Where Do I Go?

I didn't expect our last show, High Fidelity, to be as meaningful and powerful as it was for me personally. I knew it was great material that I wanted to work on and share with our audiences, but I didn't think it would hit me right in the solar plexus the way it did. About halfway through the run, I realized why: I was at the exact same place in my life as Rob Gordon was. I needed to learn exactly the same lessons he needed to learn. And with both Rob and me, even when the show ended, our journeys did not. Rob had only begun his journey as the story of High Fidelity ended. (Actually, in the novel the story goes one narrative step further than the show does.) It's like the end of Company, where Bobby makes a decision about the road he will take now, but we don't know how it will work out, whether he will find happiness, etc. -- all we know is that he's made a decision. The same is true of High Fidelity.

And my life.

Luckily for me, I now move from that deeply personal, deeply meaningful experience to another! I already know that Hair carries some important lessons for me, some of which I learned the last couple times -- particularly the second time, when we closed just ten days before the September 11th attacks. But I also know I'm in a different place now.

I've always been a junkie for books about religion. I do not subscribe to any organized religion and do not believe literally in the stories any of those religions tell us. I know that the stories of Jesus, Moses, and The Gang are important stories that teach us important truths, but I also know that they rightfully belong alongside the great stories of Zeus, Thor, Jupiter, Zoroaster, Shiva, the Reverend Moon, and L. Ron Hubbard. Every tradition has its central myths and fables, none of which are true but all of which are truthful. In fact almost all of the Christian myths and fables originated in other Eastern traditions first. The Garden and the Fall of Man, the Great Flood, the Virgin Birth, all Jesus' miracles, the idea of the Trinity, the 12 disciples, the crucifixion and resurrection -- all of it showed up in other places before Christianity. Which makes it a little hard to take the Bible literally.

I'll offer up just one detailed example to prove my point. Jesus’ story shares many coincidences with the story of Horus -- and here's the crux of it -- an Egyptian story from thousands of years earlier. Horus was born to a virgin and was the only begotten son of God (Osiris). Horus’ mother was Meri and his (step-)father was Jo-Seph. Both births were announced by angels and witnessed by shepherds. Jesus was visited by three wise men; Horus was visited by three sun gods. Herod wanted Jesus killed as a child; Herut wanted Horus killed. There are no details on either of them from age 12-30. Both were baptized at age 30 in a river by a known baptiser. Both faced temptation in the desert by an evil god (Sut/Satan). Both had 12 disciples as an adult. Both of them walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, cured the blind, stilled the sea, and raised the dead. Horus’ ressurection of his dead father happened in Anu. Jesus resurrected Lazarus in Beth-Anu, or Bethany (beth means house in Hebrew). Both were killed by crucifixion, accompanied by two thieves. Both were entombed, then resurrected after three days, and in both cases the resurrection was discovered by women first. And all this happened to Horus thousands of years before Jesus even showed up! Odd, isn't it? But enough of that...

Lately, I've been reading books about Zen Buddhism, and I see great truth there, and a much more evolved sense that the closest we can come to God is metaphor, that literal language and stories will always be utterly inadequate, and most significantly for Christians, that we can't ever really know the nature of God, the nature of Life, the nature of Death, or any of the rest of those Big Questions. (Depends on the shit you're smoking!) It's the questions that count, not the answers; the searching for, not the pretending to know.

(If you ever want a really good laugh, listen to "The Bible Answer Man" on Chrstian radio. To paraphrase the Hair script -- Anyone who thinks they have all the answers is full of shit.)

The more I read about world religion and philosophy, the more I'm convinced that our primary duty as moral, rational beings is to Evolve. If we believe now exactly what we believed as children, then we're not doing our job, we're not serving our souls, we're not growing and striving toward our potential.

When I hear people say that "all the answers" are in the Bible, I feel sorry for them. The Bible is a history book and a philosophy book; it's not an owner's manual. And it does not have answers for us about 21st century technology or many other modern issues. The Bible is a guide, nothing more, and it's up to us to use the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and others texts like them to learn what we can and keep pursuing the Big Questions. But we have to accept and even embrace the fact that we will never fully understand the answers (and sometimes, not even the questions). The idea isn't to get the answer -- that's what game shows are for -- the idea is to keep thinking and evolving. That's what makes us better people and the world a better place.

I'm hoping Hair will help me with that the way High Fidelity did. I consider myself quite a success professionally -- though I make precious little money, I do run a nationally known theatre company, I've published several books in my field, and I hope that I continue to get better as a director. But in my personal life I'm usually a failure, and I'm trying to figure out why that is and how to get myself on a different road. High Fidelity opened my eyes to a piece of the puzzle, but there are many more pieces to be found.

Part of me feels like it's awfully late to have my eyes opened at age 44, but another part feels like this life may well be just one rung on the great ladder of Enlightenment, that what we think of as a full adult life may really be merely an infancy in a much bigger, wider world of experience that our puny brains can't even imagine. I know we all have work to do, but I think I may have more than most...

If nothing else, at least I finally feel like I may be on the right road. And I have to accept that I don't know where that road is leading. I just have to stay on the road and Keep On Truckin'.
My body is walking in space,
My soul is in orbit, with God, face to face.
. . .
On a rocket to the fourth dimension,
Totally self-awareness the intention.
On with the Groovy Revolution!
Kerouac

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