If you knew me, you didn’t know me.
I can barely make the claim I knew myself.
I’ll maintain I don’t really know all that much. I have a couple pieces of paper from a university saying I do. But I don’t. It’s sort of a humble brag but I mean it.
But I know the following. What I realize is we all have put layers on. We will do our best to maintain the layers, to shield who we know we really are from everyone else now that we’ve placed our layered foot forward already, having dug deeply into a commitment which is, in our minds, impossible to reverse from.
What’s more, we are committed to the layers because for a lot of us they’re justified by the momentary rewards we seem to glean from obtaining successes. Wear a layer, get a reward. There is a system rewarding us for a while. It’s also pulverizing us because we know we are not ourselves. All the while the layers are built stronger because they are reinforced by systems.
We feel we must keep up with the system we identify the most with. We give all our energy towards what is expected by the system of our choice (which gives us a sense we made some sort of autonomous decision, which the system encourages) versus giving all our energy towards the Way which is narrow. It’s so narrow. We know it is a struggle if we take that path.
Which is why we collapse into maintaining systems we are ideologically opposed to in order to assure we have a slice of pie which we can see and taste in the here and now. We feed a paradox where we show up to our spiritual centers one day a week to plead for relief from the system we keep feeding our energy towards. Leaving our spiritual center in a momentary euphoric sense of peace, prepared to be crushed once again by the onslaught of a system we know in our heads to be contrary to what we just heard about for an hour.
We literally hear about an entirely new way of life, of actual life, of living to the fullest, of serving others, of casting away fears, of subverting unjust systems, of loving relentlessly. Then we go on shrugging our shoulder to the layers we keep which only fester the internal wounds.
“I was dead for 6 days, and then I got a hit off hearing about how things will change some day! Back to being dead for 6 days.”
If I knew me, I didn’t know me.
But I know only one thing above all things. And I knew it a long time ago. Only one thing to this day. It’s the only thing I can maintain, because it is the only thing which maintains me.
I am loved by Jesus. That’s it. It’s the only thing I know to be true. I don’t really know what else is going on at all. And I come to realize no one else really does either. We’re either committed to our layers or we are committing to taking major chances in admiration of this great love with all our energy.
Pleading for relief from devotion to systems and our layers lasts only so long. Sometimes, only for an hour out of the week.
But doing the hard work of allowing love to become our system we function completely through while love strips our layers away? It’s the only thing I’ve ever perceived.