I have of late been scorched by a dilemma, to the point of utter panic. I had a problem so great and all-consuming that I began to feel it was going to suck me down in the mire and kill me. Ancient terrors, things I had not had to even think about for decades, stood bolt upright out of nowhere like cobras weaving in front of my eyes. My insides were collapsing like imploded buildings. Every way I looked at the situation, it looked bad, worse than bad. It looked terrible, even fatal. I was stuck, trapped, unable to breathe, and had never felt more powerless in my entire life.
It got so bad that I Asked The Universe to Help Me.
Have you ever done this? Probably not. But when things are bad, I mean really really bad, you sort of put out a cry to the Great Whatever: someone, something out there, HELP me please. I do not believe in any sort of traditional or conventional God (any more - I did, and that is another story of disaster and disillusion), so I can't yell at Jehovah and order him around. I can't scream at Jesus to hurry up already and give me what I want, because that's what traditional prayer is all about. Gimme, God.
But I just had to send up a something, a shout, a scream, a - . I looked at all kinds of videos about alien abduction, because that's what I've been doing lately, strictly because of Christopher Walken and that bizarre Communion movie he did years ago. But it got me thinking about what IS "out there", or might be. I wondered if someone or something might help me out of this squirming, squeaming terror, this sense my guts were wound around and around and around some sword of heated iron and could never be untwisted again.
I had no direction, no discernment. I looked at this and I looked at that. I even looked at some Walken interviews, in which I am convinced (more and more) that he is me.
But then this.
This came, and I swear to God, it was the answer to all the inarticulate non-prayers I was sending up to the Universe. Somebody jumps out of nowhere with a gun and shouts a life-and-death command, words charged with mortal threat, with brain-bursting peril, and -
You say no.
It goes like this.
"Put your hands up!"
"I said no."
"I don't want to."
"But I've got a gun."
"I don't care."
"This doesn't make any sense!"
This is the "solve". Even with that gun to my head - and it has been a most poisonous gun, a threat to my wellbeing, if not my very sanity - I not only CAN say no, I not only WILL say no, but I am SAYING NO RIGHT NOW, even as I am writing this.
Everyone blathers on about the great yes of life. And yes. I can see it: sometimes, you have to know what to say yes to. But when you have an actual gun to your head, and you say no, it throws the entire situation out of kilter. It throws everyone off-balance. The earth begins to turn the other way. This is the spooky magic of "a" Christopher Walken (as if there is any other). He is the Merlin of "no", the Godfather of "no", the Jedi, the Dude, the Kahuna, the Meester Beeg, and everyone else supremely important you can think of.
And the rest of us are just idiots.
It's just one syllable. It's just two letters. It can change everything. It DOES change everything. Colours suddenly spring into their reverse; orange becomes blue. Spring lambs turn into springs. It's a force, and so idiot-simple that no one uses it. It's haiku-like simplicity (and does it really have seventeen syllables or whatever? No, thirteen, but it's so profound that it has just changed all the rules of haiku forever, and from now on they will all have thirteen syllables - in fact, all haikus everywhere, ever written in the world, have just become thirteen syllables.)
I said no.
I don't want to.
I don't care.
I have heard the Zen koan "no is a complete sentence", but I have never seen anyone actually practice it, because no one has. No one can, because they don't think they can. They've never heard of it.
My time will come, and soon, and I want to put this in my pocket for that moment which will be life-changing, and either help me step up, or step out and down into the mine-chute, the one where you never stop falling.