A Maladjusted Piece of Mike's Mind...
My column this month is the conclusion of the sermon from June 18th.
Krishnamurti famously said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Which is another way of saying that being maladjusted is about the sanest, most spiritually mature thing we could do.
I think of Thoreau who wrote in Walden, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” “If I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?”
And, it needs to said, out loud, that being maladjusted is really hard. Not only is it socially costly, as in, you might lose some friends, and your neighbors and families might think you’ve gone off the deep end, but it’s spiritually difficult too. There’s an old parable about A man who found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them, all his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and jump a little.
One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It was gliding in graceful majesty among the currents of the wind with scarcely a beat of its strong, beautiful wings.
The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked his chicken friend.
"That's the eagle, the king of the birds. He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth-- we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was.
The moral is clear. Culture and socialization are powerful. The beliefs we’ve been taught about how the world works and where we fit into that world are nearly seamless. Or at least that’s how they appear from our inculturated, socialized point of view. And of course it’s ninety percent bullpucky. We are eagles who’ve been taught to be chickens. There are truths in our bodies and our souls that we don’t even know about, can hardly conceive of, wings of freedom and fun, and silliness, and hope and good trouble we’ve never been given permission to explore, or test out, or play with.
There is justice work to be done, demanded, that we’ve been convinced is for someone else to do, as if we have too much to lose by giving ourselves over to it, as if… as if we haven’t already sacrificed so much vision, imagination, humor, connection, and power to a system deeply invested in keeping is thinking we’re chickens. Bullpucky!
My message today, for you, whoever you are, and for you, the whole community slash congregation of First Unitarian Denver, you have nothing to lose, except perhaps a few things that aren’t worth keeping anyway.
And that’s the way it is.
See you soon,