I live in California, possibly one of the most litigious states in the country. There is an inordinate fixation on rules out here, especially in the area of regulatory law, so much so that when it comes to environmental legislation, for instance, the rest of the states know that “as California goes, so goes the nation.” Whatever is mandated here will be mandated in Peoria ten years from now. This has its upside in that one of the first things Californians notice when they travel to other states is the smell of automobile exhaust. The air quality restrictions here are so fierce that smog is almost non-existent, even on a hot summer day.
There are stark differences between the East Coast and California in the way people follow rules. Blue blood vs. Hollywood. Pin-stripes suits and wingtips vs. bluejeans and Nike running shoes. If ever there was a case where spiritual polarity mirrors geographical polarity, this is it. The East Coast has deep undercurrents of tradition, whereas in California innovation seems to spring up straight out of the ground. This may have something to do with the East Coast’s colonial beginnings, the “New” England, and California’s golden aura as the Land of Opportunity, the New Frontier. Both reflect our own inner polarities, our Saturn and Jupiter, our desire to be safe and our need to explore.
So it is in our understanding of the vow of obedience. There are rules we must follow, and there are rules we must break. There is a natural rhythm that rules provide, a safety zone wherein we can know ourselves. But there is the unknown part that beckons when we are ready – a call. And it is to that call that we owe a higher allegiance. This makes us traitors to the world – despised, rejected, forsaken – but to the call we must be obedient, even if it means we will be alone.
Even through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin
And constant craving
Has always been
Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
To its youth
“Constant Craving” is a song written by k.d. lang and Ben Mink, and performed by k.d. lang on her album, Ingénue.
I couldn’t help but think about being a parent when reading this post. So much like raising children knowing you have to allow your children to explore and grow outwardly while keeping them safe sound. I’m thinking about how that relates to me at this point in my life as I enter my sixth decade.