Joe who is presently educating himself on the art of Tantra was telling us that the Tantrics believe STDs can only spawn from sex that one should not have. “Wrong” sex not as an objective term but as a subjective standard. It is something I know all too well, having engaged in many instances that I knew were damaging to myself, particularly emotionally. This hypothesis makes sense to me… especially because once I isolate what correct sex is for myself, I realize it indicates sex only with people who I love deeply. And that narrows the population down to just a couple of individuals for the rest of my lifetime. But I concur with this hypothesis not only because it infers sex with so few people, but also because one’s immune system is exposed to all sorts of toxic matter once you put yourself in a compromising situation— you are swimming upstream against a slew of oncoming associated risks like a fish against a current. When you deliberately endanger yourself, you compromise your immune system, you put your defensive abilities at a disadvantage.
“What if you contract a chronic disease?” I wondered allowed… and I wondered because I am guilty of committing many wrongs from which I have learned valuable life lessons—and those wrongs I would now never duplicate. “Self” is not frozen in time but is always in flux. The way I conduct myself is not the same as it was my freshman year of College (thank God) and I sincerely believe, from the intuition within my heart and my observation of patterns in nature, that the world is a benevolent and forgiving place; That my physicality may exhibit scars of prior mistreatment, but that it is mostly a reflection of how I currently treat it. And I don’t anticipate bearing the consequences of mistakes made in the past if I have completely reformed my behavior.
Joe concurred. He spoke of the regenerative nature of Nature… “Look at your hand,” he said. “That is not the same hand that you will be looking at in seven years. Skin cells are constantly dying and being reborn. They recycle themselves and seven years from now you will be looking at a completely different compilation of skin cells.” He expressed his belief that if you sincerely believe in something, you can make it happen. “If someone has chronic pain, it is because they believe it will last forever. Because that is what the doctors tell them.” My intuition agrees with Joe. I observe how nature swallows toxic waste that we dump on her shores, on her forest floors. I observe the vagina’s miraculous ability to constrict again after aggressive penetration. And with that realization- that if, and only if, we self-correct our behavior, can we heal ourselves, can we systematically navigate our way out of our personal hells
of ill health and bad fortune and make our dreams come true. We can discontinue behavior patterns with negative feedback loops and absolve ourselves of the torrent of events that it then seems the universe dumps upon us. We can live in the garden…
“Oh my God!” I slapped myself on the forehead, “I have to start taking responsibility for myself!” A very wise man (named Bill Hicks) once said, “You know what you are doing is wrong… you do it anyway… you are the definition of evil, kill yourself.” Although I would replace “kill yourself” with “reform yourself,” I agree with Hicks’ definition of evil. We tend to think of evil as something other than ourselves. But have we ever considered the possibility that we invoke, cultivate, and apply evil in our very own actions, simply by performing actions we know are wrong? Or by performing actions mindlessly without stopping to ensure they are morally sound? Evil is not necessarily something as obscure as a devil with red horns, or a rapist in an alleyway, a crooked cop, or a bloodthirsty terrorist. Evil is as close to home as within ourselves. It is in the individual actions, from action to action: Don’t litter. Apologize to your friend that you crossed. Don’t cut people off in traffic, and wear a condom if you think you might have chlamydia!
I know personally that I usually do know what the right thing to do is in any situation. I can feel very palpably when I am doing the wrong thing (smoking a cigarette, not volunteering to do the dishes). But Newton’s third law of motion does not end in the material realm…. it applies to all facets of life. For everything I do, there is a reaction of equal force in the opposite direction. If I chose to smoke a cigarette now, I am going to feel the consequences of it later. Its backlash is going to hit me in the ass, one way or another. I cannot defy a law of physics- perpetual indulgence cannot sustain itself forever but must be reconciled for. It is like how a wave cannot hover over sea level but for a moment
…The universe must restore its cosmic equilibrium, and the wave must crash back down to become flush with the ocean. Knowing that, I should not dig myself into the debt of all these mindless bad habits because then I am going to live in misery. I will build myself into a personal trench of Hell, perpetually paying the consequences for all my indulgences: the “quick fixes”, the “oh I’ll quit tomorrow” cigarette, the, “I’ll begin following my dream tomorrow” park on the couch… an existence of incapable tar-ridden lungs, and the despair and the anxiety of an unfulfilled dream.
This segways into a conversation about Karma itself. People think of karma as this autonomous chastisement that nature delivers sometime after the fact. But karma is just the vibration of any action you make. And knowing that, we must start taking responsibility for ourselves. Every beer binge has a hangover. Every time you lie you will bear the anxiety of getting caught and feel the sting of guilt. If you don’t want your every move to be tainted by anxiety and guilt, simply discontinue the behavior that causes those byproducts. Defiances such as lying, stealing, and cheating create tumors on our hearts. They metastasize as we continue to lie, steal, and cheat, threatening our health and wellbeing. But these grotesque symptoms are good things– they reinforce intrinsic value, and our own subjective value systems. They remind us what is good and bad for us when we have lost sight of this distinction. It is a system of checks and balances where the universe ensures that one does not deviate too far off the path of nature. The only time we are unhappy, we will realize, is when we have drifted too far from the natural script.
