My thoughts aren’t all together here, but we’ll give it a shot. I need to tell you briefly about Phish. Their lead guitarist, Trey, wrote a thing for his senior project (in college in think) called Gamehendge. It’s a fantastical world with several characters and story lines that are put to music. And many of the songs the band plays come from Gamehendge. One of the songs, or two of them, are Col. Forbin’s Ascent and Fly Famous Mockingbird. In between the two Trey usually offers up a narration… to the delight of all the hippies in the crowd. It’s usually pretty psychedelic.
Anyway, one I listened to the other day from 1995 in Hershey, PA really caught me. Trey starts out saying he’s gonna give a brief history of humanity. He says that way back in time in Ancient Greece, philosophy, science, and religion were all one concept. They hadn’t split up yet he says. Then he goes into saying there are Eastern ways of thinking and Western ways… Eastern is about being One and holistic etc, Western splits spirit and matter…
Now you know the crowd is like, daaannnngg… ‘he’s right mannnn…’ you know and all the other stoned hippy stereotypical utterings. In fact, you can hear the crowd cheer very loudly for the Eastern way of thinking–which is interesting to consider in its own right. So that’s the stage…. these Phish fans are about to have all their eyes opened as Trey explains to them how it all fits together. Remember now, they’re in Hershey.
He goes on to say that one of the major benefits of Eastern thought is the abundance of cows, which leads to an abundance of milk, and therefore an abundance of chocolate! Then he says it like Homer Simpson… ‘chocolate’!
I don’t know if that makes any sense to you. It’d be better for us to listen to it together and hash all the thoughts out. But it leveled me. And I think that’s a good word. Leveled. It made me reflect on Simplicity. They have a song called Simple actually. “We’ve got it simple, because we’ve got a band.”
And one time I was at their 2000 NYE concert in the Everglades and Trey had to give a message of peace and harmony to the TV Audience on ABC for a brief spell, and he said his message of peace and harmony was to stay in the right lane unless you’re passing…
I enjoy breaking things down. Mostly enjoy. Sometimes it causes me stress. But my mind works that way. I like to consider all the angles of life and human existence. I like to think about the parts of the whole. And I believe and assent to the value of those practices. We do have our own little idiosyncrasies and experiences. And breaking those things down can lead to healing in all the kinds of ways. Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual. No doubt.
But sometimes it seems that in continuing to dismantle and highlight all of the component parts that it can become very noisy. Distracting. Trey is just having a good time talking about chocolate. Or Driving. Peace and Harmony or the division between science and religion are all very important aspects of existence, but we aren’t going to get a firm grasp on those things and sometimes it’s good to retreat back to the Simple.
Love God and Love Your Neighbor. My dad has said that’s all there is to it for many years. Often, I think I thought that was just a cop out. But now I understand better. If I Love God and Love My Neighbor I’m doing and being pretty much all I can. But how do you love god and who is your neighbor and what does it mean to say god and which god and why do they do it this way and they do it that way…. Noisy. Important perhaps. But noisy.
The Acts passage today is interesting. I’ve always liked the material possession aspect of it. This is how we treat money in our family. Birthday money or whatever all goes into the ‘box’. And we spend it as we need it. Learning balance between wants and needs and how both of those are ok at various times. And learning not to hold on too tightly for another saying from my Pop–it’s just money.
But maybe there’s more to possession than materiality. I know I have a tendency to think that a revelation I have is one that I had. (Emphasis on I)! That I now have. That now I should tell you about because if only you knew it too then we could all live happily ever after. I figured it out, just listen to me. It’s tricky because revelation by nature feels that way to the one whom it was revealed. So naturally we want to share it. But as the Avett boys sing, possession is the king of sin.
I have the tendency to try and own the truth–as I see it. And Instagram (and all the socials really) is loaded with folks letting you know what the truth is. Just be this way or just do this practice or just manifest this or lean into that or do this work…. I don’t mean to belittle. I just mean to say maybe it’s not so complicated after all. (Also I deleted Insta again… so many reasons)
The overall thrust of today’s readings is that of Unity. Again, I understand the complexities of it all. I get that generalizations have been used to crush other humans.
But despite all of our differences and identifiers and categories and labels… seems to me there is much more that we have in common than we have in uncommon. The less I have to wade through to see you are just like me, makes it that much easier to have the dew of the beard of Herman or whatever…. hahaha. It makes Unity that much more attainable I think.
So. I’m going to set my intention to Loving God and Loving My Neighbor. And I know what that means. Not easy by a long shot. Sometimes the intention of others isn’t focused on loving me. Sometimes I do tricks with my mind to think that I know the intentions of others, and then I get all out of sorts.
But my intention. I know what things I can do to love others. I know ways that I can love God. Ima try and practice doing those things. And when I don’t. Starting again the next day trying again. To be continued…