Sunday, October 14, 2007

Who are you?

This is what the Rabbi Michael Weisser answered when I asked what love is. Now you can look at this one of two ways, but I think it's both: first that I am love/you are love and second that you can truly know what love is by knowing yourself. There is something so key about knowing yourself in the discussion of love. It is an ongoing process obviously but something that is so important to consistently reckon with.

I am reminded in this moment of the religious philosophy that we should lose ourselves to God. I do not think this means literally sit all day by your bed doing nothing other than studying the Bible. I believe that the self we are asked to lose is the self that is other than. The self that is other than our true form. It's no simple task. Sorting through all this extra buildup we've acquired over the years but I can think of nothing so powerful as to step out into the world without it. Why isn't it simple? I find myself asking again. I think it's because our minds really believe we are this person with all this extra buildup. So much so in fact that often times we don't even know what is buildup and what is natural.

One of the functions of tree bark is to rid the tree of its wastes by absorbing and locking them into its dead cells and resins. A tree is actually completely covered in its own shit. It could let this define it or consume it. It could invest in the latest debarking technologies. It could stand all day wondering about its waste and feeling guilty about being called a tree when, really perhaps, it should have been called a bark.

Yet as far as we know, a tree does none of this. Instead it stands in all its beauty and fragility reaching ever upward to the heavens, while at the same time rooting down, firmly, into the earth. It uses the force of the wind to carry its song and seed. It gives its entire self to the service of others. And, as if this were not enough the tree uses its bark. A part of its bark transports great quantities of nutrients all the way from its leaves to its roots.

I think the tree's got the right idea. I think we have to find a way to use our own shit to transport nutrients to our souls. The trick is, it is necessary to know what you've got there if you are going to put it to good use. So take a good look at your own bark and then use it. You see, the other function of bark I did not mention is that it also protects the tree. But only so much as that little shell can. If the tree used the bark only as protection, it would be in big trouble. Psychologists say that often these things we do have served or protected us at one time or another.

Learn your bark, love your bark, use your bark. Let it be part of you but not define you.


Anonymous said...

laura, i loved your blog. it made me cry. love you, m

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should start saying ah BARK! instead of oh shit. Either way very insightful