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Trouble in Heaven
And on Earth
The Method
The Fall
Symbols of Self
Hard Problems
Flesh of the Gods
Free Will
Ever Beginning
Never Ending

Chapter 6

The consciousness of each of us is evolution looking at itself and reflecting.

                                                                            Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1955


"Whew! What was that?" Lovejoy wondered. "Did I just have my first psychotic break?" Maybe all his days spent in the Ring, believing the spiritual realms were reality, were one long psychotic break. They used to talk of Gods and demons as real beings. Every scratched finger, every cloud movement held a metaphysical meaning. It was wonderful and scary to live in a world that had so much meaning. "We all crave meaning." Lovejoy mused. "Since my inspired time in the group has been revealed as a bad dream, where's my meaning? Maybe my search is driving me insane."

He looked up, and around his coach-house cottage. Surely God had been watching over him while he found this place to live. Though early spring was an unusual time for finding new rentals, he had located a beautiful farm in the rolling hills west of town. The estate and grounds were kept with meticulous care by a Swiss widow whose husband had loved Americana. Her house held Robert Fulton's desk, upon which he designed the steamboat. And the horses were kept in a mansion of a stable that must have looked exactly the way it did 100 years ago. Even this little room above the coach house was painted freshly green with white trim. And the all-purpose bedroom/living room/kitchen along with the European style bath were kept scrupulously clean.

He could see out of his windows, on this late spring day, to the Blue Ridge Mountains supporting the horizon. Lovejoy decided he needed a moment to ground himself. He pulled on his jeans and went outside. Barefoot in the thick grass he was careful to avoid the bees in the clover. The horses walked freely about the estate according to the gentle philosophy of its gracious matron. As he looked up, Lovejoy wondered if the horse, so observant of him, thought that he was a threat or if he was just aware that Lovejoy was sad. It must have been the latter since, he allowed Lovejoy to approach his still physique and stroke his mane. The horse was mostly warm brown with a beautiful white butterfly design placed symmetrically above his nose.

"Wouldn't it be nice and simple to be a horse?" thought Lovejoy. "No struggles with higher duties. No need to flatter our egos that we have anything more important to accomplish than feeding ourselves and loving our friends." Lovejoy wondered about self-consciousness. He knew that he could imagine himself, think about himself and even talk about himself. He could try to imagine what it would be like to be in someone else's situation. He could guess what was on their mind. He could even guess what they might think about him.

This was what he spent much of his time worrying about. What do certain other people, or people in general, think about me?

Why couldn't he just act? Think about a problem, about what needed to be done, and just act. Lovejoy thought that's what most animals did. Sure, some higher animals seemed to be concerned about their place in their little herds or tribe or cluster. But he doubted that they were constantly worrying about what they looked like in someone else's imaginings. Humans, he thought had some extra loop in their thinking. This special trait, self-consciousness, was maybe more of a curse than a blessing.

He figured he needed to go talk to Ludwig. Ludwig was one of the few friends Lovejoy had managed to make outside of the group. Somehow Ludwig seemed to have succeeded in functioning in the mundane, workaday world and still keep a spiritual perspective on matters.

Ludwig wasn't a Bible thumper mind you. In fact, Lovejoy didn't even consider Bible thumpers to be spiritually minded. They talked the talk but when it came to unconditional love, they couldn't get past their conditions. Ludwig's daily practice of "Love thy neighbor" was more of an inclusive process. So was his practice of religion. He never understood how God, who was supposed to be omniscient, omnipotent, omni-everything, could be restricted to one human's concept of Him. In fact, how could God be just one gender? That all seemed very small-minded.

Ludwig would be a good sounding board for what happened to him today. Of course, he would be embarrassed to say that he talked to God today. But Ludwig would be OK with that.

What Lovejoy didn't expect was that Ludwig was all wrapped up in his own revelation.

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