You are bigger than you think. And, the artist formerly known as Prince


I like to yap about how unfathomably enormous each human being is. You are more than what others ever give you credit for. And more profoundly, you are more enormous than you yourself are aware.

But these are gigantic ideas, expressed in hyperbole. Still, I think we can grasp them in tiny nuggets at a time. That’s what I’m thinking after reading this New York Times article and watching the video to which it refers, at a link I’ll share below.

If you are a parent describing your child to someone, it is a woeful snapshot. You may marvel at your child every day, but can’t express that in a brief exchange.

If you are the child of a parent – as we all are, duh – your mind may hold a tidy summary of your parent. Be honest: You don’t have the foggiest idea how enormous your parent is – who they were before they were a parent, and what they do when they are not parenting you, and what they may have done after you have flown the nest. Same for a parent – about your child – if they have flown.

If you have a romantic partner, you really cannot account for how outrageously remarkable they are in the times that you are not by their side. Others might snapshot that for you, but it’s only a snapshot. “Tell me about your day,” only skims the surface.

Etc.

So, enough grandiose ideas for one blog article. Let’s just enjoy a nugget together, from the New York Times, “The day Prince’s guitar wept the loudest.” Almost all of us know Prince or “the artist formerly known as Prince” as a phenom. Of course, he wasn’t born that way, and didn’t grow up that way. That reverence was earned, not just some fluke; he’s a legit musician. I am no avid Prince fan, but I sure have liked his music.

So … as the NYT writer says, “This was Prince the Lead Guitarist…” (not the massive celebrity persona “snapshot” transcending his isolated guitar skills). See what I mean about what we don’t know about the hugeness of every other human being (and maybe about our own selves)…

If you can’t access the full article, but want it, just let me know (it’s the New York Times; the artful wordcaft ain’t shabby). But if you just want to view the 3 out of 6 minute video it is written about, you can follow that link below for free instead (no New York Times access required).

The article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/arts/music/prince-guitar-rock-hall-of-fame.html

The video starting at the salient time, where Prince reminds us that he was a mere asskicking guitarist before he was a brand name:
https://youtu.be/6SFNW5F8K9Y?t=3m50s

The full video:
https://youtu.be/6SFNW5F8K9Y

.
Neil D. 2022-03-02


WISDOM DIALOGS 1 – “I’ve done those things…”


[45-second read]
“I’ve done those things…”


Jane: “I was reading that that kind of person tends to X, Y, and Z…”

[Long, pregnant pause]

John: “Jane… I’ve done most of those things…”

Jane: “I know… John, maybe your self-awareness is what we mean by wisdom and compassion.
By the time we get to midlife, we’ve done a lot of things.
I bet, 10 years ago, we would look at a list of traits like this and say – ‘Well, I certainly know people like that. I’m not like that. I’m a *good* person, or smart person or kind person’ – or something like that.
Now, when we look at a list like that, we are looking for, ‘*When* have I been this, or done that? *How* am I still this or that?'”

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Neil D. 2022-02-20


“God has a plan.” Hypocrisy. Comparison. Judgment.


[5 minute read]

“God has a plan.”

I believe that. But what “believe” has come to mean to me – empty words when I assent only intellectually without living from my heart – is a topic for another time.

No surprise, God’s plan is probably pretty complicated. Even just God’s plan for me. A famous philosopher allegedly said, “God made us in God’s image, and we return the favor.” We tend to think God plans like we plan.

If we look at that rationally, it is of course silly. We are very different from God. And yet, we are the same, also. We tend to think of God’s computer program for creation as pretty complicated. And indeed it must be. It seems to have many purposes, and indeed it does. Many subroutines all aimed at the same goal.

What is the overarching goal that God’s plan has for all of us? What is the purpose of our own small subroutines in that grand program? They must be the same in nearly every sense – that enormous destiny, and the tiny destinies oriented toward that enormous one.

I suspect that, in one sense, the fate of the tiny is to be obliterated into the enormous. That is, the common fate is annihilation of the *comparison* itself.

Something seems to be calling us so that that something can reveal that we are not separate from God.

We may think of God as so enormous that we are not very connected to God. Well of course, I find it impossible to believe that *God* thinks that same way at all. That’s one way we are different from God, and the same as God.

