The decision to move on comes at the point where the Cascade of Painful Memories, hoarded and cherished over a lifetime, meets the Avalanche of Apprehension, which is the fear that the future will be as the past. The point where this occurs is, of course, the Now, where the thought dawns upon us that we have a choice, of either remaining on the path we are currently on or moving in a new and uncharted direction. This is an instant where the moment crystalizes, becoming forever highlighted as a Crossroads Instant, where two paths diverging become clear and a decision must be made which renders one either free of one’s path up unto that point or slave to a decision which takes one deep into the talus slope of pain and regret that continuing the same path entails.
Too many times, we choose to continue along the same path. And each time we do, the regret settles deeper into our bones, becoming more a part of ‘who we are’ because it is who we have made the conscious choice to be. Regret and disappointment ease into the creases in our faces, mar our smiles and bend our backs just a little bit more as we move into each successive Now defining ourselves by those decisions we’ve made that have led us into this chosen reality, a reality that we consciously realize is not the one that we truly desire to live.
We fool ourselves with words like responsibility, and love, all the while knowing that, beneath these words lies another one, more indicative of the true state of our being. That word is fear. Getting to that point, recognizing the fear, requires the same diligence of introspection and examination that we apply to any test for a new position, or for a grade in school and in life. It requires one to dive past the blocking memories and self-definitions that protect our Ego from its own dissolution, the rationales that we tell ourselves in order to justify our decisions and make us as comfortable in the hellish lives we’ve chosen as possible.
But it never works, because we are always nagged within by a subtle and quiet voice that whispers in the dark and cobwebbed corners of our minds, during those quiet moments before sleep or right after a rush of external impressions or interactions; that whispers, stop lying to yourself. You know what you want but you’re too scared to go after it. This isn’t your life. This is your nightmare. Wake up. We usually banish the thought by beginning some new action, forcing a new train of thought or turning over and counting lost lovers in the attempt to lasso sleep and non-recriminatory and dreamless peace.
Holding on to the nightmare comes to define us, and molds our identities accordingly. We become sarcastic and bitter, our interactions with others reflecting our decreasing opinion of ourselves. Seeking salvation we find comfort in the company of others like ourselves, crass and mired in the fleeting comforts of this world, finding momentary peace from our internal disquiet in drugs, alcohol, sex and the pursuit of mindless pleasures. We cherish our gossip and backbiting, descending wholeheartedly into the complex of needs and desires that material living cultivates, becoming vengeful and petty, believing that the physical orgasm is the epitome of sensual pleasure, only equalled, perhaps, by the increasingly popular and voyeuristic sport of intentionally inflicted pain and suffering.
Living in this mode is life-denying rather than life-affirming and the body, as the outer representative of the soul, becomes slothful and decadent, its movements reflecting the accumulative disfunction of years of vice and negative thinking. Successive moments of realization, increasing in intensity and directness over the years, become moments of fearful denial as we rush further down into the darkness of our choices, afraid to admit that we were wrong, that we chose the wrong path, made the wrong decision, went the wrong way. Becoming perversely proud of our disfunction we revel in our lifestyles, flipping off the sky, thinking that we are defying G-d, not realizing that both sides of the coin remain the same coin, only being different expressions, each necessary for the completion and continued evolution of All That Is, Was and Ever Will Be.
This willfulness of action is defined as Free Will in too many instances where we justify our behavior by claiming it is our choice, our decision to make. We rail against destiny and fate, decrying the existence of either in favor of the supremacy of the mind, the intellect over forces greater than us. We speak G-d out of existence, define Him and relegate Him to the sky and to the pages of dusty old tomes, read only by the ignorant and the uninformed; this, according to the most advanced egoic masturbators among us. Popular culture supports this perceptive framework, as does education and the institutions of society, as we destroy the world in our image, claiming to know what is right as we are ruled by the limited processes of the Ego, forgoing the divine connection to this planet and the intelligences that dwell herein and denigrating them as being myths, childhood stories and religious exaggerations. All the while, we sink deeper and deeper into our illusions, comforting each other with sex and sweet lies, whispered desperately like the most obscene of dirty pillow talk.
The distraction of innumerable television channels, countless radio shows and songs, books, magazines and newspapers that increase our fear factors are part and parcel of the lives we create and live, finding our entertainment by way of clubs and bars that poison our bodies and spirits, food that dulls the senses, mentalities that favor the outer expression over the inner, friendships that cultivate the mundane, and loves that cater to our weaknesses rather than our strengths. We are trained and we train ourselves to waste our lives – in the time between Crossroads Instances – increasing our karmic debt through our responses, yearning for so much more, and yet settling, ever, for so much less.
Slave to the senses, we despair. And, in the midst of that despair, we cry out to G-d and are then presented with successive moments, choices, opportunities to move on. Again and again, forever and ever, Amen.
The choice is, Now as ever, ours.