Freedom’s Just Another Word For…

There’s that personal Sense of Abundance I have, and it’s served me well. It’s imbued me with the ability to stop time when it’s necessary, and speed it back up when the need is fulfilled or otherwise dispatched with. This Sense of Abundance is not something to be exploited, nor is it something that one should expect to be there to avail one’s self of. It’s not so much a force of nature as it is a fact. One of my facts. Of my life. Your mileage may vary (a relationship inversely proportional to your awareness and acceptance of metaphysical and emergent phenomena).

Examples are good. Let’s try one: driving up 101 towards the City just past the Potrero/Bayshore/Cesar Chavez exit even the highway as a feature: Hospital Curve. It’s named so because the rather severe snaking of a major highway as it yields to the Potrero on the right. The roadway ends up doing a flyby of San Francisco General Hospital, hence the name. The flyby is just enough to distract you that when you turn, as you must, back to attention to the roadway, the very miracle of San Francisco opens before you, a shameless yet elegant first impression. And remember, it ain’t braggin’ if you can pull it off.

As I walk through life, whether measuring that in individual steps, or in seasons; in years or in eras; the Sense of Abundance surrounds and infuses me, making individual steps lighter, the minutiae of changing seasons more obvious, and years (and more) a dialable continuum, where I can move a slider in my head and go to whenever I wish. None of this jibes with the notion of getting older, of mortality, of finiteness.

If your gut isn’t informing your sensibilities right now, then you and I do not share this Sense of Abundance. If to you this sounds like a cosmic insurance policy or a spiritual welfare system or, worst of all, some kind of insular cocoon that hides you away from the world in which you move, perhaps it’s better to stop here and move on. Here, I’ll help: The End.

Still here? Well, good, but there’s really no capturing in the flinty tools we call language this sensation that the well-meaning and harmonious entities of the world are inseparable from it. John Lennon took a valiant (if sexist and nonsensical) stab at what I’m talking about:

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Chi is a univeral currency, a universal language, no ink can lay down its glyphs. And it’s there to match need with providential sussurration: spiritual osmosis. Firmament rises to each footfall and disappears behind you, whisking off to other footfalls.

And finally I’ve arrived at an allusion that suits: I simply expect solid ground when my foot drops, always. Why? That’s a cosmological question and let’s just say that’s beyond the scope of my epistle on scopelessness.

But faith and expectation come under fire, as I have been under fire from so many different sources, both malicious and random, and I live very close to the Questioning: Will there be a next footfall?

General populations are most easily knocked off balance by disruption of those things that are most taken for granted, and my balance requires a measure of attention that opens my eyes to things I might have easily absorbed and then dismissed in a simple sequence of observation. Not so, these days: dismissal of jejunely ordinariness and the mundane and expected blessing of that small relief that washes over me when I live in el mundo bueno require some thought work, needing restoration.

It’s not that I have nothing left to lose; it’s that the quality of freedom, like mercy, is depends on us all. And my Sense of Abundance fails to see the world ponying up.

• • •

Nonsense prevails, modesty fails
Grace and virtue turn into stupidity
While the calendar fades
Almost all barricades
To a pale compromise

And our leaders have feasts
On the backsides of beasts
They still think they’re the gods of antiquity

If something you missed didn’t even exist
It was just an ideal—is it such a surprise?


— All This Useless Beauty, Elvis Costello