Excerpts from, “Wandering in the Spirit” by Leo Downey 11/12
Elan would surrender without even knowing it sometimes, like how your heart beats or you breathe. I’d watch her do it, I’d feel her do it, I’d hear do it, and I would with her. When a woman surrenders out of love, she becomes the most exquisite creature. She makes the beautiful more beautiful and the ugly more ugly. If she’s mean or small after that, she’s painful. If she rests her head on your heart and means it, she teaches you love is everything.
An artist interprets symbols, he or she expresses what is expressing form, he makes the invisible visible. A friend of mine who’s father was a physicist pointed out to me that genius’s do more than pay attention, they simplify the complicated. A real physicist is always looking for the purest, smallest element, the one all the other ones are made of, and what they find if they’re a smart genius is that the foundation of form is invisible. When I was deceived into betraying my vision and lost my faith at the age of around twenty, I read many good wisdom and spiritual books of every faith, one made a difference. It was a book my Dad gave me called, the Dancing Wu Li Masters. There were two parts that stood out and changed things for me. One was a physicist’s model of an atom. He described that if you enlarged an atom so that its diameter was as tall as a fourteen story high building, that the nucleus would be the size of a grain of sand and the electrons that orbit it would be the size of dust particles and the relative distance between them would be further than the distance between the Earth and the Sun. I thought wait a minute; that means all this stuff I see that everybody thinks is real is 99.999% space and it’s moving. Here was evidence I needed at the time of something beyond the material.
The other thing that made a difference was what the author, Gary Zukav, related during his visit with a renowned martial arts Master. He invited Gary to observe one of his Master students. They watched two men, one of remarkable proficiency and one who appeared more a beginner. Gary realized that the old Master was referring to the man that appeared to be more of a beginner as his ‘Master’ student and asked why? The old Master said, “Because he approaches from the center.” This was like a lightning bolt for me. Though a lot of the time I may appear as a master idiot, I remember thinking, “Hey, that’s what I do!” I think it has to do partially with my being an extreme introvert and the recurring icon in my life of a spider in the center of his web is symbolic of it. When I watch things happening around me, I’m not focused so much on the details of their appearance, I am experiencing them in a certain way as if they are happening inside of me, what mood they evoke and how I feel about them and it can just be a tractor or a piece of junk; junk can evoke beautiful moods for me, but I’m not studying the thing, I’m studying how I feel about it. My dad was more of an extrovert and he recognized and desired more of this artistic trait my mother and I had so strongly. He paid minute attention to the physical details of what he observed, but just as my mom and I, and without any of us being very aware of it then, he did this in praise of God, Creation, and that is why he found so much joy in it and was able to express genius when he did it. When you let God be God, you stop limiting everything. You become, “Inspired.”
This is illustrative. When Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, I called my dad and sadly, I asked him what he thought happened. He had just watched it on his TV too and he said, “The temperature in the morning at Kennedy Space Center was relatively low, those rocket fuel tanks have rubber gaskets, I saw a little puff of smoke come from one a couple of seconds before the explosion, I think those gaskets hardened in the cold and leaked.” Six months of intensive controversial study and many millions of dollars later NASA came to the same conclusion.
