How many times do you see people post something that – if you pay close attention – is crafted to advertise to the world how concerned they are, how righteously angry they are… that they are “worried” about the “right things”?
Being “virtuous” has never been more in style – problem is, it’s really just a game of “Hey everyone, look at me! I’m better than ________”.
Ninja level question: How often have YOU done that?
I certainly have done an embarrassing amount of it over the course of my social media career, and yes, calling out the virtue signalers can be read as a meta-version of that. Yep. I get it.
A desert dwelling guru called Yeshua once said,
“When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
I think if Yeshua had known about Facebook back then, he would have said,
“When thou prayest, remember that Thy Father is in heaven, and not on Facebook. He hateth that shit. Whilst thou may use Facebook to gently invite others to pray for the downtrodden, thou shalt not advertise thine own prayers, for thou runnest the risk of thy reward being the approval of men, rather than communion with thy Father and / or Mother who art in heaven, but are divorced and not on speaking terms with one another, so you’ll need to call them separately, but that is another story for another parable, beloved ones”.
Let’s talk about your next vacation. You arrive in a new city. You could hit all of the tourist spots that the hotel concierge sends you to, or you could set out by yourself, get lost, and immerse yourself in this new place.
Which will you do? The tourist spots are pre-programmed, measured doses of sterilized reality. They are like artificial cherry flavored candy: It has a cherry on the package, but it tastes NOTHING like a real cherry.
Going out on your own WILL bring the unknown. It could be boring. It could be exciting. Maybe even too exciting, if you end up in the wrong neighborhood. You will, however, be in a position to experience the new city in an authentic way that the tourist traps could never begin to offer you.
Life is full of concierges that are more than willing to suggest interesting things for you to see and do while you are here as a human on planet Earth. Just like hotel concierges, these also earn some kind of kick back when you do what they say ( but that’s another topic for another day). What are the tourist traps of life… those things that everyone says, “Oh, you simply MUST do this!” “You can’t miss it” “You’ll regret it if you don’t _______ while you are here!” “Everyone loves __________, you really need to check it out”.
keeping up with the Jones’s
The late, and great, Bill Hicks gave an iconic monologue about the desire we all feel to follow the advice of the concierge:
The world is like a ride at an amusement park, and when you choose to go on it, you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round; it has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly colored and it’s very loud and it’s fun… for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question: “Is this real, or is this just a ride?” And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, and they say, “Hey – don’t worry, don’t be afraid -EVER- because, this is just a ride.” And we… KILL those people HAHAHA! “Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride – SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!”… But it’s just a ride. And we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok? Jesus – murdered; Martin Luther King – murdered; Malcolm X – murdered; Gandhi – murdered; John Lennon – murdered; Reagan… wounded HAHA! But it doesn’t matter because: It’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings of money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride: Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defense each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, NOT ONE HUMAN BEING EXCLUDED, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.
Ditch the tour group you came with.
Rent a bike.
Go for a ride.
Try to figure out the language with a native.
Have an experience.
Rely on the kindness of strangers to help point you in the direction of the things you need: food, water, and dry place to sleep.
Trust your instincts to find order in the chaos.
Put one foot in front of the other. Only concern yourself with making sure that you execute that footstep very well. Keep doing this over and over, and you’ll arrive someplace glorious… this is the basis of my faith and movement through life. I’ll keep you posted on how that’s working out. Keep me posted on yours, too.
Perhaps this is what Jesus Christ meant when he said,
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.