Something: the Beatles and faith

Today is a Beatles kind of day.

I didn’t come to faith of my own volition. I am a “man of science.” But it has found me where I am and morphs and grows in its own way. And so I have become a reluctant believer.

When I say faith, it is not in a particular religion or dogma or set of beliefs cast in stone. It is something very personal and pragmatic. I had such trouble with Catholicism as a child. How can you love God above everything when there is bad? How can you believe in one God when there are three parts and how many saints and how many angels? And is God the vengeful bastard from the Old Testament or the one who wants to save us all from the New? And how is this one the right faith when it was just the one I happened to be born into? How is some unlucky bastard born in the deepest Amazon going to be damned just because he doesn’t believe in Jesus? That doesn’t seem fair at all. I asked priests these questions when I was 13. And I was quite dissatisfied with their answers.

What if those are just the questions that come from someone who has not felt love? They have been loved, but never felt it? What if, as my friend Tyler just said, maybe God is love? And then it all falls into place?

In the Christian faith, there were once Ten Commandments. Do this, don’t do that, that one there is pretty bad. But when the Pharisees tried to trip up Jesus by asking him which was the most important of them all, he said to love God above all others, and your neighbor as yourself.

And if God is love, then it is just to love love. And then all else just…sort of comes. Not God the vengeful, but the love that we are all capable of and deserving of us, down to the least of us? How can pure love be a bad thing?

I have so many questions. I’m very contemplative still, even at 40. Apparently so was St. Teresa. Reading about her journey this week has been so reassuring. I’ll write about that another time.

Today I wanted to look up the lyrics to “All You Need Is Love” as a meditation but ended up listening to “Let it Be” instead.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be

For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer
Let it be

And those were the words I actually needed to hear.

I’m not a saint. I wouldn’t pass any purity test and I don’t work miracles. I am vain and quick to anger and incredibly judgmental. I get this fire in my belly when I see injustice that just overwhelms me.

But I have learned to open my perspective a bit and stand back with objectivity and compassion for suffering. That is the key. Dispassion that leads to compassion. And then the fire and smoke subside and what is left is clarity, calm and a tiny, eensy weensy bit of bliss.

But the relationship with God, love, whatever you want to call it, is not easy. It is a practice. Every day it is a practice. I am only a novice at this. And sometimes I search for answers all day. My mind just comes back to the questions. How do I get better at this? How do I love better, stronger, more profoundly?

St. Teresa called God ‘His Majesty.’ She though of him as her lover and she as his beloved. I learned that last night. And then I hear this song today:

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me

I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me

Don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

You’re asking me will my love grow
I don’t know, I don’t know
You stick around, now it may show
I don’t know, I don’t know

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me

I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

My friend Tyler sent me a song called “I Can’t Stand Your Love” recently and it didn’t make sense. But then he told me it was about his uncomfortable relationship with God. So when I heard “Something” and it was in the context of loving God, it suddenly felt so profound. Read the lyrics again. It is the prayer of a novice.

“You’re asking me will my love grow. I don’t know…you stick around and it may show.”

It is the most beautiful thing ever. And the Beatles know something about love. They told us years and years ago. The first and most sacred commandment. Love is all you need.

The answers are all there. You just need to know where to look. Or listen, as the case may be. You throw your questions out there and wait for some peace of mind and soul and body. You stick around long enough, and it may show. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Comments

  1. I wonder if the Beatles viisits to Swamis in India and use of LSD informs their understanding of love. I believe so.

  2. I think so. I think they were already a curious bunch to begin with and they were looking for answers. I think there is something very good in medicinal use of drugs to elucidate parts of us that were already there…like already a part of us. Psychedelics aren’t my bag. I’ve been able to get really clear using nitrous at the dentist’s office (strict supervision and incredibly safe space).

    For them it was going to India, Prabhupada and LSD.

    Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda is a super powerful book to some people I know. Steve Jobs read it once a year since his teens. George Harrison, Elvis, Andrew Weil.