The ‘center’ became a central part of my life. In a way I don’t like telling of miracles, because we all should want to believe for the beauty of love without miracles, but miracles are the miracle of it, they’re like accidentally setting off fireworks, they are real and I think I am saving some of them for the book since the major ones give and derive their meaning as part of a greater context. My ancestors believe Christ sanctifies matter, through His Body with our body and into the whole of creation. I behold God as an artist because that’s the only way I have found him. It’s not that He is not in form, but you can’t find Him by looking for Him there. I believe we must look at God like an artist because that is what God is, the Artist, the Creator. We are His image, His symbol. Words are symbols of symbols, they are not the thing they symbolize, they are a name for it and even that thing is a symbol of what it truly is. Tree is the name for a living breathing being we know the appearance of, but don’t come close to comprehending the reality of. The tree itself is an image of its true being, like us, it has life and life is beyond the limits of form. The Bible is a living oracle of God’s word, it is totally unlike any other book I have ever encountered in every way, but the words are symbols, they have to be interpreted. Jesus interprets God’s Word by being it. It was canonized 395 years after Christ’s death by Saint Jerome under the authority of Pope Clement and virtually nobody had one, but there were real Christians all over the place doing everything Christ said they could. Sincere good people say, all you need is your bible and they use words out of it to prove truth, but that often becomes circular thinking. We meet in the wee hours of every Friday morning in my music cabin, talk about what we busted, how we busted it and how we’re gonna fix it, what insights we’ve had to love better, and then we pray for each other, for our friends, for our valley and for the world. But sometimes one will say this is God’s word and this is what it means and I say, “How do you know?” And they say, “Because it’s God’s word” Or they say, “The Bible interprets itself.” And I say, “But all five us here sincerely believe in God and in His Son and we all sincerely love each other, but each one of us has a different opinion of what it means, a different religion, a different faith, different enough to divide us all from each other. If God’s interpretation of His Word doesn’t agree with yours is God’s wrong?” I mean does God know what He means in His Word in the first place!? Did Jesus know what he meant when he spoke? Did he care what he meant? Obviously he did! So every interpretation can’t be right, some aren’t what He meant. Either one guy thinks he’s right and you’re wrong, or he says, “Well, lets all agree on the basics, and just get along, don’t complicate things and rock the boat.” It doesn’t make any sense to me or to my ancestors, but I always feel like a fly in the ointment when I bring it up. It’s like saying, well it’s all music just play some…the way I tell you to…uh, hymns. And please don’t let me stand up on my facebox about my worst pet peeve, ‘sacred music and church music.’ I know I will someday cause I’m terrible at resisting temptation. I think in the end we can only be judged by the sincerity and humility of our love and it just doesn’t make any sense that with all our mental limitations, we could be judged by our religion. But! That doesn’t mean it’s all just music who cares or that all spiritual ideas are equally valid or meaningful and if you take Jesus at His Word and believe it, he has given us a way to Know the truth, not guess, or insist, or vote, or ignore it, but through the fullness of His Faith, all the tracks and all those that have left them, the Faith He believed and all the guys that knew Him believed and all the guys that knew them believed. If they didn’t know what He meant who did? …Another can a worms for another time.
You know what a big part of the problem is? Too many of us seem more concerned with what people do and think than If God does, and thinks. It always devolves into this argument about the bad things somebody did. Who cares! If God actually exists, what does it matter what liars do? Can they be bad enough and dumb enough to make Him not exist anymore? Do you use a crummy musician as a reason to say music is bad? I hate to argue but sometimes somebody has to say, “Hey, your flat.” I’m an artist, I love to create something beautiful, I love romance, I love a beautiful woman that loves love, I love beauty, meaning and truth, I love my friends. I love my faith and a God that is Love.
And this is central; my Christian friends also love me, and they love God, and so do my friends that don’t believe in God at all or are of other non-Christian religions. They are all more or less just as sincere and faithful and loving as I am and often more so. I’m selfish and self absorbed and sometimes full of myself, but when I ask them these kind of questions about our faith, our ‘religion,’ what we believe, and the Bible and what it means, they think I’m questioning their Love; I’m not! I see so much love around me it brings me to tears. Practically everybody I know is trying as hard as they can to love. They have loved me when I’ve been hard to love. Your faith and your faithfulness are two different things. Your faith is what you believe and don’t believe and why, it has to be unendingly as beautiful and meaningful as it can be to you, every nuance and aspect of it, or it’s just trying to do a better job at playing a crummy song. What’s the point? So you won’t get in trouble? Cause somebody told you to? So you can think you’re right? It’s okay to look, it’s okay to not know, because beauty exists and we find it! Seek and you shall find. We exist! How can we ever understand that? We can’t, we can know it only by, “Beholding it.” Beholding beauty. I have longed to be a good songwriter, performing artist and musician my whole life. I can’t read a note of music and I don’t ‘understand’ what the hell I’m doing. I just jumped into the center and started doing it the best I could. To create you have to hold the space in yourself for a whole bunch of things at once, melody, ideas, harmony, words, rhythm, technique, intent, mood, who you are, why you care, what’s worth saying, what’s corny in a cool way and what’s corny in a corny way, your sense of self. If you try to do that the way the world does things, by, “Doing something so you can do something else.” You’ll never create, you’ll just make. You can’t do something so you can do something else and, “Wander in the Spirit.” You can’t do something so you can do something else and pray! That’s why I think we have to do, “Something else.” That’s why the world needs more artists and why so many people are unhappy. We can spend our whole life doing something so we can do something else and then die before we ever did it.
