The solution to any problem is not to get rid of the problem.
Then the problem really never goes away.
The solution to a problem involves water. It is a “solution.” It is a solute dissolved by water into a mixture. Solid becomes liquid. One state of matter into another.
It is solvent. Liquid. It is mixture. It is admixture. It is integration of the problem INTO yourself. It is ingestion. To change. To change. To change. To grow. Which is life. Not sterility. Not shooing. Not eschewing. Change (real knowing, real growth, becoming new) cannot occur without acceptance of the problem. An answer given —as opposed to found or realized--is not a solution: it is a cheat. It simply sweeps the actual problem aside, stunting growth and multiplying the problem in the future. The answer to any problem is not the same as the solution to that problem. An answer is only a thought, an idea or a concept that sits all alone on the other side of an equation to null it out. The solution to the problem is the miraculous combination of the problem with the answer. This admixture must include two other elements: you and that which transcends you (that which without which there is no which). The solution includes the learning that came with it. It is the understanding that you must drink the poisoned cup you do not want as the antedate for the eating the poisoned apple you did want. It is now part of the body.
Here lies more firmament: The problems and these elements were always there, it is just that you did not know it. They can neither be created nor destroyed. It is what is called the problem of problems, and it always lurks inside your conscious awareness floating at the edge of your vision near the realm of the unconscious, waiting to become fully realized. The Answer exists completely in the realm outside of your vision…waiting to be let in…waiting to be part of the solution.
The profound questions to answer are not “what is the problem?” And “who am I?”
Rather, it is the reverse:
“Who is the problem?” And “what am I?”
Water--the living water--dissolves things. It tells you things you did not know about yourself. The woman at the well came into direct contact with a deeper well and drew forth the kind of water containing the unconscious elements of not so much “who she was,” but more fundamentally “what she was” and “whose she was.” Bringing what was once swimming in the darkness below, up to her conscious world.
This is the effect of living water.
It opens your eyes. It descales the build up of chalky deposits blinding the vision of eyes exposed to shallow well-water. Blindness is the result of eating the apple of “I can choose what I want for better or worse!” A power which opens the eye to one's conscious self, but shuts it to everything else. Only by drinking the cup filled with aqua vitae can the sleeping eye awaken.
Living water is a thermal barrier within the cold depths of the sea; the barrier between the death of beasts and life of fishes. It is a barrier that must be passed through to arrive where you always were.
Living water stops thirst. It quenches the fire of egoic desire. “I I I!” and “want want want!” finally become, “I’m not thirsty anymore. Do you still thirst?”
Living water is much more related to the afterdeath than the afterlife.
Living water turns the end into the beginning--and the beginning into the end. "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." It reverses conscious awareness’ tendency to separate these "two points" as far as possible on a line from one another; and then celebrate this long-distance marriage as a hard, crusty thing called an event. It turns the alpha and the omega of the Wedding at Cana into the circle it always was.
I destroyed my own city walls in darkness. In blindness, I self-destructed. The anger of the Lord had smitten me. Eventually the walls were repaired--but not by me.
Who repaired them?
But only as I began to wake up to my brokenness and see the world with new eyes--see it as God does—with love. I saw the healing that is possible if I ministered to others in their sickness as Christ did. And it was ONLY then that my broken city walls began to be repaired.
In the healing of others I am healed.
Now I understand that my Temple of Beauty is not desecrated by the world, but beautified by it. As brokenness is redeemed, glory shines round consecrating all within its glow.
The idea in Isaiah 60 is that the protection and security we really want in life (the city walls) are best achieved and maintained, not by arrogantly hiding behind false walls, but by shining forth the Glory of God like the noonday sun in a dark world. It is His love pouring outward from our temple towards the world that protects the temple on all sides. God’s love and light is both vanguard and rearguard. The gates can now stand open in every moment of life, in every reality, on the other side of every choice, marching into every future and promised land. And the enemy we once walled off with exhaustive effort—piling and plugging stone after ugly stone into every defect—become friends and fellow workers repairing our crumbling walls without any effort of our own.
Seeing your eyes limits your vision. Listening to your ears limits your hearing.
Being self-conscious limits your existence.
The gradual development of self-consciousness is almost by definition enculturation. Enculturation is one’s gradual ingestion of the surrounding culture until they become like it. It requires willing participation in the game. A child does not start out self-conscious but becomes so. It is when one begins to know that he knows, thinks, and judges that one forgets how it is he knows, thinks, and judges. He forgets from where his golden gift came. He breaks Samson’s rule and “lays a hand on his head.”
It is when you think you know truth—that you don’t.
It is when you know that you are the judge that you lose the ability.
It is the difference between feeling enslaved by your responsibilities in the world and feeling free to keep the temple and everything in it.
Are you weak? Are you enslaved? Are you pushing the millstone round and round?
