Jeff: I love pop music. My friends play me some hip electro banger I’m like ‘ya ok,’ but when I hear Carlye Rae Jepsen Cut to the Feeling my inner teenage girl goes mental (never mind when Selena Gomez samplesthe Talking-Heads – sick!) I love these songs because they make me feel free. They make me realize that at anytime I can actually kick off my leg warmers and do cartwheels down the sidewalk. That in a million different ways I imagine I’m limited and constrained and that I must act or be a certain way but really, really, at anytime I can just … step off. Step off the ride. And the world will hold me. I won’t fall off into outer space, or lose my work, or my friends, although I may slightly damage my credibility when I do Freddy Mercury impressions. So: what is this freedom exactly, and what does it means to step off the ride when we have not history and responsibilities and all the rest of it? I’m not actually sure – maybe you know.
Jeff: OK, for this weekly instalment of devotion month, we are going to explore what it means to be goo goo ga ga in love with the hottest sexiest meanest and most ass-kicking ENTITY in the whole universe – that is, the Universe itself. Aka, reality, aka the existential wrapper thing that you, me, and everyone seems to find themselves inside, now and always, for reality just keeps on being real. What could it mean not just to love this beastie, but also to treat “it” as both intelligent and in constant communication with us? Can one have such a view without being committed to an asylum, or being roundly mocked by your boring social scientist friends? What might a discerning version of this understanding look like, and can we expand our minds to accommodate it, like a pair of stretchy lycra yoga pants?
Jeff: Wow, lots of caveats around action this month, I guess we are a tender bunch – learning about self-care, about boundaries, about humility. But let’s not let our humanist realism trump our contemplative hearts, because, as everybody knows, love and service are still the only real games in town. Is there a place for this kind of idealism in our mangled modern world? What might it look like, and how can we help each other come to it in our own ways? The night before Halloween, we spook the hipsters with the only thing they truly fear: earnestness. Bring on the loving kindness!
DATE: October 16 TEACHER: Jeff Warren THEME: Being There for Others MEDITATION: This is Me with Good Boundaries INTERACTIVE: This is Me Swamped and Bleeding Sideways Into Your Eyeball
Jeff: I know what being there for others means: it means secretly imagining I am personally responsible for the happiness of each person I meet and making sure to get helplessly entangled in their psychic dramas so I can get overwhelmed and leave them confused and worse off than they were before. Or at least, that’s how I used to do it, when I wasn’t drunk. Then I learned about b-o-u-n-d-a-r-i-e-s. Apparently they have these in some countries. This Monday, we practice healthy action in relationship – ie, how to NOT merge into a flabby sea of oneness.