What does the word "fool" have to do with the nature of Reality and Creation?
How can a conversation about "fools" and "reality" help us enjoy a more satisfying life?
In this week's article, I hope you'll enjoy the inspiration I enjoy from this understanding of reality and The Fool.
What is "The Fool"?
We often associate the word "fool" with ignorance, stupidity. It's used as a put-down.
However in the Tarot, the Fool is a sacred character. He represents a dual role, a role of the innocent and a role of the wise man who has returned to simplicity, with laughter, grace and a hint of mischief sparkling in his eye. In this dual role, The Fool represents the nature of Consciousness as both the Alpha and the Omega, and the cycles of Creation that wheel over and over again like the Ouroboros (the snake eating its own tail, the infinity symbol).
What does all of this foolishness mean?
At first, the Fool is the innocent babe who begins the journey of Experiencing. He is full of naiveté and idealism. But the Fool isn't a naive babe forever, he experiences the challenges, disappointments and hardships of life, and ages. With time, this character grows increasingly street-savvy and wise.
The Fool also represents the jester, because after a long, excruciating journey filled with moments of beauty, and after more sorrow than one believes one can bear, after more grief at the love and destruction (which is another face of Love) that is Existence, at the end of all of this, the Fool realizes, "Life is a Cabaret, ole chum." The Fool becomes delighted with the play of characters on the parade of experience, and beings to cherish, warts and all, the unique shape and mischief that Is Isness.
Having come through so so many cycles of darkness and light, the Fool is the character who has regained his sense of humor about the absurdity of it all and, even after having experienced the torture, grief and pain of life, still sees beauty, plays, loves, adds mischief to the pile, joins in on the masquerade and at the end even re-embarks on the journey once again, knowing full well the horrors and torture it holds.
Remember your sense of humor, your Fool-ishness. It's all absurd. Life is short, and we are all going to die, so we may as well have fun with it in the meanwhile.
When you're angry that someone or something isn't what you want, find the Love within you. I'm not talking about the "love thy brother" outward love, although that's fine too. I'm talking about remembering that every irritation is a face of your own Yearning, and whatever core value you're yearning for, that is your Divine Face of Love.
For me, remembering my sense of humor includes remembering that the nature of nature is "evolved mutation". If perfection replicated, we'd never have any challenges, or any variation or uniqueness. Creation itself is a mutation - an evolution of something different on the wide expanse of omniscient, omnipresent omnipotence. In the I Am of Isness, a blip manifested that represented, "Am Not. Is Not." There is no "light" without the darkness, they two define each other.
From the ribs of IS and IS NOT, came even more differentiations, distinctions, nuances and uniquenesses. This "fall from grace", this "sin", was simply uniqueness expressing itself out of the infinite unchanging ocean of All. To be All is to never be held, companioned, seen or reflected. To be Not All, is to suddenly have a playmate to argue with, to engage, to be unique from. As All you can't ever get away. As Not All you get both agency and communion. So of course, the replication of mutation and individuation continued, replicating more and more Is/Is Not variations, distinctions, nuances and uniquenesses. How fascinating! How curious! And as we "fall" further and further from grace, the gift of our Forgetting our Nature is that we get to enjoy puppies and kittens and food and trees and birds and huge, huge bodies of water, and so much more.
Thus just as Creation itself arose as mutation upon mutation, uniqueness upon uniqueness, so too are there some who think others' uniqueness is "crazy" or that other ways of being are "bad/wrong". That very diversity, that very existence of differences, is the nature of Nature.
With time we come to realize that, if everything is a unique, derived mutation of mutations, then everything can be perceived as "crazy". Everything is "crazy" (ie: a unique derivation of mutation.)
Woah! That means we're all a little "crazy"!
Yep. Even you. Especially the ones who say they aren't.
Crazy is natural. The nature of personality is imbalance, projection, limitation, thus inevitable innocently rendered distortion. With imbalance comes the desire to balance. With loneliness comes the desire for community and communion. With pain we get to taste the sweetness of our Love. Thank Heaven we are all a little crazy!
Even the nature of having the puppet-show called a personality is insane. We are spiritual beings caged in a biochemical meat-suit full of hormones and genetics that drive us to cravings and preferences, a gut biome with its own intelligence that influences our brains and our actions, a heart muscle that conducts its own electro-magnetic influence on our electro-magnetically-run brain, social influences and needs to belong distort our thinking and behaviors even more, our very machinery is limited and cuts out information (eyes only see certain light frequencies, the brain filters out what we observe so that we can function, our preferences and biases filter out even more, so what we see isn't actually the fullness of reality at all)... The insane list goes on and on.
We think we are self-run individuals, when in truth we are like leaves on the ocean, buffeted about by so many ripples from so many different directions that for many of us we are but a grain of sand in the winds around us. Few among us have the self-awareness, self-development (skill) or leverage (resources) to truly determine our own lives in the midst of so many influencing forces. To greater or lesser degrees, we are all mere puppets.
Add to that, that most people have little ability to authentically express their core values and to separate their reactivity from their needs. This can lead to many life-alienated behaviors, structures and institutions. Laws become unfair. Work, the place we invest more than half our attention, requires us to leave our hearts and minds at home and "just do the job", making us self-alienated automatons. Biases distort our institutions meant to be helpful. Communication fails so we make hard-line choices just so that we can keep moving forward, even at the expense of others, or of lives.
Attempting to realize one-Self as a life-serving being of Creation, from within the context of a life-alienated world, is an exercise in insanity. Our soul has been born in a locked cage, grown and raised in an insane asylum, and we all try to find ways to maintain ourselves in the Face of that. That can make anyone a little crazy!
In the path of all of this beautiful, tragic silliness, eventually the personality and ego gives up and lets go. We stop being the willful individuals, separated from Nature, we get so beaten down by it all that we soften like butter, look around us, and realize it is not us who walks up the mountain, but the mountain who walks us up it.
When we look around, this way, soon we see that we are held by the Mystery. We see that even beyond all of these myriad waves of influence, there is a miraculous order in the apparent chaos. We begin to taste a slight hint of the infinite, an ultra-complex tapestry woven of more than our little limited vehicles could ever perceive.
We realize we don't have to fight, or make ourselves exhausted. We realize there is no way we can fail, we are held by the power of Consciousness, we are guided by something far more whole, wise, and perceptive than ourselves. We relax.
We let the mountain walk us up it.
At that point we are offered a new story, a new opportunity. Rather than being the puppet, we get to actively choose to participate in the masquerade as deliberate players. We learn how to shape and direct moments toward a truer expression of Love. We forget, then we return again to remembering. We decide to forget, and check out for a while. We come back again and dance the dance of mischievously indulging in the comedy, the tragedy, we love, we laugh, we cry, we shit. We are no less a part of the mechanism of Creation, but now we partner with it.
We become one with The Fool, The Magician, The Emperor/Empress - as above, so below - both of and as Creator. Abrahadabra.
All Creation, all forms of joy and tragedy are Nature's attempts to exercise mischievous indulgence. The nature of Nature: is, is not. Am, Am Not.
What is Your face of mischievous indulgence in the tapestry? How will your face of Love manifest its unique play? What character will you choose? Which characters will you engage, and how?
Here are a few conversation pieces I like to use in my particular form of foolish, mischievous indulgence, to elicit the mischievous indulgence in others:
- Tell me more about that!
- What kind of stuff/things?
- What would it take for you to be able to?
- You're not good at that? When have you been good at something before? What did you do? Can you do that here?
- What do you do for play and joy in your free time?
Cheers, my beloved co-fools! Here's to letting the mountain walk us up it!!