanity. Most of them, by the way, good people.

These religious sensibilities, our political bent, how we consider our fellows and even life itself are products of  our birth circumstance, the fact of our flesh and its circumstance. It is how we are. It is easy for me to imagine that I am not contained by my flesh, that how I am is incidental. The life that I see is in no way defined or confined by my flesh. I am unable to perceive a beginning or end. I am. How does that translate into something else?

As I consider myself and work to bring fruition to my promise, to who I am, I have to puzzle how I am, to be the same thing as who. Even though it wants to know who how is a very stubborn sort. How typically wants to own who, to be as important. It is just not possible. It is not that who is more important, ultimately they are the same. Who simply wants more and that is, naught. There is something about the finite condition of the birth cycle that spurs us to ownership. It may simply be culture.

Ownership is often a corruption of responsibility. The notion that having a lot of things brings satisfaction. Or even the opposite that the absent of these things brings satisfaction. It is in acceptance that we find satisfaction. The projection of our values onto our opportunity and then claiming ownership falls short of satisfaction. It is in acceptance that we recognize a different value in opportunity. We don’t so much own it as we do accept responsibility for it. It is the same look but a different feel. This is who determining how.

In our society we often expect that the successful person applies how they are to create who they are. When we accept who we are we remove a door and instead of who and how who becomes how.

The Mystic Tourist

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