From the Archives
(October 2005) The Gnostics, like William Blake, believe that Jesus has already returned to Earth and that we already live in Paradise. Few of us recognize our always already perfect existence though. Instead we tell ourselves that Paradise will surely be ours in our NEXT life.
So much of our world is small and mean, with machetes and tires set aflame around fragile human necks and mind-numbing atrocities and grueling work and gnawing poverty. And there’s so much pain and injustice that, at some point, so many of us just become numb and morph into anger or autopilot, into permanent survival mode.
Nevertheless, we are—many of us—loved by someone whom we also love dearly and we manage to surround ourselves with kind and loving people who enrich our lives.
I don’t know about Jesus fitting into this equation, but do believe that we already live in paradise. The natural world is so amazingly crisp and beautiful and filled with beauty and wonder that it practically begs us to acknowledge it. And, if creativity is your religion (as it is mine), then there’s endless possibility of worship with only the need for (annoying) work and sleep interrupting our extended ecstasy.
This weekend, I hung out with artist friends. We had a big cookout on some friends’ farm, then hung upside down on state fair rides and ate bad-for-us food such as fried Coke and deep-fried twinkies (them) or fried Wisconsin cheese (me). Then we watched a magnificent fireworks display before having a big slumber party together.
Next morning, we built a bonfire and played guitars around it and made things in the studio.
Rosa said she’s been worried ever since she left the Peace Corp that she will get lazy and forget to appreciate every day that she’s alive.
One of the many reasons I value her as a friend is that we both recognize the wonder of the present moment. We recognize the grace involved in our being alive in such a beautiful and relatively peaceful place where we can live and love and cry and laugh and climax and gasp and touch and smell and hear and see and share our fleeting experience with others. And we recognize that this grace is fragile and can be fleeting.
I believe in my heart of hearts that it is only our ignorance of and inability to recognize this grace that keeps us removed from paradise.