The Challenge of Quietude

Things could seem fairly grim to almost anyone trying to stumble through this new century.  Somebody always walking into a schoolhouse with a gun, someone always bombing someone else, shooting someone else.

  • A cop probably feels things are middling dangerous for cops, feels things have gotten out of hand, feels threatened.
  • Store employees fearing their bosses, merchants fearing their employees, all of them fearing the dangerous potential of every customer.
  • Politicians fearing the opposing party, fearing the voters, fearing the prez.
  • Gang bangers fearing opposing gang bangers, fearing the cops, fearing their brother gang members knowing they’ll sell them out for a plea-bargain in a minute if faced with a long-term sentence.
  • Druggies fearing the dealers, fearing the cops, fearing the high cost of a habit, fearing other druggies, fearing their families, fearing do-gooder mammas and sisters and angry wives who might give them to the cops ‘for their own good’ after a long series of attempts to kick that didn’t work.
  • Christians fearing Muslims, Muslims fearing Christians, everyone fearing what the price sign above the gas pump’s going to show the day after the November election.
  • Single women fearing they’ll grow old without a man, married people fearing they’ll lose their partners to disease, to war, to accidents, to infidelity, to abuse.
  • Everyone fearing for the kids, for their safety, their increasingly brainless approaches to reality, for their futures.
  • Everyone watching the television screen, everyone shaking his head with the latest thing happened somewhere.

We’re in one of those niches in human history during which mass hysteria prevails.  An erosion of faith, a lapse of memory as a result of the bombardment of news submerging the mass-consciousness into the goldfish bowl of NOW.

The reality is that things aren’t worse now than they’ve ever been. 

Death still comes one-to-the-customer.

Kids, cops, gang bangers, birds, whales, baby seals, druggies, Christians, Muslims, every living creature is going to cross the finish line, same as they always have.

People aren’t killing one another more frequently than they’ve ever done.  They’re doing it about the same amount as they always have.  Killing and stomping one another, enslaving one another, robbing one another, invading one another.

Life’s a tough gig if we forget we’re going to die.  It always has been.

The challenge to man has always been putting himself above all that.  The courage to accept he/she will die, the kids will die, their kids will die.

The challenge is in the courage of acceptance, of distancing the self from the daily events creating the illusion death is somehow foreign, unnatural.  Tragic.

The challenge lies in living in the knowledge we’re going to die while behaving as though we aren’t.  In the courage to transcend the inevitability and allow ourselves to understand those other folks, the kid-killers, the gang bangers, the druggies, the cops, the government goons, the Christians and Muslims, the sheeple, all of them are just the same as us.  All stumbling around trying to get through this life.

The challenge lies in forgiving them for forgetting, forgiving ourselves for forgetting, we’re going to die and submerging ourselves in fear and brother hate.

The challenge lies in transcending the forgiveness enough to be grateful for the moments, every one of them, between the crying and the dying.  Grateful for the pain, the hardship, the loss, and the spiritual growth potential.

The challenge of acceptance that it ain’t all flowers and honey, never  has been, never was supposed to be.  That this life isn’t about what happens across the ocean, in Washington, in the crack-house down the block, or in the next bedroom where the kids are sleeping.

This life is about this side of the ocean, this city, this block, this house, this bedroom, right there where you are sleeping.

The impression you are making in that mattress, that pillow is where the minutes are ticking away, that’s where opportunities to become something better are located somewhere in a flash of life and time that’s ticking, ticking, ticking, trickling sand into the bottom of the glass.

The courage to repudiate the mind-games of others.

Others shouting to you that where someone else dies matters.  Others demanding you pretend you won’t have to die, if you hire more cops, hand more of your personal decision-making over to the government, watch more television, put more people in prison, send the army off to stomp bad guys somewhere.

Ignoring the cowards whispering if you avoid different ingredients in your food, buy the latest health miracle and don’t breathe second-hand smoke you won’t have to die.

That’s the challenge.  Same as it’s always been.

Old Jules


Four Sacred Mountains- R. Carlos Nakai (Song for the Morning Star)

16 responses to “The Challenge of Quietude

  1. Good one Jules! I do not fear like many do and that’s the media which contributes to that on purpose.
    We’re nothing but piss ants in time and thats a fact.

