On the Road Again

On the Road Again (1,203)

July 10th, 2011

“So you’re on the road!”

People nervously mouth these words in my direction when they’re not exactly sure what to say to me. Considering that I have out of state tags and I’ve just performed in their town, it’s pretty obvious that I’m “on the road.” Most people feel they’re home-bound—cuddled in a domicile of their own making, somewhat protected from the hazards of the journey. Of course, we’re all on a journey. And understanding the highways and the byways of that particular tour is really the miracle of uncovering the intelligence to do it well.

I think both psychology and religion over-complicate human life. I don’t deny the place of either institution, because without psychology and religion, our society loses a dimension of understanding and at least the capacity for maintaining sanity, but when you complicate the human odyssey into too many explanations, diseases, character disorders and neurotic profiles, you make people feel they are much more desperate and difficult than they really are.

Actually there are two main highways that run through the earthly plane of existence. One is fear and the other is love. It would be nice if one of the roads was black and the other white for easy identification. But through the manipulation of greedy souls or even the misunderstanding created by our upbringing, we often are unclear about whether something is triggered by fear or born of love.

For instance, telling a child to “be careful walking to school and look both ways when crossing the street” is good advice. You might even say loving. Telling him for the fifth time before he walks out the door and then grabbing your own coat to walk him across the street is no longer an act of compassion, but instead, an instilling of fear.

Informing people “there’s a heaven filled with reward for those who fathom the importance of what they do and how they treat other individuals” is a dynamic concept that stimulates the energy towards love. Warning people of “the treachery of hell” while describing a God who is a punisher of the wicked causes people to become fearful of their best friend and Creator, and greatly encourages them to rebound into rebellion and sin.

You’ve got to be careful of these roads, folks. So how can you identify the road to fear from the road to love?

The road to fear always has three off ramps and people who are trying to scare you will use one of these exits to channel you to their preferred destination. When you see these off-ramps coming in the distance, be aware that you are being motivated by your trepidation instead of your joy. Those three off-ramps are (1) worry; (2) jealousy, and (3) critical. Anyone, any organization, any political party or any loved one who is steering you in the direction of worry, motivating you by jealousy or generating an atmosphere of criticism, is asking you to enact your next movements in fear.

Of course, nobody ever comes right out and says they are worried, jealous or critical. Worry always wears a mask of human concern. Jealousy normally covers itself in a cloak of personal morality. And critical dons the costume of tradition, so as to maintain the integrity of a former time. You’ve got to watch out for these—they’re tricky. This is why I will not sit in on a study of the second coming of Christ or the end of the world, because worry is always the by-product. People are made to feel jealous of an evil that seems to be temporarily more powerful than good and they certainly are instructed to be critical of those parts of society that are deemed to be anti-Christ. It’s just not healthy; it’s not for human consumption and better suited, as Jesus said, left in the mind and hands of God the Father alone.

Now the other highway, love, is also marked by three distinct exits (maybe I should call them entrances to keep the positive theme). Those three are (1) creative, (2) humor and (3) forgiveness. That’s why the affection between a man and a woman is called “love” and always works best when it’s creative, humorous and forgiving. That’s why the tenderness we feel for our brothers and sisters in life – fellow-humans – is always a creative attempt to remain humorous while constantly forgiving. Any time you run across an attitude, doctrine or philosophy that promotes creativity, humor and good cheer and encourages us to find reasons to pardon one another for human error, you have suddenly discovered the freeway of love. (I know that sounds like a cheesy 1970’s disco hit, but I will tell you what I think about “cheesy”—it always tastes good.)

These various exits, off-ramps or entrances, depending on how you look at it, then take us off the main highway into the boondocks, where our own insecurities and frustrations convince us we’re lost. I see this look on many faces when I stare into a crowd—a combination of “I’m lost” and “how did it ever turn out to be like this?”

If true spirituality does not take us away from worry, jealousy and being critical, then it is born of fear and therefore, evil. Is that simple enough for you?

So even in pursuing entertainment, if a movie, song or piece of art creates worry, jealousy or criticism in me, I dispel it from my life immediately, and call it out as the fear it truly is. But when I’m encouraged to be creative, keep my sense of humor and become more forgiving, I know that even if it was not intended to be a “God event,” it was ordained and sanctioned in the holiness of love.

Isn’t this easy to remember? For life is not nearly as much a puzzle as our scientists and theologians propose it to be, but rather, learning to identify the highways that exist—fear and love—by whether they produce worry, jealousy and criticism, or whether they move us toward our better angels of creativity, humor and forgiveness.

Published in: on July 10, 2011 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  

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