This system of checks and balances also ensures that one does not graduate to a level of proliferation beyond what he or she is capable of supporting. We’ve all heard lottery-winner horror stories, where the winners are not as competent in their money-management habits as a self-built millionaire. Equilibrium between input and output is simply law of nature. And when the input is insufficient, the output will fall to meet it. Thereby their empire crashes: their house forecloses, they have to sell their newly-bought Maseratis, relinquish their county club memberships, and return to Folgers House Blend and do-it-yourself manicures. This balance between means and ends is a property of Nature. It extends to all facets of life. It is the same in relationships… If you are truly not worthy of your lover (cheating, being disrespectful, manipulative etc) he or she will leave you. If he or she doesn’t, he or she will suffer for the duration of time that you two are together (and hence we establish that karma applies inter-dependently.) Extend this pattern to a macro level and we can say, if America hoards all the world’s resources, we deprive other nations. So this responsibility I speak of extends beyond personal responsibility, and applies to anyone and everyone we affect. Or we can think of it as if we are all cells of one organism, and we must take personal responsibility for that organism– That organism being planet Earth.
By becoming aware of every condition in our lives as simply the vibrational reaction of actions we make, such negative conditions as anxiety, a string of turbulent relationships, perpetual “bad luck,” etc. can become our allies. By detecting them rather than blindly reacting to them, we can inform ourselves of latent incongruences between our behavior and nature. We should not run from the anxiety, but instead listen to what it is trying to tell us. And when we confront and solve the problem, the anxiety will dissipate on its own. I am grateful for the anxiety that I feel when I opt out of a run because it is like an overt message that that thing which causes me anxiety for not having done is precisely what I must do! I must go on a run! By body is telling me I need it. Likewise I am grateful for the guilt and physical pain I feel after a night of drinking. It is telling me that as long as I drink, I will be in pain. Whether or not I choose to endure this agony is up to me. I can turn the switch “off” whenever I want. I heard Barak Obama say on the news one day, “We will respond to the threat of environmental change!” A wave of disheartened frustration rolled through me. It is we who are inflicting this environmental change in the first place, don’t you see Mr. President? There is no external threat to which we have to respond! Nature is not our enemy. She is simply trying to reestablish her equilibrium we have so disrupted. No offensive action need be taken. If we no longer want to be pummeled by apocalyptic winter storms and oppressive summer heat we need only to correct our own behavior and stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere and hacking out the lungs of our planet down in the Amazon. “Stop externalizing the enemy” I wanted to yell. The problem, and therefore the solution to our own well-being, lie within ourselves.
Whenever we behave in a way that is disharmonious with nature, we will feel her resistance. We cannot defy nature. We are elements of nature, and therefore follow her natural law. If we try to cheat nature, we will cheat ourselves. And we will feel this through personal suffering. We must each learn how to groove to her tempo. For example, I realized this morning that if only I eat healthy—a diet that is completely synchronized with what makes sense for my body, I will eliminate the probability of any diet-related health problems. I will not have to worry about heart failure if I don’t eat foods high in cholesterol or saturated fat. I will not have to worry about liver failure if I do not consume toxic material. I will not have to worry about lung cancer if I never smoke. For the most part, health problems do not just appear out of the blue (although there comes a tipping point with genetics, age, and general system failure) … If I do not bake myself under the sun like a filet of haddock under the broiler, I won’t have to worry about skin cancer and if I abstain from risky sex I should not contract an STD. What I am saying is that we can spare ourselves a lot of problems if we align our behavior with the model of nature in the first place. (This is not to trivialize such ailments as cancer- which, with their seeming hijacking tendencies towards innocent, unsuspecting, and healthy victims is beyond my understanding, but I believe must tie back to inter-personal responsibility.)
The movie Erin Brokovich made great strides in demonstrating how innocent, oblivious civilians can bear the consequences of decisions industry makes in its own self-interest. A compressor station using chromium in Hinkley, California created196 cases of cancer due to water contamination. Today documentaries like Food Inc. and Forks over Knives strive to remind us of our birthright to good health and to redefine self-love as we know it. They preach karma through preventative medicine and a return to the no-fail system of alliance with nature- a “secret” that has been lost on us. Inter-personal responsibility… It’s REAL! Today with hydraulic fracturing, innocent land, people, and animals are on the tail pipe end of the equation: methane emission, co2 emission, spills of radioactive fluid that kill plant and animal life, stillborn calves, and a variety of health problems including cancer, brain and nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, etc.
The Chaos Theory hyperbolizes that the flutter of a butterfly’s wing in South America can induce a typhoon on the other side of the planet. So we must all purify our actions as to not knowingly or unknowingly disrupt our personal harmony or that of others. As for our own lives, if we want to climb out of the trenches of our own personal Hells on Earth, all we need do is discontinue behaviors with negative consequences. If our actions are out of synch with nature, they will have carcinogenic outputs, and we will spend the whole of our lives wading in them, suffering radiation damage, and cleaning up after ourselves. Therefore let us not deviate from nature, and there will be no mess to clean up.
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