What are the burdens that you carry?
Most folks lug around monuments to yesterday.
Me? I had skyscrapers of suffering
Each one with its own sweet inscription!
I was so proud to have survived!
Then my teacher called my number:
Give it up. Chuck it all. Go back to No Thing.
(From "Sevens In The Rain", by RS)
Of all the struggles an honest person has upon entrance to the mystic-activist path, perhaps there are none more challenging than the deconstruction of every monument to yesterday -- erected in our consciousness by a lifetime of, well, life... and the culture that surrounds and pervades absolutely everything. Here in the West, there is no more pernicious monument to yesterday than the concept of "original sin" (sorry if I can't thank you, Augustine): while the theory was convenient for oppressing women and controlling the masses, it was also an unnecessary add-on to the simple Way of Yeshua that only served to further alienate the person from his / her truly sacred being. Not only did Yeshua never have anything to say on the subject, one would -- if applying honesty to the subject -- actually find it impossible to imagine that he would agree with the theory, let alone advocate that nearly two thousand years of such garbage were not enough already!
Consider next the reality of war: endlessly, war after war: with evermore efficient methods of destruction: along with the added bonus of the elimination of every line between civilian and soldier, between the innocent and the bomb. And after the survivors have buried the dead, monuments are built to enshrine forever the harvests of death: parks, highways, buildings, and museums: movies are made, books are written: and t-shirts are sold, along with buttons, magnets, and all sorts of doolie-bobs in gift shops... But where are the pendants for the tears? Where are the earrings that have captured the terrors of the children? And where are the prison letters from the few who chose resistance to war above the ideology of tribe, religion, or country?
Consider, too, the spiritual and psychological pain of "normal" life: of loving and of loss: of hoping and of rejection: of good work and a pink slip: of a home and a notice to vacate: and perhaps of a bucket full of dreams that gets up-ended by agendas of domination. Of course, the monuments to each and all of these "yesterdays" are internal: spiritual and psychological: isn't this precisely where the theory of original sin becomes "helpful"? Sure, I can blame a snake, Eve, or women in general: I can blame anyone I might choose (especially "them"): I can blame myself (I'm a lousy good-for-nothing -- unworthy of both true love and certainly unworthy of the very best)... Maybe I actually deserve my life of pain, rejection, and limitations! Talk about erecting monuments to yesterday -- we've all got skyscrapers galore!
Contrary to the thinking of the theologian, the politician, and the businessman, we were not created for any of our monuments to yesterday! We were not created for any sort of oppression, rather, we were created to explore every possible avenue and dimension of love and liberation! Go ahead, search the words of Yeshua: virtually every word and action of his focused on the Way that he lived: and that if we followed suit, we could experience love and liberation as well: now isn't this the essence of Yeshua: Love one another. Pass no judgment. Live simply and share generously. Forgive as often and as easy as you breathe. Act toward others as you want them to act towards you. And in living this way, we can honestly turn our face towards the Holy One...?
There are no monuments to any yesterday proposed by Yeshua. Instead, there is just a simple pathway of possibilities, along with the promise of an ever new beginning... For the mystic-activist, we are not building a monument but a movement: a movement with curves (there are no straight lines pointing to any place worth getting to -- R. Buckminster Fuller)... a movement of inclusion, a celebration of differences, and a delight in kindness and beauty... a movement that cherishes every "other" and eliminates barriers... a movement of service and mutual-aid... a movement of inter-being in reverence of the Earth and all life... a movement of solidarity and cooperation... a movement of equality, justice, land, and everyone's liberation in peace... and a movement with the feminine face of always being "good enough". Understand Yeshua: we are all worthy of our bread and our roses...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.