We often hear, “God is love.” That’s a pretty enormous thought. But we do not doubt it. Are *we* also love? Not as enormously as God is. Or are we? Is “love” something to be compared as tiny and enormous? I think we have an extremely difficult time NOT making that comparison because our life experiences of authentic love have been mixed in, inseparably, with false and wrongheaded notions of love.

Many things which we have done, and which have been done to us, are not at all authentic love. But let’s confess how nearly impossible it is to separate those false instances from authentic instances of love. The false instances don’t negate the authentic ones. Nearly all of us have experiences of authentic love.

Many of us have experienced the love of parents, or showered onto our own children authentic love. Yet, both our parents and our children have not loved us perfectly. Nor have we loved our loved ones perfectly in every instance. That does not make the authentic love of those instances any less authentic.

We have loved our romantic partners, and been loved by them. The same with friends. But, more often than we would like to admit, sometimes what we intended to be love, or thought love was, was just an imitation. We often thought imitations were sufficient, or would lead to authentic experiences of love. If we are parents, many of our parenting practices were very wrongheaded, fueled by our own egos and comparison. We wanted to be seen as good parents, even if our practices didn’t feel entirely right to us. We succumbed to fear of judgment rather than fear of uncertainty.

We each know these things as human beings.

And we each project these things onto God.

Perhaps this is why we defer to God by, “God has a plan.” We sense that, whatever plan we might formulate, it can’t be quite right. We wish and hope that God is in control, because we are fallible.

I think the overarching purpose of God’s program is love. It is what drives all of the subroutines – us. The glitches and the bugs in that program were not created by the programmer. The artificial intelligence of the subroutines is left to sort out the authentic from the inauthentic. Because that sorting itself arises from, and progresses toward, the overarching destiny of the whole program.

It is our human destiny to make mistakes. Not a one human being avoids that. And so we optimistically believe that we “learn” from those mistakes. We learn what love is, and we learn what love is not.

Many times during that education we insist that we have loved better than others. But that insistence of the ego is rooted in comparison. We judge ourselves by how well we have imitated acts of love. But those are acts.

We have often been actors.
And the Greek word for actor?
“Hypocrite.”

I do not believe for one second that God wishes us to figure out God’s plan. I think God has made it much simpler than that: “Love, like I, the Lord your God, love.”

That boundless love is enormous because it has no conditions. It is unconditional. It has no need for notions of comparison, of judgment, of guilt, shame, of fear. It needs no conditions. It is God’s nature – not only a trait, characteristic, or attribute of God. If we say, “God is love,” that is all God is. It is we who add on other things, like King and Judge.

The exclusive basis – EXCLUSIVE, no other – for God’s being, and all which God brings into being, is love, and nothing else.

God is love. It is God’s fundamental mode of being. And, as God’s children, it is ours also. We feel most natural when our loving is authentic. For it is our fundamental nature to love.

Neil D. 2022-01-27, inspired by “Allie” who shares her story, which is Beauty


For New Years, I’m re-solved to be me: “Choose” the secret to success


[80 second read]

My re-solution? My again-solution.

How have I arrived at this moment of resolve? Of overwhelm? How have I surrendered to all the evidence for believing that I am authentically and genuinely loved so deeply by others? What impossible combination of choices have I made to deserve and earn that? None. Or, one? The most impossible one?

Want to know my secret to success?

I tried to be someone I am not, for a long time. And now, I choose to be Neil. The Neil I am. The Neil I have always been. That’s what I have chosen, and choose now. Huh?

You’ve heard the same thing. Why can’t you choose to be who you are, instead of who you might wish to be? Or who others wish you were?

How do you get the freedom to choose to be you, in your fullness? How do you summon from inside yourself the freedom to choose to be you? I don’t think you do.

I think it has to be shown to you. I think you have to be slapped in the face with it so many times that you fall far, far down. To rock bottom. To the depth of a soul. To the darkest of darkness. And when you look up, you see no one postured above you to assault you. Instead, what you see, is nothing but loving faces. They haven’t walked away; the ‘act’ isn’t over. They’ve been there all along, and they will not go away. I haven’t chosen to be Neil. I have been shown who Neil is.

Didn’t need to solve anything. Re-solved, I’m solved again.

Each of us has put together a construct by which we explain why what we do is necessary and good. This is the specialty of the ego, the small or false self that wants to protect its agenda and project itself onto the public stage. We need support in unmasking our false self and in distancing ourselves from our illusions. (https://cac.org/how-difficult-it-is-to-see-clearly-2021-02-28/)

Neil D. 01-01-2022