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Alright. So, then. Here I am. Getting dangerously close to fifty thousand words devoted to the exploration of god knows what, except we all know what: me. All my inadequacies, my fear, my anger, all the things I hang on to because I think they might be taken from me, the things I’m sure will be taken from me mostly because I hang on to them so hard. The more you fear, the more you lose. Ah, but the remedy: the more you love, the more you love.

I want to learn to love, love, love. I want to love so hard and so wide and so strong and so deep that it opens me to everything. That’s the key, that’s it, that’s everything. I’m sure of it, so sure. Love is forgiveness is honesty is truth is attention is awakening, is transcendence is god is enlightenment is it all everything, all. I want my love to spread and spread until it takes up the whole world, want to lose myself in it, because if anything, love is what makes us all the same. In my mind, right now (after two white Russians and one cup of double-brewed coffee, I’ll admit) right now, it looks like a bright shining sphere that encircles the whole globe, and we are all just little points in it, like facets to a crystal, all the points of light that make up everything, everything at all. Made of stardust and beauty. And the love shines through us: namaste means my love is your love. That’s our essence: that’s what I need to set free. Scrape off the fear and the resentment and the guilt, scrape off the reservation and the self-protection and the retribution, just get rid of it all until all there is left is love. And I don’t mean love like in love, like romance, like all that I was writing about before, the wanting to eat you alive to get you inside me, the wanting to peel off your skin to get inside it, not devouring, not needing, not possessing. Love like universe. Love like god. Love as compassion and understanding, the love where I stretch myself until the boundaries disappear, love where I become you becomes him becomes them becomes rabbits and cougars and redwoods and buildings and power plants and ozone and sunset and pupfish and birdsong and car alarm and death. All of it. I want to become that pure band of light that passes through me, a vessel of love, of light, of encompassing and filling and everything, want to open myself to everyone, everything, every moment, right now, right now, now, now.

That’s why there is nothing but this moment, this very moment, this right now. This is the love beating through me with every pulse, it is essence, and when I look away, when I allow my attention to be stolen by fantasy and worry, when I turn my eyes to the past that I cannot change, and reconstruct it in my mind, or when I turn my energy towards the future that I cannot know, and try to put down a road to walk later, then I am turning away from love. Away from essence and from truth. Truth is this moment, now, the physical presence of my body and the words and feelings and impulses running through my mind. Truth is being present to all that, being present to the light even when it hurts.

I don’t want to look at it. I don’t. It terrifies me, most of the time. If I love the dog that barks, the flea that bites, I have to love everything, everyone. I have to love Saddam Hussein and the soldiers at Abu Ghraib, I have to love Hitler and every single refugee everywhere in the world. There are six billion people on the planet, and growing. I have to love them all, and equally. I have to recognize that my life, and the life of those people who I happen to know and love in the more traditional sense, aren’t any more important – not at all – than the lives of villagers in Africa or rebel forces in some country in South America or of Parisian snobs who think that my country sucks. My country isn’t any more important – not at all, not at all – than Kuwait or Mozambique or Nicaragua or Kazakhstan. The lives of my future children are exactly, exactly, exactly of the same value as those of the children dying in Taiwan or down the street. Exactly the same as those of the people locked in asylums and prisons and ghettos, the same as those of people whose personal wealth exceeds the gross national product of most countries.

I don’t want to know that. I want to be filled with love in a warm, fuzzy, benevolent way, a way like Bob Marley might sing about. I don’t want to be part of a love that actually, really includes – accepts and forgives – everyone who voted for Bush, the men who crashed airplanes into New York skyscrapers, people who think it’s okay to increase crimes punishable by death but not okay to allow abortion in cases of rape. I don’t want to be the same as them, I don’t want to believe that they are stardust and beauty, that they are doing the best they can.

But absolute is absolute: If I don’t know who to love, I’ll love them all, says Live. And I can’t choose. We are all separate, or we are all the same. I can’t choose to be One with Deomocrats who support strong environmental protection laws and like Earl Grey tea in the morning, and stay distinct from people who watch Rush Limbaugh on purpose. It’s all or nothing with this one, and that’s really ridiculously, terribly hard.

It means, furthermore, that I have to recognize, accept, and forgive myself, entirely. There’s no wish-washing around here. I’m stardust and beauty, or none of us are. I have to believe, in my marrow and behind my teeth and in my blood, that the band of shining light I feel while I’m lying in Corpse Pose and breathing my Ujjayic breath is pouring through me every second of every minute of every hour of every day of my entire life. And that it is pouring through every other being I encounter.

Oh, because it gets even harder: not only do I have to include all of our teeming six million, but what about all the poor animals, the centipedes and the vultures and the hyenas, the pit vipers and the tarantulas and the ticks and mosquitoes and salamanders? They are all star dust, too. I have to stretch myself to let them all in, too. Allow them to be exactly what they are, no judgment, no fear.

Because to love is to refuse to pass judgment, right? I can’t judge the Taliban because love insists that they were doing the best they could to do what was right for them in that moment. I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that they were evil men who wanted to destroy my comfortable, safe and happy way of life. I want to believe that they were somehow attacking me, personally, because I am free and they don’t like that. Right? Then I can handle all the bullshit that we’ve (we, my country, oh, my country) done to them, to people who had nothing to do with them, if I believe that they are evil then I can believe that we are right.

But I can’t. I have to believe that they were doing the best they could to do what they needed to do then; and I equally have to believe that my poor arrogant government and all the people in it, including my poor arrogant president and his poor arrogant cabinet, were doing the best they could to do what they felt was right, what they felt the needed to do right then. And I have to forgive them both, all of them, I have to. I have to include George Bush and Osama bin Laden both in my love, otherwise it’s a fraud.

And hell, if I can love the two of them, I suppose I can love myself.

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