Then…you are also blind.
Watch your feelings.
Why? Why does watching help?
It helps you to see your own backside. Your underside. Your blindside. It is so helpful to have an early warning system revealing what is going on beneath what you can see about yourself. It is like having a second mirror to see the very back of you—those parts you never see otherwise. “Huh. I never knew that was showing.”
But, first, even to be asking this question—even to be considering a second mirror— means that you realize you might have a problem.
I can see this now about myself, but the progression for me was that BECAUSE I wasn’t paying attention to my feelings (ironically, I even had contempt for my feelings); the underworld was brewing with snakes. I was calling forth my own destruction. Actualizing my underworld into Being. What I am trying to say is that because I spoke into my world contempt, blame, frustration, and resentment I was actually reverse terraforming earth into mars--making it uninhabitable. And to make it more tragic, specifically, at the time my internal reasoning would be I was behaving based on justice, rightness, truth, respect, superior knowledge. (Hear any God in there? Any spirit fruit?) I was actualizing wickedness and destruction behind my own back, in my blindness and ignorance, AND suffering because of it. It wasn’t happening to me. I was happening to it!
Those snakes came out of nowhere (the underworld), to bite, to sting, to choke me to death. And they were my snakes. I got just what I asked for. It was long before I could see it is what I needed--what I "wanted.”
Or another way to say it is I fell though, smacked my face, bloodied my nose, and knocked out my teeth, way at the bottom. Bang! Scraping myself with potsherds.
Thank God! Look up!
“Who am I? Who are you? What is truth? No, no no! After all these years, I don’t seem to know anything. Now, I am afraid.”
And God says, “Now we are getting somewhere. Now your fear is properly oriented. This is the beginning of wisdom. Obviously. The beginning of wisdom must start with the belief—the first principle: ‘I don’t know anything.’ Where else would it start?
Now, watch. Listen. Be quiet. Do you hear that? It is your heart beating. Isn’t that awesome? You are breathing. The lights are on. Can you hear the hum? The sun rises and it sets. Fog rolls in from the bay. These things happen by forces you don’t understand and relate to you in ways you don’t understand, but are vital to life. Watch your feelings. Here comes your wife. What will she see when she looks at you. What will you be 'full of' that you give off. Let’s try again."
I began to see spiritual truths in the old book where I had not seen them before; finding them not in scriptures scrubbed of all grime and paradox, but in dusty tales of donkeys and dragons. How did I not see them before—these glints of gold in the dirt? It’s terrible enough NOT to see. But one sure way to make it worse is to think you can. NOT to find is awful as well. But, again, the only way never to find is thinking you already have. I was a self-deluded arborist stupidly smacking my face on the one tree, it so happens, for which I no longer looked. And it was this about myself—this dilution of myself—and these constant bloody noses: because I believed I possessed truth; because I believed I possessed sight; I was like a man with a fatal illness he did not yet know he had; who somehow, unbeknownst even to himself, wound up at the doctor’s office. My brazen ego alone confident of health, but all else below that proud little scrim, everything deeper within and further without the cosmos was unsure: “Oh, it’s nothing doctor. Just a vagueness here in the pit of my stomach. Just an achiness there in sunsets and starlight.”
Maybe I was sick.
There is a part of blindness that is sheer. A part that is utter. But there is another, sicker part that is volitional: not that can’t look, but won’t. And that kind of blindness is a lie. It is a willful blindness. No sane person would choose to blind themselves. But it is precisely what the rational person chooses all the time. They rationalize. As long as there is a good reason to see, they will see anything. As long as there is a good reason NOT to see, they will see nothing. Like the emperor who refuses to see the empty spinning wheel, because to see AT ALL is to admit he was wrong. This kind of blindness is the first step in drying out a heart of flesh. The pharaonic lie: to look down from tyranny and call it ease. It hardens the heart into a stone that gazes upon freedom and calls it betrayal.
Say to every moment as it envelops us: “let there be light.”
And there is light.
Suddenly, a light and a dark side to things. A chiaroscuro to thinking itself transmutes our lived experience as it emerges from the unknown and lands at our feet—a dimensionality not seen before.
To those of us simply flailing around in a gray fog; for so long not really caring that we knocked something over, just angry that it hurt; this is a vision so startling, that we simply can't imagine how it is we have never been able to see it before. Heretofore, hovering before each experience, we couldn't tell a mountain from a mole hill; much less a miracle. We couldn't tell blue sky from earth, plants from animals, sun from moon, friend from foe, Jesus from the devil. Standing at the brink of endless upon endless unknowns; we realize in a flash of bleary-eyed awakening: "My failure to understand what God does as His first act, at the 'Genesis of Moment,' coincides precisely with my failure to understand what I, myself, do not do at the genesis of each moment."