Because this is where they have wandered, I’m going to jump in with both my feet and force myself to gradually begin to end here. Everything here is a symbol because it is in form, but the meaning of what Christ symbolizes is that He ‘is’ what he symbolizes; God’s image, you and me! Love, Love in every way that love exists. The expressor becomes the expression. Let him be who He is and let his meaning speak to you. The tiny bit I know is of the most amazing Man, His wonder is endless if you can get out from under the dumbness of our modern culture and think as if you’re all alone in the wilderness, just you, free to think whatever you want. If you believe in any of the Bible you have to believe in all of it or limit it without any capability to do so. Open up the New Testament anywhere and read a few sentences of it, and then think about it and imagine yourself there and feel how you would feel if you were one of the people there and you witnessed and believed what it says you did and just believe it enough to enter into it and find out what it is so you can at least know what it is you don’t believe in if you don’t want to believe in it. Thinking and empathizing doesn’t cost anything and it’s an amazing adventure you can have without going anywhere.What makes it so profound is not only the wisdom, the love, the miracles you haven’t heard about happening today more and more all over the world, it is that it was and is all a ‘prophecy,’ an unbroken path with tracks all the way back to the beginning that never end, not just a bunch of, ‘do this and don’t do that.’ That’s what makes the Bible so especially different aside from everything else about it and I found my first one on my first vision quest before I knew what a vision quest was, when I had asked God to answer a question I had, way back in the mountains under a pile of bolders…and so much happened, so much meaning, real miracles happened. They happen to anybody that will, “Do something else” and wander in the spirit in humility and sincerity and give their heart in a living prayer.
The night before He was betrayed, Christ lifted the cup and He said, “This is the cup of My blood, the blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant.” He took the bread raised it up, blessed it, broke it and said, “This is My Body.” Like believing in God, you don’t have to believe any of it unless you want to experience it. There is no ‘fear’ in it, but it’s easy to become afraid. I’d look at the Cross and think, “He can’t be serious.” God seemed so masculine and severe I felt like, well nobody can ever come close to Him and what he did, why even seriously try?.. I had not yet met the Woman, Clothed with the Sun and Crowned with Stars. The New Eve, The Living Ark of the Covenant, The Virgin Queen of Heaven and Earth, The Handmaid of the Lord, Blessed among women for all generations, my Mother and your Mother if you want her to be, if you’ll just look at her beauty and into her Immaculate Heart and let her be who she is, and then behold her, Jesus did, what do you think He saw when He looked into her eyes?? What do you think she saw when she looked into His?? It’s so beautiful! Turn it up to “11”!! That’s what an artist does and that’s what a lover does.
