Anchor for this item posted by Bernard Tremblay at Friday, March 15, 2002; Friday, March 15, 2002

By what fire do we warm ourselves? In the moment, when there's no distraction operating, when there's no grand plan sweeping us along, to what do we look to indicate the next source of momentary comfort from the emptiness and confusion? It occurs to me that coping with a passive aggressive strategy meets the needs of the moment adequately, without even a slight opportunity to escape from the cycle of suffering and error. With the plausible goal of maintaining our autonomy in mind, we can on one hand strike out at those we think are our antagonists and on the other avoid commitment to anything largre than our selves. By validating failure, I subscribe to certain fulfillment, however sterile and diseased it might be. The self-perpetuating nature of pathological relations, this is evidence to how information rich is our environment: if survival itself is taken as adaptive, then cancer is looked to as symbolic of virtue. But our most elemental appreciation of virtue recognizes heedless growth for what it is: life forces engaged in processeses that are machine like in their lack of responsiveness. And so it is with an atititude of mind such as passive-agression, which heedlessly floods every aspect of the situation, bringing us along step by step and moment by moment in a series of mindless interventions, intent on replicating the single autonomous moment of sabotage. Perhaps it's only the agony of despairing in such strategies that can afford an extraction plan, so that the habitual can be related to with a fresh understanding, the impulses can be countered with new insights, and the cycle collapses and dissolves under the influece of new understanding. Appreciative of the deep inter-relatedness of our situation and aware of our absolute enworldedness (in which not a single aspect of our experience does not relate back to what has been or is now, in collaboration with what is coming into being), we can fall backwards out of our conceptualized mappings of the world and find ourselves in the space of authentic spontaneity. In a simpler and more honest relationship to everything that really is, without the obstructions and distorting influences of what we have for so long projected and imagined and otherwise conjured up for the sake of our story line, we find ourselves playfully engaged in the larger project, and in that engagement is deep joy and satisfaction. How exhausting, to be constantly fueling the flames of desire and aversion, poaking and prodding the moment to maintain the fiction, to derive success, to impose our authority, to declare our autonomy. How good it is, to bask in the radiance of a situation that shimmers and shivers in its intimate responsiveness!