  2. Thanks for the visit and read One Fly. Piss ants we is, but we’re the best piss ants there ever was, best there are anywhere now, best there ever will be. Nobody never seen no piss ants like us. And that’s Gospel.

  3. Jules,so true we are going to die no matter how well prepared we are.We started dying the minute we were born,my kids and ex get mad at me when I say that. Its not defeatist,I want to live as long as Good Lord lets me I want to see my Grandaughters get married, i want to take my two weekend Grandson shooting,I already have his 1st rifle old savage single shot bolt.I am going out screaming and clawing but I am going! Enjoy the ride my friend!


    • Morning China. Thanks for the stop and hidee. .22 single shot bolt used to be standard issue first firearm for kids. Certainly was my first. If I’d stuck to .22 shorts instead of long rifles I probably could have avoided killing a dairy cow I didn’t think I could hit from that distance.

      Sometime I’m going to try not enjoying the ride for the novelty, but I’m not sure how to go about it. Gracias, amigo. J

  4. Truth. Everything I do is a distraction.

  5. Hi Roxanne. Thanks for dropping by. A couple of chickens were hanging around by the porch after I read your post, and two cats were stretched out under the trees. The chickens were fairly occupied squirming around in the dirt where I’d dumped my washing machine water, ruffling up their feathers, kicking, rolling, kicking some more, so I asked them, including the cats, what they thought about this distraction thing.

    “Don’t interrupt!” they all clucked and meowed in unison.

  6. there is an entity apparently running the show behind the curtains here on Earth that wants to control or own everything and enslave the is by design and quite carefully planned..They/It can only take from me what I give them, I refuse to give them/It any of my fear. No matter what happens in the end, they lose. Love vs. Fear.

  7. Hi Rich: Thanks for stopping by.

    I’ll consult with the cats and chickens before arriving at a proper response, most likely. Meanwhile, gracias amigo.

  8. Lately, I’ve been consulting my own private Oracle, Buddy, golden retriever. He keeps it pretty simple: Joy, accompanied by occasional wild abandon, is good. Food is good. Walks are good. Naps are very good. Anger is way yucky. He’s my best teacher, to date.

  9. Hi Teresa Evangeline: Buddy sounds like a smart oracle indeed. Unfortunately my chickens advise me retrievers can’t be trusted on certain matters, usually involving chickens. The cats refused to commit to a firm stand on the matter of dogs. “Some good, some bad,” was all they’d say about them in general. But on their reliability as oracles, Shiva held a stronger view, “Some are better than others, some worse than others. Some of the worse than other ones that aren’t as bad as a few of the bottom tier of that first group are middling, though.” She thought about it a while and decided she needed to be more explicit. “Some can be fairly good,” she clarified.

    I usually double-check anything the cats or chickens tell me by running it by the I Ching [yarrow stalk method] but I haven’t done so on what Shiva had to say about dogs as oracles. However, the I Ching confirms what the hens said about retrievers.

    Just local viewpoints, though. The local I Ching can be a bit wobbly sometimes after too much lemon grass tea.

    Thanks for stopping in.

  10. Well, I can certainly understand your chickens reluctance to pal around with retrievers. If his playtime with his squeaky toys are any indication, he may have a tendency to chomp and fling. The chickens would protest, followed by more chomping and flinging.

    Point taken.

    I am unfamiliar with the yarrow stalk method, but I can relate to the overindulgence in lemon grasss tea. I think I’ll leave that extra “s” by way of illustration.

    Thank ye. A nice evening made nicer.

  11. Wow. I really like this! I could search around my brain for something pithy to say, but I am too tired right now. Let’s just go with that.

  12. Ram Dass said “be here now,” which is such a simple phrase, such a simple thought, and yet so astonishingly difficult to do. Be here now, be with yourself, be in the uncomfortable place if life is difficult, be in the place of joy when there is joy. Always reaching forward or backward simply leaves you off balance and wobbly. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. True and very well said. I have no qualms about death and figure it will get here when it gets here. My cat would probably say something much more pithy but he’s out.

    .22 single shot. Still have mine in the cabinet : )

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