the unicorn of addiction
“Please get addicted. Just say yes. Please get addicted quickly. Them as have tut-tutted about your addictions were way wrong, dood and doodette. Addiction is cool stuff if you’re addicted to licking the blue sky like an ice cream cone with your eyes. Addiction is delicious if you bask in the sea of bright air like a dolphin lazing luxurious in the ocean.”
Immersed in the topaz shimmer of twilight, some rhapsodists were gathered at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />FortItude for a potluck summer supper. Cha Racter was regaling them with tales of a whole world hooked on raw radiance. Cha was a very fat, very chic black lady whose soul was rich and baroque with intriguing decoration. She sang so sweet and compelling, your heart unfroze. “Hey, baby,” she would whisper huskily to you, “I sing the blues, the peaches, the pinks, the greens, the aquamarines. You gonna know from ‘color’ when I get done with you.” Cha was wearing a tight scarlet satin jump suit which left no doubt about the intimate geography of her mountains of flesh. “Tough to trust the thin ones, honey,” she would confide, “they can resist stuff.”
Cha crooned on, impelled by scattered applause and appreciative laughter, “We have spent a lifetime perfecting our pernicious habits. If we could apply a modicum of that zeal and cunning to crafting positive addictions, we’d thrive, we’d soar, we’d gambol.
“Frankly, on the face of it, the mystery is not how to get radiant, but rather how we get ensnared by the stupid blandishments of boredom, guilt, and self-pity, those life-wasters.
“Once you have turned on the radiance, it is the essential and immutable condition of your life. You cannot deny it, cannot defy it. The ice in your soul is melted. You know the sun will rise in the pearly morning. Once you have the knack, you cannot unsee the inner light in each thing dwells, you cannot unfeel the pulse of each living thing—each existing thing. The stone, the wall, as well as the polished leaf, the glistening crow wings.
“Go on. Swallow radiance, guzzle radiance, snort radiance, shoot up radiance. Air should sear your soul; that you can breathe, that your eyes blink should shock you with glory and raw joy. Once reverence has gotcha, once reverence is your modus operandi, once you’re hooked, you can just get on with living your life in a lively, passionate, sensible way.
“Once you get the balance point, you cannot unride the bicycle. Once you get the balance point, you cannot unswim. Once the black squiggles coalesce, crystallize, you cannot unread.
“There is a twofold trick to ‘seeing’ radiance. One aspect is like sending out your attention through your eyes to touch and taste all the objects you perceive ‘out there.’ Most of us do this automatically when we see an adorable kitten or a scrumptious smorgasbord. We know how to do this radiance trick. We just severely, I would say pathologically, limit the objects of our wholehearted attention, affection, and delight. If we’d find it all interesting, riveting, galvanizing, we’d be rich in radiance.
“The other aspect of the raw joy trick is to open or widen your eyes and let more of the radiance in. Each pulsing ‘object’ and ambience emits a particular fragrance of light which we can inhale through our eyes.
“Let’s not deny we’re addicted. Let’s proclaim we’re addicted. Then we can get all the garbage out in the open, out in the light. If we can examine how we so loyally and perfectly perform our present de-structive addiction, we realize with the stark clarity of a bolt of lightning that we already own the tools, the accomplished skills to perform con-structive addiction.
“It may well be that some of you need a gap, a synapse of refusal of your present addiction-content in order to bring the pattern into your consciousness long enough for you to watch it and capture it for happier uses.
“Pretend that your addiction is a unicorn, this elegant, brilliant, fabulous creature, elusive in the dappled shadows of your inner forest.
“When you finally contrive to gently capture the unicorn, you look into her (or his) eyes, look into her eyes, those deep golden eyes and with a shift in your very molecules, you swear you will never feed this exquisite creature anything but beauty and whatever wisdom you forage for with all your whole devotion.
“Would you feed this belovèd, blessed unicorn the poisons, the toxins of gambling, smoking, drugs, gorging, or alcohol? Would you? Could you?
“This is not a moral issue, my darlings, it is an issue of beauty, of sanity, of well-being.
“In ancient Chinese legend, the unicorn is the colors of the rainbow. Where her hooves fall, no blade of grass is bruised. And music is heard in the air as she passes.
“Destructive addiction is a darkness. Constructive addiction is in light, is in a sweet song.
“My pal, Toby Morton whose addictions led him to the slammer asked himself how in the world he would deal with his drinking buddy, George, when they got back together after Toby gets out? I said, ‘Toby honey, it ain’t your friendship on the line, it’s your life at stake.’”
Cha Racter continued, “Sweethearts, if Toby were lucky enough to be out here with us in this sweet free air, he would tell us that we don’t have a clue, not one clue, how deep free is, how deep beauty is. His world is heavy, metal doors and cinder blocks. Do you think that when he gets back out here in our carnival, our Mardi Gras, our Fat Tuesday, our Fat Wednesday, Fat Thursday, our Fat Days, he’s gonna soil and spoil this free, this glee with destructive addicted garbage? Or is he gonna fall to his knees and kiss the free Earth? And rise a knight of light?”
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