    The message is the same in different words and stories. But I think there is a unifying theme. Love.

  3. I think this Virgin of Mercy statue conveys so much of what a lot of people want from religion: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/49/6a/bb/496abbef0715a609b1e3d15c84e9fb01.jpg. To be warm and safe and protected, regardless of what chaos is going on just beyond. Probably while ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ plays. 🙂

    I read some of your previous posts, and particularly noticed when you criticised that guy from Scottsdale. That he seems to think the priority for gifted children is knowing their place and not making neurotypicals uncomfortable, brings to mind decolonisation theory. Like we need to rid our minds of how they think of us.

    What do you think is the cause of the problems the gifted have? Is it just indifference and neglect, part of something larger, or a free-standing prejudice on it’s own? I’m always interested when any oppressed group puts their situation front and centre, such as Columbus and Other Cannibals or The Psychopathic Racial Personality. Even if I don’t end up agreeing with it, they always turn up things you wouldn’t get with a more balanced approach.

    1. I love that song. I used to listen to it during dark times.

      There are a few issues with autism and acceptance that I would highlight:
      1. People don’t know what autism is. They *think* they know, but when they see it play out over time, it annoys them, even when you warn them.
      2. Part of autism is the lack of theory of mind. So it’s hard for autistics to advocate for themselves because they don’t understand that NT’s don’t automatically understand why they act the way that particular autistic does. And they (I) can be incredibly arrogant and cold as a result.

      I think that autistics who can should really learn how to function among NTs. They outnumber us and they hold the power. The word ‘fair’ doesn’t count for much.

      It’s like a black mother preparing her twelve-year old son to go out and play. She knows he’s just a child and that he’s learning and growing and has the same rights as anyone else. But she’s also smart enough to tell him to behave around cops because she knows the world isn’t fair.

      Until the world is a kinder, more accepting place (which happens but not everywhere and not at a steady pace), autistics have to be one step ahead of the game. Is it tiring? Yes. But it’s also the only way to co-exist. So yes to advocacy, but yes to using your smarts to deal with people.

      Does that make sense?

      1. I’m not autistic myself so while I won’t fully get what it’s like, yes it does make sense. My point of view is just from the gifted side of it.

        I think nearly everybody would want to be able to get on with other people, in fact a lot of people dream of it. But I think making that the first priority is damaging. I noticed I had the highest desire and ability to have a variety of friends between the ages of about 11-13. But it’s built on sand if your sense of self is already screwed up.

        Although I have no direct experience to base it on, I reckon the most important time for separate gifted education is in the years before then. Say you get identified at six, you get your escape – the rescue fantasy. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just being around other gifted children, a teacher who gets it, and getting a challenging and invigorating education. Of course if you wanted to gold-plate it…oh boy… 🙂

        So this solves several problems at once. Put a bunch of gifted children together and they pretty quickly seem a lot more like normal children, and they get something closer to a normal childhood. They get the idea that what they are is acceptable. And because there minds are satisfied, after school they can talk about and do non-intellectual things without feeling frustrated. Then they can get on better with others without having to try as hard.

        With a base like that in place, once they get older they can see relating to more people as adventurous and enjoyable, rather than the imposition of having to conform. They’d still have their own educational needs, but could have more shared facilites, such as in a ‘school-within-school’ or ‘multi-school’ to broaden their horizons.

        In some ways it sounds strange to say “yes, segregate us, please!” but is seems the best for all concerned, especially at a young age. We often talk about the bad things that have been done to us, but something that’s started to bother me is the memory of the times someone tried to be nice to me and the look of confusion and disappointment on their face when I just didn’t connect, either because I didn’t know what to do, or was messed up over previous things. It’s better for both to be apart until stuff like that won’t happen.

        I think if gifted children got what they needed while young, their needs would be far less as they got older. If being a gifted adult got you the kind of privileges Homer Simpson got when his hair grew back or when he joined the Stonecutters, that would just be creepy and weird. 🙂

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