Go With The Garbage

When my mother and I stayed for a time in Laguna Beach with a mad Czech painter called Nelly, “Go with the garbage” was a phrase that often rang out. “Go with the garbage, Olga”, to be more precise, since Nelly’s daughter was usually the one ushering the stuff out.

The phrase stuck. At a certain point in my life I decided to stop going with the garbage, and to go with God instead.

‘Go with the garbage’ is sin= second rate, corner cutting, weak, the line of least resistance, the easiest way. You don’t go with the garbage as an action; it is more like the absence of the true action you funked, and so the vacuum was filled by rubbish.

The monastics rightly said= we do not ‘have’ sin; rather, sin ‘has’ us. So, you don’t elect to go with the garbage, it is more that one day you become more conscious that it is happening. The garbage has you, by the short and curlies, and you go with it. If it goes up, you go up. If it goes down, you go down. You are the slave of the garbage, so wherever it goes, you are swept along with it, wily nily.

‘Going with God’ is the converse. You have to choose to commit, and it gets harder and harder to stay with it, go further and go deeper into it, and increase the intensity to remain staked to it. Going with God requires passion= even to start, but more especially to keep going, because the going gets rough. Passion needs effort, it is something you do. In everyday words, it is ‘give your heart to it.’ Passion is what you give your heart to, but giving the heart to God is out and out unwise, foolish, and even crazy– by any reasonable human lights. By human standards, God does not know what he is doing; he is a fool, and not wise; he is totally out of control.. But, there is a basic reversal, or inside out and upside down in passion, which it embraces, along with the truest paradox, and profoundest mystery, in life. For, if we persist in passion — and this takes not just guts, generosity, and daring, but a protracted bearing and enduring that is hard, a fortitude, strength, patience– then what seemed wise becomes foolish, what seemed foolish becomes wise, what seemed crazy becomes, if not sane, then victoriously barmy. A huge belly laugh may ensue, after so much sweat, tears, bleeding.

So, if sin requires no effort, then passion is the converse= it requires our total effort.

The teaching is= no one has a heart, for by virtue of just going with the garbage, they have thrown it away. Indeed, if we just weakly go along with what has got us by the balls, then we give away the heart. It takes no effort to get more into sin; with sin, all the effort is needed to resist it, and extract ourself. Obviously, no one ever gets out of its sweeping power, its power to sweep us away, entirely. We humans have no power to end the power of sin. Our power, which we must exercise, is in standing against sin, for the sake of something first rate that we prefer to stand for, however hard, however costly, however heavy the burden, however ultimate the sacrifice. It takes no passion to keep going into sin; it takes passion to resist it. Why bother to come out of sin? It offers us so many human goodies. There has to be something meaningful, of value, of real point, to stand for, and we have to realise that sin is undermining our stand for what matters. The sinful cannot stand, even if they want to; their standing up, or standing for, anything is eroded, more and more. Sin puts you flat on your back. It eats away the muscles in your feet and hands, but especially, it prevents from getting going the muscle in your chest. The drum beat in Red Indian ceremonies= this is your heart when it is going. Sin silences the drum, and saps its energy.

But there is a more nuanced teaching= there is a ‘deep heart’ furthest and deepest in us, where we meet God ‘person to person’, but this heart we never had, and never lost. The deep heart is where no one goes. It is the Abyss within the human heart where we finally resolve our argument with God, and open the human heart to the divine heart, so that the two act in this world together, as one.

Thus no one just ‘has’ a deep heart= it must be searched for, worked for, and found.

In the existential arena of the Edge, the Gap, the Cross, deep things are decided.