After a brief pause,
he spoke. “Always abide by these basic principles: Refrain from outrageous
action, and develop patience.
“I am guilty of
breaking both of those rules and will teach by example why you should not do as
you have seen me do.
“When you live as
long as I have you come to realize that you shouldn’t have any consideration
for yourself; therefore, you try to act in a self-sacrificing manner. My past
attempts to manifest selflessness became exhibitionism. I allowed myself to be
thrown in jail and publically scourged. I did this and realized that the
imprisonment and public scorn and punishment were forms of vanity. Are the
sacred teachers able to write as fast as I am speaking? If you would like, I
would be happy to slow down.”
The priests nervously
nodded their heads for Mikna to continue. One had the two black chevrons of a
deacon and the other had four gray chevrons and one black chevron indicating
the rank of junior inquisitor, second class.
“Usually, there is
extreme confusion about patience. That is to say, you can be patient with your
friends but not with your enemies; you can be patient with people whom you are
trying to cultivate or your particular protégés, but you cannot be patient with
people who are outside of your coterie. That kind of extreme is actually a form
of personality cult. It can be the cult of yourself, which always a bad idea.
“The People generally
believe in that which is graduated, classifiable, and hierarchical. They
believe in taxonomy. Our entire corpus of mythology is expressed that way. It
has been handed down to us from our human ancestors. They wrote stories that we
still teach our children. You all know them as well as I do. If you climb the
beanstalk, you will see a naughty giant. If you slay a dragon, you will win a
beautiful princess. Our entire system of education is contrived just that
way. If you attend classes, and pass tests, you will be awarded a degree and
perhaps you will become an island-city administrator or a chief mining engineer
on a space station. Maybe you will ascend to stations in The Church or you will
sit with the Council of Libria.
direct appreciation of wonder, and genuine love of knowledge, do you see how we
have become conditioned to expect that we are ascending ladders, or following
paths? Do you see how we become conditioned to expect that ladders and paths
lead somewhere? It’s not your fault if you hold these truths as valid.
question behind the spoken question presupposes that you can classify a
religious path to salvation. The priests behind you who would indict me for a
faith crime are on this path. If they do thus and such, they will become thus
and such. The chevrons on their cassocks provide instruction to us in this
worldview is like a big ball of string. You don’t know how many pieces of
string are in there. You don’t know where those pieces begin and end.
to spiritual salvation is not about securing, gaining, or achieving status in a
social order, or institutional hierarchy. It is not about pleasing teachers. It
is not about employing rote memory to achieve technical proficiency, nor
repetition to achieve craft or guild proficiency, nor is it the province of
the visiting priests with their expensive clothing and chevrons of rank is
contrived and ugly. Scheming about advancing your position in a devised system
focused his gaze on the priests. “Repeating what you’ve heard me say today measures neither
understanding nor intention. Adding cultural nuances or literary flourish does
not improve anything. The hunting birds of Procyon mimic the cries of other
birds in order to trap and kill them. You have all heard these stories.”
nodded and so did the priests, who had stopped writing to listen.
recognizing needless suffering and immediately desiring to alleviate that pain
is good. Providing relief in whatever form that may take at the moment will
bring you spiritual rest.”
I have an executive administrative assistant to run interference for me (photo right). Yes, I hired my daughter, Emilie, to do that. The job requires trust and if I can’t trust my own flesh and blood, I’m in a lot deeper trouble than I think that I am.