This one’s gonna be quick. The title of today’s sermon is derived from something a good friend of mine shared with me way back in Junior High School.
Allegedly, there is a grave marker in the Boot Hill cemetery which reads, in full:
“Be what you is. Because if you is what you ain’t, then you ain’t what you is.”
I say “allegedly,” because I’ve never found any reference to the quote anywhere, in all the intervening years. I don’t doubt that it is there, but I can’t prove it.
But that doesn’t matter. As I’ve said before, a fictional source can still transmit a great Truth. The truth here is that I haven’t really been living according to this admonition.
In spite of all the references to “ministry” and calling these trifling monographs “sermons,” I’ve been trying to make it more philosophical than anything else, just to broaden the appeal, make it more palatable to the casual observer. My heart was in the right place, but I was, as Jean-Paul Sartre would say, “in bad faith” with myself.
People, I’m not a philosopher, I’m a mystic. Philosophy enters into it, and it makes me a crashing bore at parties, but ultimately I know from experience that we are a part of the Universe, not apart from, and with enough practice we can experience that part-ness and use it to elevate our selves.
That’s what I’m trying to share here. That’s what I’m trying to get across, and I have finally realized that I was preventing myself from so doing, by couching my terms and trying to project an image. It’s time to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
Yesterday, I attended the 20th annual Pagan Pride/Autumn Equinox Festival, and for the first time took part in the Circle, the annual blessing and invocation, and I felt the whole Universe in that moment as opposed to just looking at it and thinking about it. It’s a beautiful feeling. Been riding it ever since.
“Be what you is, because if you is what you ain’t, then you ain’t what you is.”
I’m not a philosopher. I’m a mystic, a minister, a priest.
Before I went to the festival, I read a friend’s blog and was inspired: Not only to look at things in a new way, as she intended, but also in terms of my own exposition. “By all the gods,” I said to myself, “if someone who claims to want to work on her confidence can wear her beliefs on her sleeve in front of the whole world, why the hell am I trying so hard to package myself?”
Being genuine is a big part of being a biker. So is not giving a shit what other people think of it. I’ve been forcing myself to fail on both counts.
My friend inspired me in another way, as well: by reminding me that even if I lose broad appeal, this does not matter, for if by sharing my perspective I can help even one person see their own path a little more clearly, then I have done a good thing on this Earth and can go to my gods with head held high.
And really, what more are we all looking for?
I have a passenger seat on my bike. We can ride the patha rishi just as well as we can walk it.
That is the Truth.
And the Truth rides a motorcycle.