Mystery of life : impossibility, implausibility, confusion, and gratitude
A book excerpt from the Iconoclast Press online library.
Why did this whole crazy show come about? I do not know. I know only that it came about.
It was as if I lived a manic descent from unbeing into being; I did not understand, nor control my harrowing plunge. But when I landed I hit with a thud that would have killed me if the Self wasn’t an undying being. That is how I was able to get back up and walk onward, wiped clean-through by the flames of my agonizing re-entry. And when that happens- when the kenosis has come full circle, and you’re alive and dead, alien and belonging, strong and yet broken- that is when the real work begins. That is when you bring the fire back to earth- acquired for the men who will misunderstand you, stolen from the powers who will despise even your good. So be it.
I say this because, like many of you, I also had my insides ripped out, hacked to pieces, molded into nothing recognizable, and stuffed back into my groaning hollow. Loss and sadness were nothing new to my eternal being. But all movements have a reckoning, a consummation, and a respite, for the moving moment is alive, and grows and transforms just as any organism grows- imperceptibly, slowly and yet continually, and just as relief comes to a fugitive finally brought down after an arduous flight, so does this mad show run down its engine, and is fulfilled or is finished with a sigh of delight.
Yea indeed, like a dizzy logotrope, spinning wildly about, grasped by that halcyon light which follows the passionate arc- to turn towards the colossal mystery of being, to follow the real but invisible movements, to want truth inside of you more than you even want yourself there, is to appear mad and sane in the world of reason. To move with a heaven-tethered eye, never bending from its sight, is to look through a different window, and yet still live inside the house.
I had spent much of my life trying to pretend that I was not lost, until I finally realized that everyone is lost, and that the whole mad show is nothing but a card-house of hiding places which people build so as to forget all about this absurdity, because a person becomes deranged trying to belong to something they do not understand. And no one understands.
And so I eventually accepted that to be lost is to be honest, and that therefore it is not wrong to howl wildly into the lonely night, for there are no remaining options but to go mad with ecstasy and anguish, to fall in love with the night, and to find the gratitude in which to live the mystery out.
But am I not also caught in the inexorable, powerful grip of life? Yes indeed I am also caught, and yet ...I am also that very grip; that grip squeezed in upon itself like an empty fist, unable to break free of its clench until it punches something harder. But I do not punch. I only grip more arduously into myself, because only exhaustion will undo my hold upon my task, my world, my self. I am the grip on life, of life, in life, but I do not punch …I sing.
I too am in this world, this life, this voice behind the mind. I am speaking slowly, through the misty night of our old losses, hoarse from the brooding depths of life's fatigued untruth. I pause often, sigh, and continue. Hear my hollow metronome, charmed of the meter's dark whimper.
I thought of never touching down, of never saying who I was, where I had been, or what I did when I got here.
I thought of never writing a syllable from this broken mold of unwhole timelessness, because it seemed that I had attained nothing: no happiness, no truth, no love, no answer. I had no path to salvation, and no idea of how to redeem. I had nothing to give others but myself, and my wild, euphoric imaginings.
But life brings its own tasks, and I am not one to argue. Not, at least, with the One who yet knows me.
Were it not for the frequent bouts of absolute catatonia, interspersed with durations of uncontrollable imbecilic laughter, I should say it was not all worth it. But I was not born from the lineage of complaint. I harbor no existential vendettas. In the end I did not deplore the insurmountable perplexity, nor was I thanklessly discouraged by it. Though neither have I bled endlessly through the wound of consciousness for nothing; for if I have stuck my earnest spirit out from the warm abyss only for long enough to spill forth my bile and laughter then, as now, while the roaring blade hastens whistling towards its mark, I shall not miss a beat, nor a word, nor a jingle, but will calmly wail out my true song, my vision, my life.
And so, under the coercion of the tender, tickling Muse do I send out my own imperfect vision into the barbaric land of men, and the Word, while it is alive and living, emits from my diffident pen.
But if I share with you what I can, it is not so as to impose a regiment upon our infinite lives, but only so that I might give myself away, in a blind attempt to join with you completely.
Oh, perhaps I am only a hoarse voice in the chaotic chorus of the Great Song, but ...I am a voice. And though what I have to say is only what I have seen, I cannot help but seek to quicken our spirits through a vortex of awe and gratitude, and so to bleed the voice of sorrow from the stone.
And yet, am I simply a lame busker, crooning stale requiems at the honored gates, to all those gathered impatiently about, waiting to be denied entry? Am I but the phlegmatic sexton of an abandoned, crumbling, obsolete temenos? A bell-ringer without a church? A hanged man, ejaculating life back at his dead executioners?
No, no, definitely not, for I am still alive and free, and though I did not begin to fight until I had already surrendered, that was when I became undefeatable, because though I was the weakest man alive ...no one could destroy me. But before I got there I had to suffer through the consequences of the lie; I had to lose myself in order to become myself; I had to descend to the Devil, before I could rise to God. And then what came to me in the tender futility of life’s beauty, as I balanced solicitously between exaltation and rage, was a tepid, graceful bewilderment- a melancholy born of beauty, despair, and wonder, which caused me in the end to only vehemently affirm life, to embrace everything, to take it all up, all of it, to accept, and accept, and accept, until there was nothing left of me but acceptance; to not struggle towards, to not struggle away; to be willing to say “Yes, yes, of course ...yes!”, even if that ‘yes’ agreed to the ‘no’ that was the very disintegration of itself, so that in that surge of dynamic affirmation, the flood of unbiased acceptance would rush through the estuary of my being, and, like a dam broken above a village, would cause all souls caught within my ubiquity to be swept away from all comfort, all knowledge, all pain, and then to be gathered up, drowned in a torrent of rapture and glee, taken away by the new tide, and swept out to the welcoming sea.
(excerpted from Roots and Wings: adventures of a spirit on earth, by Jack Haas)
Books by Jack Haas. Autobiography, Memoir, Spirituality, Mysticism, Comparative Religion, Poetry, Art, Photography.