So can I roll me eyes here just a couple times? Please, I really like rolling my eyes. Alright, it’s not some albino creep with his I-Spy codebook repressing his perversions in the catacombs so that patriarchs can control everybody. Are you ten years old!? Brothercanyaspareadime! Who are the real and sincere priests I have known by the dozens gonna control, a bunch of old ladies at the bake sale? If God exists, the false priests and the guy in the orchestra can’t do anything to make him more like them, no matter how many allies they have. My ancestors and I honor and love the most beautiful creature God ever created, a perfect creature, Woman! Don’t you see how we surrender as men to a woman in her love for God and in doing so with God, we raise every woman five million light years beyond Cosmopolitan! This is our faith, our religion, what we believe about the nature of reality, of God, of ourselves. When a Native American encountered the White Buffalo Calf Woman and in the Sundance for instance, reconciled by his own blood and love with the Creator for the gift of life and of the buffalo’s life laid down for his, do you think he was a product of Sunday school summer camp? “Good Lord!” My ancestors are Christ’s, a tribe of the Blood of the Lion of Judah, real blood, the kind that bleeds. We believe marriage is a sacrament where the man and woman enter the priesthood, they both become priests the only way it is possible to become a priest; in a Life-giving ‘sacrifice,’ a ‘sacred offering.’ The sacrifice of a husband and wife to each other out of love brings forth Life as every true priestly offering must to be true! If it doesn’t bring forth life, it’s just an idea, it’s only symbolic. It can be a good idea or a not so good idea or a bad idea. Anybody can have any idea they want they don’t need permission. Thanks, I stopped rolling my eyes.
The “Eucharist’ is the bread and wine Jesus said was His Body and Blood and offered up the night before he was betrayed when he told his apostle to, “Do” what he was doing, exactly what a real priest does, what Christ did and told his apostles to do until his return. That is why he said that His Body and Blood are Him and that if you believe in it, it becomes you. God’s flesh and blood is ours, really, not just symbolically, we have the same Mother and the same flesh and the same blood, He transforms all flesh and all matter. Unless, you don’t want it to be or you think you’ll get in trouble if you believe it; then Mary can be a nice lady to ignore and teach others has lost her virginity and the flesh and blood of Christ can be coffee and donuts and a memory.
God didn’t create Eve to tell Adam how rotten he was, he created her to give birth to His creation. Why did she fall? I don’t pretend to understand it. Evil is intrinsically imperfect and so can never be understood perfectly, but I know this, she fell for the same reason a woman falls today, she believes in a lie instead of love, she chooses a faith that is so meaningless and so beneath her beauty it’s pathetic and where she goes men follow.
If you are hurt, if you are jealous, if you are hopeless, addicted, abused and used, afraid, confused, sick, desperate, lost, angry, a bully, unforgiving and un-forgiven, mean, a bitch, fat, ugly and part of this world; ask Her to help you believe in and follow her Son and to become Her son and her daughter…because this is the unbelievable thing you don’t have to believe to find out; She is real. She is here and she will help you look at Jesus and want Him! Doing this is doing ‘Something else’ something sacred and something that works. She knows what it is to be a Christian, she is the mother of all Christians. But she’s not a goddess, and that’s is the last thing on earth she would want to be! She’s too good for that! She’s too human, too sweet, too humble, too sincere, too intelligent, too much a creature like you and me, she’s not some dumb goddess, she’s a Woman! She shows us what a woman is, and embraces every kind of love in its most beautiful form at once, that includes holy matrimony. God is her ‘lover’. She’s the new Eve. And Man, nothing would turn me off worse than trying to make love to some hoity-toity goddess, I want a Woman! Why on earth would I say that she is here if it weren’t true? Why would I expose myself to ridicule and misunderstanding and judgment of my own sins and inadequacies when I so love harmony, stillness, beauty and joy? I’ll tell you why. It’s not purely out of charity or an unselfish regard for your profound peace, healing, laughter, love, romance, intelligence, inspiration and inner beauty although I sincerely pray for all those things for you and for me too with you. It’s because I am so, in love, and so, “Honored” to stand up and express an eyelash of the beauty, and defend the gentle holiness of the most beautiful Woman I have ever known, The Virgin Mary, Gods’ Daughter and God’s Mother, God’s own flesh and blood. If the last thing I ever say is in gratitude and love for her beauty, for how she showed me what a man is, Her Son, and God’s blessing through her on every man and woman for what she has done and what she has given out of a passion only God could give her and a woman could give Him, I would breathe my last breath and finally feel like