When God speaks, “Let there be light...” it is not so much His words illuminate the void like a radiant spotlight (which His words, indeed, and in part, do); it is more amazingly so just what it says it is—He speaks. It is something like a conscious thought or a humble command put forth to the void; as if God asks or calls upon the void to illuminate itself—and it does! Triggering a divine process as inexorable as the dawn. And then a light comes on somewhere as if somebody flipped a switch. And God's says: “Ahh, now that’s better!”
Speak into the void, mouthpiece of God. Reflect His voice, mirror of God.
The Cyclops is projecting, “No One is Killing me!”
The cyclops has only one eye, which gives him a shallow view of the world. From his point of view, everything is 2 dimensional; without depth. Without depth perception, it is difficult tell if what approaches is large or small; far or near; fast or slow. Because of this abnormal perception of the world, the cyclops inflates to a monstrous size and treats everything with same and equal force. If one can’t distinguish a mole hill from a mountain, then one solution is to grow to the size of a giant and stomp right through.
Distances are foreshortened, overreach is common, walking over the world is easier.
And to the monster with one eye, everyone else must see the world just like he does, because he sees them flattened like a Picasso.
But this is not reality. The world is infinitely complex, every problem with multiple sides. The valleys are far deeper, the mountains far taller, the reach far wider than the cyclops can discern. And, one day, in his lonely cave, feeding on human corpses, the penetrating light of truth finds him and blinds him. It sends him into a pitiful rage. And he screams; he thrashes and smashes. He screams that he is being attacked. He screams that he is being killed.
Now it is too late. He was told to let go; but he was too shallow to understand the truth, right in front of him.
And, now, in his blind rage, he can not even hear his own stupid, mistake. “Why,” he thinks, “does my family not help? Do they not hear me.”
Oh yes, they hear perfectly clear.
Because with each ridiculous claim, the cyclops projects to the world, that “no one” is attacking him.
There is a strange overlay of patterns with Jesus’ view of those casting out demons in His name (in Matt. 7 and Mark 9), with the Cain and Abel story in Genesis 4. There is an arbitrariness with which the Lord views their sacrifice. He does not say exactly why one is accepted and one is not—but He can smell the difference.
Why are you angry? Why are you angry when your sacrifices in life are not accepted and your brothers’ are? “Lord, Lord! Didn’t we…blah, blah, blah.”
“If you are good, will you not be accepted?”
“But if you are not good, then the idea of sin and sin-offering will be a creature that crouches at your door and desires to own you. But you can rule it.”
It does not matter whether I think the fruit of my labour is acceptable, it matters what God smells when it burns —when what I bring is exposed to judgment of heat and fire.
Oddly, frighteningly, the most important part of my action is not the result that I see, but the result that I don’t see—not the fruit that I produce, but how it tastes when it is consumed. I may cast out demons in Jesus’ name and still be just as possessed—by “I”, by “My”, by my desires. My sacrifice may be burnt on the alter, and the essence of my heart detected and rejected.
“Where does your amazing strength come from to defeat the enemy?”
Samson replies, “Alright, alright. You keep nagging me and I keep telling little lies about myself, but here is the real truth. My strength lies in my hair.”
NO! WRONG! Samson’ strength was a gift from God. The hair was a gift—a symbol—gifted; given—but still just a material thing. Anything that is given comes from a source. Where the gift comes from—who the gift comes from—the “relationship” to the source—is what infuses it with power. And the source is what replenishes the gift with the power to defeat the enemy—as long as you remain mindful of—have a relationship with— the source. It is just the same with any relationship. The “gift of strength” does not reside in the thing itself. It is a terrible mistake to confuse symbols for the actual treasures—abstractions for the actual gifts, for power. To confuse this, is to disconnect, to shear, to “let a hand touch your head.” And when this disastrous mistake occurs; the symbol is gone, and with it, the gift. Delilah did not trick Samson. Samson was the one playing tricks. And like all tricksters, he relied on distraction, confusion, and lack of attention. Samson tricked himself. Samson betrayed God, and in doing so, betrayed himself. He became blind. Only when he grew the strength of character to talk to the Lord again and ask one last chance to change—to make things right—did he reveal his understanding of who his real enemy was. Samson is the one who had to go—to die. It is the last place anyone wants to look—it is dark, deep, lonely. It was in the filth, in the dust, in the dirt, at the bottom, in the belly of the beast, that he found what he needed most. When Samson finally discovered who was the true enemy, the true betrayer, he knew what to do. “And in his death he defeated more enemies than when ‘he’ was alive.”
I remember feeling like Dorothy waking up at the end of Oz, in her bed with her family surrounding her, for the first time with joy in her heart. The great lesson of “The Wizard of Oz” is not that the source of power resides in the ruby slippers (Dorothy had those on right from the start). The great lesson is that the power to get home springs from one’s deep understanding and admission after defeating the enemies within, that “there’s no place like home.”