Being “Good Weird”

{This is the second blog in a round-robin blog thing put together by my friend Liz Solomon Wright.} The question for this week is… “What personality trait(s) do you value most in yourself? Which do you wish you could change? “

I understood the question as, “Who do I want to be?” and “Who don’t I want to be?”. My first response was “I want to be worthy  of the person God sees me as being”. Worthy is the true response, almost. Along with that is “honorable” and “good”.  These things led me to a dark path  — saying I want to be assumes that I’m not which is often how I feel, if truth be told.  It’s like I have to prove myself to someone — in this case, God or people who think they want to be God. I have known a lot of people in my lifetime like that, and it’s a horrible position to be in, because it sucks the life out of you.  

So, who do I like  to be? Who do I want to be in that sense of the word? I like to feel like God is my best friend. In human terms that means Alan Bercovici, I think, whom I have known since freshman year in High School.  Al and I don’t always agree on things and in some ways we’re very different but we’re equals in worth.  Of all the things I have to be, “worthy” isn’t even in question. Competent, maybe, or solid, perhaps, to keep up with him, but I never feel like I have to prove myself  worthy of his friendship. 

This led me to my friend Todd, who has that sort of relationship with God.  I swear, they have coffee or change tires together or something. Todd is always in God’s presence and God is always in Todd’s — or at least that’s how it seems.  Gordon Sherman is like that, too, I think. I, too, have had times like that, but Todd and Gordon seem to spend all  their time in that place and I visit frequently. I don’t know if either of them ever feel anything but equal friends  in their relationship with God, but I haven’t seen it. 

It occurs to me that my friends who are atheists probably have no idea what I’m talking about and this all seems like mumbo-jumbo. I accept that, but it doesn’t make what I’m talking about any less true or desirable.

I have found a term that describes what I’m talking about in the world of psychology. The term is “congruent” — it means that your insides match your outsides and all your senses are firing.  You see what you see, you hear what you hear, etc., and you’re perfectly you  —  in line with your values and doing the thing that makes you feel most alive.  Jazz musicians or funk musicians talk about “being in the groove” — that’s what I’m talking about. Centered, but not exactly here — in a deeper place than what seems possible — centered in earthiness or ethereal — In your body and in your soul. In my case, that means in some weird spiritual way as well. 

A good friend of mine recently told me that one shouldn’t do his job unless they can’t do anything else. If you have to do something because your soul/Spirit calls you to it, when you are doing it, you’re congruent.  

In this space, there is no arguing with you, because you manifest the Truth within you. You seem stronger, more alive, more centered — and you are.  There is a book I have been reading on-and-off for years called “Power Vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior” by David R. Hawkins and every time I touch it, I am whisked by to that space.  What the book basically says is there is a Truth in the universe for each of us and when we tell it our bodies are stronger.  If you hold out your hands and say two different things, one of them being the truth and the other being a lie, and someone pushes down on your arms, they can feel the strength more when you are telling the truth.  He goes on to suggest this as a way to make decisions which are in line with your soul/Spirit/beliefs and thus truer to yourself and your destiny as determined by the cosmos (or God’s plan for your life, depending on how you see it). 

Taoists call this “The Tao” or “The Way” and it’s like a flowing river of Spirit. When you experience it, you know it, and so does everybody else. It feels like the Perfect Moment to you. It feels like an inescapable, drawing authority to others.  That is, they are drawn to you.  When the Bible says that Jesus “taught with authority and they were amazed”, this is what I think they meant.  He wasn’t bossing them around, he was telling them the truth. My friend Leigh points to this “thing” in the movie “Leap of Faith” with Steve Martin which is about a con man/faith healer who knows (and is afraid of, in awe of) The Real Thing when he sees it. 

St. Francis had this he ran into the Vatican naked and asked the Pope to tell his father he wasn’t insane. He had it when he spun around in the dust  trying to make decisions about which way God wanted him to go. Francis would spin around or tell one of his disciples to and when they fell down from dizziness, that was the way he believed they should go.  For St. Francis of Assisi the Truth was in humor, silliness and fun while visiting people and places with nothing, in apparent squalor.  Francis talked with birds, talked with wolves, and attracted a million followers in a very short time. Not everyone’s favorite, he was weird, but in a good way. People who didn’t like him didn’t like the Truth because it violated some deceitful standard in them. 

Jesus had the same thing, with the same result.  His piece of the Truth looked very different, but eerily similar to Francis’. In our own day, Martin Luther King had it. Dick Gregory — a comedian and follower of MLK also has it. I saw him speak once at an anti-nuclear rally and I thought to myself, “My God, who could have seen MLK and this man coming toward them and didn’t think, “It’s over now”? 

Francis, Jesus, and King all died young but their biggest fear wasn’t of dying, it was being out-of-sync with God. When King preached his final sermon about The Mountaintop he said he wasn’t afraid to die because he had done his work  —  the work that God called him to. Jesus was afraid to feel the pain he knew was coming, but he was more afraid of not being himself/in sync with God so he followed through with  what he felt he had to do. 

Another place/person to find this in was the woman who coined the term “congruence”  — Virginia Satir.  If you look at old tapes of Satir, you see that she was alive — something those who knew her understood and were drawn to. Satir, it turns out, was either a Taoist or had Taoist leanings according to people that I know, who knew her

I am drawn back to the arts as I write this, reminded of playing a  piece in a bell choir in Santa Rosa, CA that my friend Muftiah directed. As we worked on the piece, I tried to listen to “how the piece wanted to be played” and I have heard musicians and writers talk about doing this — “letting the piece write itself”.  Did you know that the entire Bee Gees’ Saturday Night Fever album was written in about two weeks? Barry Gibb said “it wrote itself”.  Writers often talk about letting the character write the story or letting the story tell itself. 

Congruence, then, is something both self-referential and attached to Something Else. It’s about being You by being in touch with Something Much Larger Than You.  It’s like being worthy of being yourself by being in the presence of God or The Tao or The Holy Spirit or The Groove. 

Satir once said that 1/10th of 1% of people (or some statistic like that) are congruent. They stick out.  Statistically, they are weird, but it’s the good  of weird. And people who don’t get it, hate it.  To answer the second question from earlier, the thing I value least and don’t want to be, is a hater of That Thing, whatever you want to call it, in myself or in others.  

Still, I have found that it is a mixed blessing when it happens, and I wish I didn’t.

Peace,

 

John

 

 

 

 

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