Thursday, May 31, 2012

Marley, the Quest, and What's Next!


World brotherhood drove him
At an outside table, in the bright sunlight, in front of the coffee house ‘office’ my close friend and occasional writing partner popped a big question:  “Did you see it?  He was on a mission.”  The Ravendove couldn’t wait to discuss a new film.

I said, “Yes, I had a few friends over and we all celebrated the man and his music.  He was this generation’s prophet.”  We were referring to the new documentary on Bob Marley’s life, Marley.  As a lifelong fan and student of Marley, I highly recommend the film for the uninitiated and the veteran Marleyites.  His epic story is well told and includes new info and never before filmed associates and lovers.  See it.  Marley was a man on a mission.

Are you on a quest?  Maybe you know someone who is on a quest?  Do you pity or envy them?  Life as a quest is not for everyone, but for those who do undertake it there is no other way.  They are history’s game changers, the people who have impacted us all.  Reflecting on the direction of my life these days, I have moments of wondering if I need to take on such a big purpose.  Maybe there is an easier way?    Perhaps there is a lifestyle that fulfills and is easy and just fun.  Do I really need a mission and quest?  Then the famous Howard Thurman quote comes to mind, ‘Stand before me in my moments of weakness my high resolve.”  The path of courage and purpose knows no other way.
 
Ravendove continued, “After seeing it my wife said she finally got me.  She knows what moves me now.  He was driven, he had no choice.  It wasn’t a matter of morality or emotions.  He had to live that way.  And she (Rita Marley) supported him in the mission.”
 
I agreed and replied, “The mission was more important than maintaining a conventional home life.”  Another example in that vein is Bill and Hillary Clinton.   Hillary supported Bill, not in a blind ‘stand by your man’ way, but because of the work.   The examples in 20th Century abound where a charismatic leader’s mission over rode any other consideration.  The towering figures of the twentieth century come to mind from  Thomas Edison to FDR to Gandhi to Martin Luther King, Jr.  In that same vein Howard Thurman said that a man's mission is of primary importance and then comes his mate.

Biographies of iconic leaders reveal the power of living a big question.  How can I serve?  For true leaders service inevitably calls them to a mission.  The mission flows through their ‘god given talent.’  Marley, clearly shows how he was driven to serve by sharing his musical gifts.  Not some kind of philosophy read in a book or heard at a seminar, Marley shared his life’s struggle in his songs.   His early life of poverty, of being half-caste, and father abandonment were the fuel for his talent to express.  He pursued his quest for acceptance by digging for a deeper truth, one love or universal brotherhood.   Nothing could stop him.  He pursued it til he died and left this life with the question still on his lips:  How can I bring people together?
Firebird on the Quest
In truth, we all have a quest inside of us.  But most are unconscious of that mission and are satisfied with low level goals like making more money, having more pleasure, or just comfort seeking.  Finding that bigger question and consciously living that way can be the ultimate liberation for the Boomer.  No longer dependent on the external structures, the quest can truly begin in earnest.  What excites?  What fulfills?  What stretches?  What brings peace of mind?  Ultimately, how do I want to serve?

The quest never ends and the mission morphs while the quest continues.  Each step leads to the answer and the next question.  Discovering one’s mission takes more than study.  The hero’s journey is taken by all, but not all are conscious of the journey, according to Joseph Campbell in his seminal book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.  Reviewing my life story and uncovering the quest therein, I have noticed a cycle of awareness, action, and acceptance.

·         Awareness:  Taking time to see what is happening in my world, inner and outer.
·         Action:  Doing a specific physical act in the direction of the question.
·         Acceptance:  Non-resistance and consciously working with it.

But the questions don’t stop and nor should they.  Living in the question/ the quest, while living in the world is the answer.   And every answer is provisional because it leads to another question.  To expect to reach the end of life without questions is to indulge in the greatest hubris.  When we get to an end something new immediately arises.   Knowing that basic truth and accepting it opens the door to peace of mind.

The quest goes on.  Consciously and intentionally acknowledging that facilitates inner and outer harmony.  When I am on that last rest stop, I hope to look back and see that I have responded to my questions and accepted the answers that led to new questions.  Then a new and bigger question can arise, ‘what is next?’

3 comments:

  1. I agree with your thoughts in this blog, however, my question is, what about women following their quest? This blog didn't inspire that question, just fueled it. I have been traveling around Los Angeles and noticed that most of the reviews, installations, exhibits herald the achievements of men and honor those women that supported them through their struggle. What about the women that have a quest? That question is rhetorical, I am not challenging you on this subject, it is just my perspective. It just seems that for women the phrase is, Quest first, and then comes no mate.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anonymous. You have raised a very salient issue: How can women follow the 'quest' or their calling and still have room and energy for a mate? Clearly not easy, it may be contrary to the hard wiring of the typical human. And it behooves women to find that spirit that cries out to be heeded and let the muse lead. I don't think it precludes shutting down the receptive that creates space for domestic harmony. It is difficult though in our stratified and sexist culture.

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    2. Thanks Anonymous. You have raised a very salient issue: How can women follow the 'quest' or their calling and still have room and energy for a mate? Clearly not easy, it may be contrary to the hard wiring of the typical human. And it behooves women to find that spirit that cries out to be heeded and let the muse lead. I don't think it precludes shutting down the receptive that creates space for domestic harmony. It is difficult though in our stratified and sexist culture.

      Delete