The tenement is packed with people suffering from too close quarters, getting sick and spreading disease among themselves without even knowing what’s happening. The tenement dwellers cry and scream from want and seek relief from anywhere. They are not evil; they arrived in that tenement mostly by fate, but they know their only way out is to gain attention from anyone on the outside—a passerby, a delivery person, a neighbor. The deep- down cry for attention is as much as saying “I want my mommy”. I want someone to rescue me from this hell.
Some of these tenement tenants can fool you. They are friendly and familiar, almost like you, like one of your best friends. They are sometimes very good actors, enticing you with their smarts, their cunning, even their beauty. They beg you to come along with them, as long as you free them from their confines. Give me the light of day, take me out of my dark corner and I will show you I am just like you, better than you, or an easy target for you to conquer; but you have to free me first so you and I can talk, complain, gossip, worry, hate, or picture ourselves as the top of the heap, right where we belong, where you, certainly, will finally conquer your insecurities.
Yes, there are tenants who plant the seeds of doubt and who cannot wait until these little plantings bear fruit, until they have proven themselves to be good sowers and you finally believe that you are one of them, that you always were one of them, that you were foolish to have doubted there was another way to your own liberation. You become another tenant in the crowded, diseased, dark tenement caught in the darkest corners screaming to get out, knowing that something is wrong there, but without the light to follow into fresh air and breathing. You have been consumed by the doubt of all those voices already consumed by fear.
Yes, you know they are you, you are the landlord of this broken house, you know these tenants are slender slivers, shattered mirrors of your own experience and your distorted conclusions. They have never left you, but they do not really need your attention. They are confined to that tenement for good reason. You cannot kill them, but you do not need to nurture them. They can stay alive on their own, or they will suffer so much from inattention that they will not be heard from, except by some strange twist of fate, they pop in to say hello.
And then there’s the farm. This is where you live when you are not lost in the tenement. This is not the beach, or the vast open ocean with a million stars out at night. This is the farm with all its austerity and beauty, but this farm has every possibility to turn itself into a 100- acre version of a tenement.
The farm has no guarantee that tenants will avoid taking up residency there and some of them will be attractive, strong, showy, full of wit and wisdom. Desperate creatures have a way of finding a host and one with a vast open space is easy prey. And why not? All the better to increase and multiply and find their way into the homestead, the farmer’s living quarters. They come with offers to help, to improve the farm’s productivity, to double the output and nurture the land and the animals and increase the farmer’s prosperity. And they are convincing. They are persistent. They begin to look like the host or the host starts to resemble them.
Soon the farm itself becomes crowded and every acre is occupied. The farm grows vertical, the use of this land is pillaged and laid to waste. The farm resembles a crowded city and living there is dense and difficult. Soon the sky is hard to see, and the air is thick, hard to breathe.
Soon the farmer no longer recognizes her land, her dreams. She lives in a corner of this vast farm and watches all around her and wonders how she ever got to this place. It’s her own fault; she took this life for granted; she assumed this farm was her good luck and her own hard work.
She failed to see that she was a tenant there herself, that she had to be vigilant to keep her good fortune, both in inheriting the land, and in the innate gifts she had within to make this last, and to move with the natural world to create this larger gift for others who would come after her. But the others who have come now and throughout her lifetime clouded her vision and she often failed to stop and notice. Be vigilant in your next lifetime, she told herself, hopeful she would get another run another time ahead that she could not yet see.
Could the farmer have intervened on her own behalf? Of course and she still can, any time, even now at the almost end of her life while she has this new awareness and enough energy to move pieces of her devastated farm to a higher ground, a better place.
To be continued…