Some day before Thanksgiving, I turned on the TV while I was rocking my infant daughter. It’d been left on the cooking channel, and charismatic Bobby Flay had just roasted a turkey and was nibbling a bit of it while another host was commenting on how unexpectedly juicy it was.
As I flipped the channel and soothed my baby, the image mutated in my mind to a cooked kitten. Then it morphed into a diabolic Bobby Flay tenderly peeling a strip of cooked flesh off the shoulder of a human corpse. Yes, my mind went too far and Bobby Flay (probably) doesn’t deserve to be aired on Hell’s basic cable.
I notice that I’m becoming more sensitive to cooked flesh in general. There’s a certain horror to it – the body of a consciousness that had emotional relationships and personal preferences has been decapitated, shaved or plucked, and put in the fire.
At this point, I apologize if I’ve offended anyone with a corpse in the fridge.
On a different note, our ancient cat’s bladder has become decidedly less controlled just as she has become less able to handle the increasingly cold weather. The urine puddles that occasionally appear are still as foul and ammoniacal as ever – but, the poor creature is simply less able than she used to be and mopping is part of an agreement I formed with her long ago.
After much meditation, I see more corpses and urine than ever before.
Those random bell-ringers that lurk outside of the supermarkets tug at my mind far more than they used to. The difficulty I have dealing with bad-behaving children who have come out of troubled circumstances has increased, as I’m simultaneously less and more tolerant. I’m not quite as good at maintaining my internal discipline or refusing impositions on my time as I once was.
You see, spirituality is not directly about positivity. Spirituality is about authenticity, and that means a sensitivity to the truth. Spirituality and sensitivity are intertwined; to those who seek the light, the darkness becomes more visible and avoidable.
Even though it’s not very masculine to mix spirituality and sensitivity, and even though such a melting pot means a certain horror at animals basted in their own juices, arthritic cat joints, and the auras of depression and defeat coming off of strangers… there’s also serenity in that horror. There’s a peacefulness in the vegan holiday dinner. There’s a small smile in mopping up the cat pee. There’s a freedom from the ideals of industry and progress in rescuing the drowning pincer bug from the toilet or making a donation to some unexamined social cause.
Seeking positivity is different than seeking truth and God.
Although you and I can never claim to such purity and blessedness, and although it doesn’t seem the act of a peaceful and contented man, Jesus drove the money-changers out of the temple. Through sensitivity and repugnance, we act toward positivity and love. In this way, the manifestations of darkness are cleansed rather than consumed.
In this way, excrement and blood become invitations to the Kingdom no less than the cathedral sky or loving hug.
In whatever form it may come, listen when the Holy One calls you to throw money-changers out of a temple.