Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taking Vows

In a sense I feel as if my life fell apart recently on Vashon Island. Alone, lonely, hungry, broke, cold, wet, and without any plans for the future, I had the opportunity determinedly stare me in the face asking me - "What the fuck are you doing?"

Since then, I have been looking at everything, how this happened, and what is going on.

From this, I have determined that I am wanting to move into more of a disciplined way of life. I would like to on more of a regular basis identify my needs and take responsibility for these needs being met or not met through my choices & actions. Part of this, I see, involves foresight into the future, anticipating my needs for the future, and planning and preparation for taking actions to get those needs met.

One of the things that I see as supporting me with that is having more structure that I am a part of. That is: agreements, expectations and standards which I and others around me hold around the choices that I make. This all presupposes me being really clear on what works and what doesn't work for me in terms of effectively meeting my needs. The structure would be applied & implemented around this understanding.

I have been able to identify some of my actions which have consistently distracted my focus from that which I want to focus on or have lead to my energy going into areas which I don't see as effectively meeting the needs that I want to prioritize meeting. I have written some about this here.

From that line of thinking, and also inspired by the vows taken and applied in the life of Gandhi, I have decided to come up with and apply some vows to myself. I am viewing these as being experimental religious vows.

They are experimental in that I am doing them for an initial six-month period. After that time-period is up, I will re-evaluate how it all went for me, and determine then if I want to keep those vows, add to them, drop a few, or alter them.

They are religious in the sense as defined in this Youtube video Freedom Requires Religion (beginning on minute 1:25):

"When we say 'religion', what we are actually talking about, is something like ‘a series of values and guiding principles along with standards and specific behaviors that are designed to keep me in harmony with those values and principles.'"

The word "vow" also is particularly important to me, in that it is stronger, more binding, and cherished more personally than a "promise", "agreement", or "commitment" is. A "vow" is all of that, but done before God. It is a promise that you make with God, about your relationship with each-other. This chart here helps explain what I mean when I say "God".

Here are my vows:

1) No marijuana or other intoxicants (eaten, smoked or second-hand)

2) No coffee or other caffeinated beverages

3) No sugary foods or beverages

4) No alcohol or tobacco consumption

5) Celibacy – no romantic or sexual relationships, or masturbation

6) Daily prayer & meditation upon waking and before going to sleep

I am really seriously wanting to make some substantial changes to my life right now. I have seen myself play out the same self-defeating patterns in my life for years, if not decades. I have much understanding and desire towards certain things that I want in my life, but have not had the kind of movement and effectiveness that I'd like. I find myself perpetually craving direction, focus and meaning, and am repeatedly left feeling depleted, lost and anguished without it.

In the past I have gotten tattoos with spiritual significance and have even shaven my head a couple of times. I have read, written and talked spiritual/religious matters for hours on end. None of this has gotten me to the place that I want to be. I am wanting to take some new, clear, concrete steps towards the direction I want to go.

With all my thinking, and all my talk, when it comes down to it I do not trust myself on my own to know what it is that I should do with my life. I trust others' advice even less. I want to establish a stronger relationship with God. All other options seem empty, while those brief fleeting moments that I have felt close with God have meant everything to me.

With these vows, the sixth one is really what holds it all together, while the other five all support the clarity of focus in the sixth one.

I will take these vows tomorrow, September 11th, and will re-evaluate them on March 11th. These dates in themselves are significant, in that they are both days in recent history that have contributed much to the mass hysteria, fear and reactivity in our society. I really want more balance, peace and understanding all around.

With that, I imagine that I can do some more interesting shit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Occupation: empath

Purpose: providing the tools and resources to help individuals and communities heal so that they can spend more time fighting this capitalist crack monster and less time fighting themselves


- facilitating spontaneous anti-oppression discussion groups in the back of a crowded Greyhound bus