Old Man Coyote decided that life would be a lot easier for him if all the easy marks in the world would announce themselves. He wouldn’t have to work so hard at finding all the suckers that he could dupe. He thought long and hard about it and finally in a flash of sheer inspiration he came up with an answer. He invented the smiley face. Now all he had to do was look for the bumper stickers or lapel pins or that cute little face that people draw by their names, and he could easily go about his business.
I call the Sierra foothills above where I grew up Coyote’s landscape. In more primal times there were four main predators apart from man. They were grizzly bear, wolf, mountain lion, and coyote. Grizzly bear and wolf have been eliminated, although grizzly bear ironically still appears on our state flag.
Lion keeps to its secretive ways. I know that I am being watched, but I don’t quite know from where. Coyote just keeps on keeping on through guile and perseverance. We’re never quite able to put our finger on him. Coyote of course is the trickster of Native American myth, along with Crow. Ethnologists have always been trying to pin him down. He is this thing, but no, he’s that. Coyote is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of the mind, the quantum trickster.[ADBLOCKHERE]In the past, I have had an uneasy relationship with Coyote. I found it difficult to maintain a close relationship with a God that can allow Coyote to exist in the infinite wisdom of things. Where in the realm of love is there justification for some scurrilous Coyote who would just as soon take your money and laugh and run as do anything else? How do you maintain a relationship with that? Where are love, compassion, and kindness when Coyote is always lurking around?
I’ll tell you what I now know of old Coyote. Coyote represents our own capacities for constant self-deception and also represents God’s attempt to shock us out of our stupor of predictability. As soon as I think that I know something fully, Coyote will quickly, unceremoniously let me know that I don’t. If I am unawake, Coyote will steal me blind, but it is only because I am blind and asleep. He will always bite me in the ass if I am not aware. Always.
When I form an opinion about reality it turns out that I leave a whole sector of the compass ignored and unexplored. Because I’m not even aware of the existence of that region of reality, Coyote stalks me from within my own shadows, reaches up and gives my balls a yank and runs back into the darkness laughing. So wearing an opinion is about the same as wearing a smiley face when it comes to being duped. The more opinions I have, the less aware I am.
Now these opinions can be of any stripe: political, religious, racial, or maybe just a personal opinion about teenage pop singers. It’s all fodder for Coyote. The real trick is just to watch and see like a hunter, not fantasize, opine, and discourse about what you want to see. Watch in all directions unflinchingly.
Sad to say all our leaders operate in this opinionated fashion, and we have a President who is guided by his opinions of reality, formed by wealth and politics and religion. He hasn’t bothered to sit by the trail and watch history, watch the patterns of other cultures, watch their joys and sorrows. He hasn’t really watched his own culture.
He thinks he is safe within the fortress of his opinion and thinks to watch in all directions would be some kind of retreat or sign of weakness. His unidirectional fixation creates opportunities for attack from a multitude of directions, and old Coyote is having a field day. He simply has to sneak up at will and give the Presidential testicles a pinch, then listen and watch in glee at as the man suddenly chokes on his syntax and stares vacantly into space wondering what in the hell just happened.
I’ve studied several different martial arts. In Aikido I had to do a randori for my black belt. In randori, three or four attackers come at you from all directions. There is no time for opinions. Take care of this, watch, take care of that. The attackers are neither good nor bad. It all turns into a fluid dance and direct awareness is both the music and the step. Without venom, posturing, and anger on my part, even the attackers are changed, yet I’ve also taken care of myself. In T’ai Chi I’ve done push hands. In push hands, you remain connected to your attacker by touch through the back of your hand. By doing so, you can read his intentions, even on a minute level. To break off contact means a loss of knowledge of your opponent and it becomes more difficult to know his next move.
Through these things I’ve learned several things. Watch in all directions. Always keep Coyote in front of you and, if possible, stay in direct contact with him. You might get your feet stepped on, but it leaves other more vital areas of your anatomy intact.
On a seemingly strange note, I’m going to mention God again. But be warned that the God of which I speak is not the God of which you think I am speaking. I also must always keep God before me and stay in direct contact. It’s neither worship nor supplication. It’s pushing hands with a flow of Energy that resists definition, conforms to no opinion, and cannot be possessed by any person, place, or thing. It’s just a fluid thing, a randori with life.Powered by Sidelines