Monday, August 5, 2019

Grist For The Grail

Since antiquity we have searched for The Grail. Alas, its elusive quality remains ephemeral. We can but briefly attain it. Out there, beyond ourselves, it might be felt or glimpsed or realized in a moment of consciousness, in happiness with an object, or in a paradigm shift of apprehension that evolves our sometimes-sluggish psyche. But always, it is attained comparatively briefly, before we must be off and on The Quest, for yet more. After all, stasis goes nowhere. And deep in the atavistic instinct of each us, surely as we each indeed were the winning 'swimmer' to attain fusion with the fertility of being born, we are profoundly restless. We want more. We want somewhere else. We needs be doing, be going, be producing, be attaining, be fabricating, and even be sustaining. Movement is all. Who can sit still, always? Eventually, we want elsewhere.

So long as The Grail is elsewhere, we shall pursue it. Given that it be something beyond our inner selves, we shall never be happy. We can forget our essence. We can forget the precise moment by moment of The Now. We hanker. We yearn. We fear being selfish. We understand that our ‘real’ connection, since birth, is essentially about interconnection. To survive, we first needed a parent. Then we wanted a family to fit into. After that we wanted to establish our individuality. Competition gave us status. Then we gave of our individuality an allegiance to a larger group, subscribed to our parental or self-chosen religious base, subsumed ourselves to an established organization, or affiliated ourselves to a political base. Fence sitting is felt to be too wobbly. One needs to declare oneself a part of This or That. And to have one’s feet straddling two camps is often construed as betrayal of another’s paradoxical singularity of cherished ideals. Integration comes slowly. It can wear the cloak of arrogance. At worst, it does not without contempt suffer fools. At best, it creates the illusion of benevolence. After all, without oneself at the helm, where would one’s ship of state be? And then, realizing that the very ship one sails is depending on the egalitarian equitability of all counterparts, one may well yoke the entirety of mankind into a collective, (yet still deem all those who misunderstand an umbrella of protectionism to be essentially misdirected.) After all, some are fools, idiots, and even oxygen thieves. Full Integration, compassion, absorption, assimilation, and acceptance comes but slowly. After all, just who do you think you are? Indeed, to differentiate so drastically from the generality of the acculturated contention of one’s compatriots is to have entirely to be self-reliant, to have hold of The Grail, to know peace with every moment, and who among us is always ‘there’. No, peace has its place; and then one moves on. Irritation, grief, annoyance, dissatisfaction, incompletion, and wont impels us elsewhere. The Quest persists. After all, as even John Wayne (that icon of manly and independent self-actualization) is purported to have said, “we can cry more comfortably in a Mercedes than we can on a bicycle seat.”

Cycling alone up the east coast of Great Britain, and desperately fearful of being apprehended by the police, Adam Broadford was in search of The Grail. In the sequel novel to his Admission, A Story Born of Africa, Adam makes the transition from Africa to England, then to Scotland, the remote Orkney Islands, and finally to the frigid north of Canada. His story, called Transition, is actually more about the inner journey toward enlightenment than it is about the outer journey of geographical displacements. For Adam, being essentially autotelic, meta-cognitive, and impelled by an entelechy (an innate drive) to surmount and surpass the circumstances of his birth and upbringing, he strives to transition from a world of victimhood to a world of choice. Many of the cages in which one dwells are cages of one’s own acceptance of circumstance. For Adam, creating a life of freedom for circumspection; for freedoms of choice; taking advantage of varied opportunity; and taking on a chosen citizenship (as opposed to being compelled by the circumstances of birth and acculturation,) his journey is of one of adventure and excitement, yet also a journey of profound inner transition. One learns to forgive the past.

The Quest is ongoing. The Grail is always there, however fleetingly observed. Thing is, to awake each day to its presence. Our interconnection, our integration, that’s grist for The Grail.