This Spirit

So often I have felt the need to defend myself, to protect myself against religion.  As though it were something that could be forced on me against my will.  I want the good will of others yet when they offer to pray for me, or suggest that they have done so,  I become uneasy.  I become anxious, as though I have entered into a relationship in which I can only be passive.  As though I have entered into a realm in which any action of this particular self will be rendered meaningless.

I cannot be sure, but other living creatures who share this planet with us seem to not have the need to verify themselves though the construct of language.  But we do, regardless of how absurd such a thing may be to my neighbor the fox.  My surrender to language is not total by any means; watching the fox or even thinking about watching the fox I am able to give my head a toss, a shoulder a shake and know in that moment something in me is impenetrable to language.  For that reason as much as any when I have been asked to classify my particular beliefs I may suggest I am pagan.

But I don't really know what that is, to be pagan.  My rather off-hand alignment with paganism comes from a desire to not commit to a particular dogma, to replace it instead, if I can, with a deep regard for the natural world.  This is similar to  my interest in  Tao. Although it may be carried into our intellectual life by language, the first stanza of the Tao Te Ching very clearly insists that what is spoken as Tao is not.  And as much as anything this reassuring lack of an insistent dogma allows me to study it closely.  Allows me the construct of language without the binds of dogma.

The fox, she has lovely black stockings and an altogether magnificent tail.  If I am able to contain my jealousy of her I may be able to perfect a mimic of her tossing head until the gesture becomes my own.  I may become highly skilled in watchfulness by observing her deeply aware being. This I have learned from Tao.