Santa, we’ve decided, is real.
At first, I thought the idea of Santa being real was a convenient metaphor, but now I believe it’s a foundational principle. If the universe is a gift unto us, for a short while anyway, and our lives within it are also a gift for just a short while (Cinderella, in new clothes) and from that gift we are to take home an important message, what might that be? What if the gift of creation is bestowed onto each of us? Maybe it’s not a big gift. Maybe it doesn’t last for long. But if the gift is given so that we can give unto others, then becoming Santa Claus is a good creation to recreate.
Is Satan real?
Is Satan real? Santa answers that question for us. “Yes, if we make it so. Yes, if we create Satan in our own worst image.” Probably not a creation we should be creating. But for the heck of it, I tried. To that end, I had already started this wrap-up blog on Santa, when I decided to create the antithesis: Satan’s Revenge. We had a chili cook-off coming up at church and so that would become my entry. “Satan’s Revenge” chili, at a blistering 666 degrees hot. I fired up the flames, well, the electric coils, of hades, and from them emanated the acrid fumes of sauteed onions, and chopped the heat. Specifically, I chopped habaneros. Wanting a hands off approach to hell, I wore rubber gloves. Last time I minced habaneros — or perhaps jalapenos — without gloves, my fingers and fingernails burned for a day.
I stirred the peppers of hell into the fiery cauldron, but not just any stirring. No, I grabbed the spoon like a wicked witch and proceed to cackle in my best falsetto witches voice. I ran over to the computer to record it — this blog should be real, right? — after first struggling to get the rubbery gloves off.
As the concoction bubbled, I replied the recording and I laughed as I imagined choking sulfuric fumes and flames of Hades circling around with Satan’s approving tail-flicking. That’s how he’d approve, I decided. “Wow,” I thought, “what an imagination!” as the smoke circled around me. About then, I realized the rubber gloves were on fire on the stove. I had sat them down on the red hot burner. For the next few days, the apartment still smelt hellish. Santa’s Revenge? We can create Satan just as easily. No thank you. Burning rubber? Someone once asked me if I practiced “safe sex”. “Hell no,” I replied, “I can’t stand the smell of burning rubber.”
Sure, it’s just a coincidence, but Satan occupying the realm of burning smoke and hellish flames came true, if only for a flash.
There’s no me in me
Stirring the cauldron a week ago brought me back in time to early teenage years. Our neighborhood’s pre-Christmas tradition was to drive south to the Uinta mountains near the “cut-out” part of Utah, trudge through deep snow, pick out and saw down the tree. After that, we’d gather at the base of the mountain at a favorite frozen creekside spot where we’d heat-up chili and stir it in big, heavy Dutch ovens. These childhood memories? Among my happiest.
And that brings me to my second point, my final thoughts about this set of channels. My beautiful memories, my finger burning memories, memories now of acrid smoke, disappointing memories of not even placing in the chili cook-off, indeed everything about me and my life isn’t me. My consciousness always seems deep within these memories, this world, this body, this mind. As if I’m an observer from the vantage of a minuscule conscious me within everything looking out at everything.
Our body, our thoughts, our beingness itself, the world we are embedded in, there is nothing outside ourself and so fundamentally then, in some strange sense, all is out of control. We have no clue, no clue whatsoever where these words come from, where these ideas come from; they too are out of our control. What we call ourself is not ourself. For everything we call our body is in fact part of a larger network. … As difficult as this idea is to express, there is no self to ourself, there is no me in me. We stress the use of we for it begins to explore the idea that what we call me is in fact not only an illusion, but more importantly highly inaccurate since me cannot be separated from the molecules making up me, including those particles of light and sound, which come from the universe and head back to it. Our ideas are not our own, they course around as memes in a sense, independent of any one of us.
When I read this, I thought the channel made a mistake. Now, I’m sure it didn’t. “… there is nothing outside ourself…” At first, my argument against this was “but everything is outside of us”. When I best conceptualize me, I seem to be absolutely nothing — like an electron. A point particle with no interior structure. My brain, my eyeballs, my hands, all of that is “outside myself”. But that is illogical too. Buddhism says something like there is nothing outside our mind … that we create our own reality. Seth says that, too. I kind of believe that, but …
… and there I paused. Perplexed. Time to take a bath. That’s where I can sometimes meditate.
The secret life of hands
I’m right handed, which means when I surf I hold my phone in my left hand and flick with my right. I’m surfing. But suddenly, Mister Hand wasn’t surfing but grabbing the rail. Mountain Metro had just hit a bump and hand decided on its own to grab and stop finger flicking. Having had ADHD ever since I’ve been little and dealing with it all these years means I accept that my hands have a mind of their own. Somehow “I” and my hand are the same … it’s my hand, it’s phone, I’m on my bus on my way to my apartment. I remember the day last summer, I was coming home on a late Saturday morning and going to stop at my grocery store before riding my bike down the hill. Should I say “my hill”?
I didn’t tell my hand what to do, it decided on its own. With ADHD, if I’m not paying attention to my hands, they’ll leave my other belongings at random places and more than once I’ve apologized during an intimate moment for my hands behaving badly. There’s a deep problem with this story. If my hands are mine, but outside myself, then I can play dumb and blame them (and ADHD) for their bad behavior. Leaving things in the wrong place, oofing the bf at the wrong time, and congratulating as well, for grabbing the right handle at the right time. But they’re my hands and in a court of law, I’m responsible for them. Same with my car. Same with a gun. But do you see the problem? If I start extending myself beyond this infinitely small point of conscious self — the me that sees the world “external to” myself — then there is no inherent end. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything, outside myself is then myself, within my mind, within my control (were I truly to master the process). I am as responsible for “you” as I am for “my car”, “my hand” and whatever else I claim is “outside myself”. And frankly, my hands are as out of control as my car is. Only through modern miracles of biology is my hand under my mind’s control. Only through modern miracles of mechanics is my car under my mind’s control.
Lack of Conclusion
Is Seth right? Do we create our own reality? Are Buddhists right? Is there nothing outside of our mind? Is Jesus right? Is the kingdom of god at hand, literally?
I don’t have the answer. I don’t even know what the “I am” that is supposedly thinking right now. What am I? I haven’t a clue. That’s so weird.