Many of us grew up with the notion of God and God’s religion – which was God’s complicated way of getting to us – as being a big list of shoulds and should nots. All of this, of course, had nothing at all to do with the intentions of Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source in the establishment of our being. Nevertheless, I look back on a good bit of my life and realize that I could have been a lead character in a blockbuster children’s book, The Little Engine That Should.
It all started right there under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, where we learned that long long list, and the certain knowledge that we would never be good enough to stay in the garden because there was no way that we could ever possibly be all that we should be.
Should, in its very essence, is an endless chase that lasts beyond any concept of exhaustion. Because any time we should be doing something, we are either:
- not doing it, which is totally unsatisfactory and fraught with guilt; or
- doing it because, well, we should – an External Motivator, which, chances are, leaves us perpetually falling a little short of full expectation. Duck and run, here comes the big Unsatisfactory Rubber Stamp again.
Questions of should also lead to endless and useless discussions of how much and how often. These questions imply giving up things in a zero sum game where, if we give what we should be giving (a tithe, for instance), we will have less of what we had. If we do have more, it will, of course, be only because that External Source has rewarded us in some way for our good/should behavior.
Or we go to this meeting or belong to this church or that organization because we should. Then we must attend x number of times per month or, once again, we are not measuring up for the Shouldness Judge. Not to mention the time and energy wasted on worrying about this stuff.
And then there are the opportunities for humans to dress up like little Shouldness princes, princesses, priests and judges, casting shouldness spells on their scared and foolish but quite willing little subjects who pay exorbitant sums for the privilege of running around, all in a dither.
Ah, sweet life of our little ego creation under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Krishnamurti said it so well: “You might as well put a piece of stick you have picked up in the garden on the mantelpiece and give it a flower every day. In a month you will be worshiping it and not to put the flower in front of it will become a sin.”
True creation is the flower, friends, and it is us. Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source the Universe – that, who, what, beyond concept and language, whether noun or verb – Creator/Spirit/Mind/Source breathed the flower and breathed us, too. There is no should under the Tree of Life. There is only being. And the essence of that being is both noun and verb. It is the will and the willing to trust, to love, to appreciate, to give and to receive, all in the in and out breath of kindness and compassion. These are action and stillness, a complete fullness, all in one.
There is no obligation, there is only essence. There is no bondage, only freedom. There is no shortage, no need for hoarding, only and always enough.
The one by Galilee got it so right: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” And what did we do under the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? The usual thing, of course. The shouldness thing.
We put him on a stick on the mantel and started to worship him.
Oh my shouldness. Oh my shouldness.
© Two Trees in the Garden. Feel free to use this stuff, referencing the source, if you find it helpful.