Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on January 31, 2015

I am fascinated with the phrase "walking point," as in the soldier who walks point, leads the way, who goes first. Yet it took me a very long time to admit to myself that if I am actually doing something new, no one else will recognize it or me either. That is what "new means," unknown – no friendly face or welcoming committee.

That old refrain "Can I get a witness?" takes on new meaning when no one knows you, why you are here, or what you are communicating? It is hard to get a witness to what is unknown or who is unknown. This is true, I suppose, by definition. If you have ever heard the phrase "being alone in a crowd," you know what I am talking about. The funny thing is that we are forever always alone, even when we are with others. It is just the nature of the universe. The Greek philosopher Parmenides said it long ago: "Being alone is." However, we can learn to be alone together.

For sure, there is a certain aloneness to life itself, which is best taken to mean that we each are on our own. It can be hard to communicate to others, especially about something you know that is unknown to them. If we fall into the habit of mistaking our innate aloneness as loneliness and crying about it, that does not help. What I find humorous is that (as I understand) it, "being" has been alone forever. Being just is alone, that's all. As the great jazz singer Les McCann said it in the title of the song written by Eugene McDaniels, "Compared to What?" Good question!

In other words, our being is beyond "compare," because there is nothing to compare it to, except maybe "not-being," and we can't even do that. Shakespeare said "To be or not to be," but the Buddhists say that we can't even "be" to the exclusion of "not being" or vice versa. Both are true and neither exclusively. So someone like me is not about to figure this out because there is nothing to figure out. "Nothing" also does not exist to the exclusion of "something." Talk about having it both ways, this is just nature's way of saying "Not the door on the right or the door on the left. How about trying the door in the middle, newbee."

As for me, I am a hard case. It seems I always insist on trying every avenue other than the one suggested by society, which usually is the classic intelligent choice. But it seems I seldom use my mind for thinking along obvious lines. When I exhaust all possible alternate possibilities, I may deign to pass through the door everyone was telling me about in the first place, with nary a nod. Then again, I may not.

It is this stubbornness that has kept me functioning as an outsider or outrider rather than being more central to society. However, rather than being labeled a "reject," I prefer to be thought of as having an alternative view, much like that of a shaman. I have seen things society has not and lived to tell about it.

Being beyond the normal conventions of society does not equate to reaching the edge of a town and stepping into the meadow beyond the welcome sign. Let me put it this way: time is a convention defined by the majority. Not everyone runs on clock time.

Beyond the warp and woof of conventional time are worlds of psychological time society has never dreamed of. Heaven help those who fall through the cracks of clock-time and expand into one of the infinite worlds of alternative time. You are on your own, temporarily (hopefully) lost in a psychological twilight zone where no one will find you. You must find yourself. If you don't, you go crazy and remain there. If you do stabilize and manage to rejoin society, you are forever changed -- different.

Just as every society has conventions, so every society has an edge over which one can slip, where we are lost to being found. As mentioned, if we can find ourselves and come back from that point-of-no-return, then we are what have been called "shamans," one who has known the unknown or part of it.

[One of the very many photos I am sorting out at this time.]