Friday, December 17, 2010
Living in the No Stress Zone
Living in the
No Stress Zone
It is what it is, they say in the hood. When people greet me and ask how I'm doing, I reply, "I'm thankful to be alive. And I'm trying to stay in the no stress zone." When I say stay in the no stress zone, I see they have a delayed response, perhaps, to allow the words to flow across their brain cells. I can see they have been hit in the head with a new thought, a new possibility and they like the concept. No stress? Hell, my life is nothing but stress, I see them saying in the deep structure of their mind, in their momentary silence. I've just given them an answer to the conundrum of their lives, that maze of propositions that hit them at every turn of their daily round: stress from their own insecurities, stress from their mate, children, siblings, friends, job, social life or the lack thereof, stress from world events they can't possibly comprehend until they unravel the infinite contradictions in reality that are most vexing even to the rocket scientist.
I must then explain to my friends how I maneuver the mine field called life. It is a process of how one perceives reality, of understanding that most of reality is simple illusion, a figment of imagination that isn't worth the time of day. Most of what we concern ourselves with is of no importance whatsoever. Aristotle told us there are very few things in life really important.
While I was in prison a few months for refusing to fight in Vietnam, there was an inmate who upset the whole prison population although he only had six months to serve. Now there were men who had ten years and more, and they went about their daily round calmly in a state of peace, aggressively working on their case to get time reduced. But this man with six months was a nervous wreck , bugging everybody about his little time, pacing up and down the big yard like a mad fool with little understanding how fortunate he was to have such a light sentence.
And so it is what it is, sometimes we yet pray when God has already answered. We disturb God and ourselves when He has answered us and blessed us with our request, yet we cannot see in our spiritual blindness. We stress ourselves and then extend it to our mates, children, friends, neighbors even.
In recovery they teach us to let go and let God! If your woman or man leaves you, be happy! Why would you want someone to stay with you who wants to go? It may be the will of God that they go, no matter if you love them or not, no matter how heart broken you are, let them go: vaya con dios! Don't kill them because they want to leave, God may have something better for you and them, so why are you blocking your good, stressing yourself to the max, threatening to take your life or the life of your mate. Then what are you going to do with a homicide case?
A man with great talent, a great voice like Paul Robeson and William Warfield, came to me so he could learn the art of drama and public speaking. Although he had a great voice, he had problems reading, but I put him in the studio to record some of my writings. He let me know he was having problems with his woman since I could see he was under stress for some reason. I went on a national book tour, and when I returned a mutual friend informed me that he had stabbed his woman 16 times and threw her out on the freeway. His friend told me he'd caught her cheating on him, although he had a long history of cheating on her, that he had been a real snoop doggy dog, but finally had his day and couldn't accept it. So he killed her and now has a life sentence. If you a dog, why you think somebody else can't be a dog? Why you think your funk ain't gonna catch up with you? Surely you heard what goes around comes around!
Stress is thus internal and external, though most of the time we bring stress to ourselves. We are not at peace with ourselves. We are not confident and secure in what we do of righteousness, if we do any righteousness at all! A friend said everything we do is wrong! We haven't had a righteous thought and right action our entire lives. Mistake after mistake after mistake.
At my Academy of da Corner, the young girls come to me crying about the men who mess over them time and time again. I don't think they realize how many times they tell me the same story about the same man except he has a different name. But it's the same dude! Sometimes I hate to see the young girl coming because I know she got another story that's the same story she had the last time I saw her. And yes she's stressing, swearing she's gonna leave them no good nigguhs alone, but she ain't because she's addicted to the drama. She addicted to doing the wrong thing but expecting good results.
In other words, she's acting out a prescription for insanity. Actually she's manic depressive and in therapy. At least she does go to her therapist on a regular basis, though we doubt any positive results are achieved, since white supremacy psychotherapy can do us little good. Is it going to help liberate us from oppression. Dr. Fanon said only by joining the revolution can the oppressed man and woman regain their mental health. Only us can heal us, and at this point Dr. Hare is calling for mental health peer groups to meet on their own since there are not enough certified mental health specialists, especially those certified in African holistic healing. See my book How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, foreword by Dr. Nathan Hare, afterword by Ptah Allah El.
How shall we escape to the No Stress Zone? Have no attachments but to God! Understand, our mate may be our friend and she may be our enemy, depending on the time of day or the time of month. Don't worry, don't stress, enjoy her while it lasts and when it's over, let it go and let God.
Don't stress about children, for Gibran told us they come through us but are not us, they have their own lives, missions to accomplish. Help them, love them, guide them, but don't control them, let them find their voice, their bliss Joseph Campbell told us we all must discover.
Much stress is over this matter of bliss. We haven't figured out the reason for our existence. For a long time, maybe half our life, we thought it was about a mate, children, a job, the Jones next door, drugs, more sex, money, lots of money, things and things and things, and yet none of the above satisfied us, only caused us great stress, trauma and unresolved grief.
But one day, maybe after enduring that mid-life crisis, we suddenly realized our bliss, our purpose for existence, something that gave us infinite joy and pleasure. Now we're focused and absolutely refuse to allow anyone or anything to take us off course. Don't matter how long it took to achieve our bliss, but we made it, finally, the stress is gone and the thrill is on! We're like a child in Toys R Us. We can't believe life can be so beautiful. We have truly entered the No Stress Zone. We are in harmony with the universe, with humanity, with all that was, is, and shall be. We can see clearly now, the fog has lifted. Joy. Joy. Joy.
We worry about nothing because nothing is worth worrying about. We stay prayed up as the Christians say. I pray leaving from and returning to my house. I did this as a dope fiend because the most dangerous moment of the dope fiend's life is going to cop the dope. Something told me to put on the amour of God before I left my house because I didn't know what might be outside my door, especially in those seedy hotels in San Francisco's Tenderloin, or anywhere else for that matter. And then I prayed when I made it back safely, thankful God had protected me.
I do the same now, everyday, to put myself is a spiritual mode, to be thankful and thoughtful, as Sly Stone used to sing, and to make sure I am in the No Stress Zone! Even while I am at the Academy of da Corner, I must check myself to the fact that I am not there to make money, money is not the real reason God sent me to that corner at 14th and Broadway, but to serve somebody, to say a kind word to somebody, to reach out to somebody by being silent and letting them vent, even when I don't want to hear it. God says shut up and listen to my people, you are my ears, servant, so listen and shut up, and don't worry bout no damn money. And you think God don't bless me. Sometimes the people line up to give me donations. You better ax somebody! I just go there and stand or sit down and people come by and put money in my hand. Sometimes the people watching can't believe what they're seeing. My brother, a former loan shark, watched people bring me donations and couldn't believe his eyes. Better ax somebody!
Even when your bills are due, don't stress, simply call the white man and tell him when you will be able to pay him or give him something on your bill. Stress gone!
A friend told me years ago not to worry about the Middle East, what's happening in Jerusalem with the Jews and Palestinians. He said, Marvin, they've been fighting there for thousands of years, and they've been living together in peace many years, so don't worry about it. The Jews, Muslims and Christians all claim Abraham as their father. Do you think Abraham is stressing over the antics of his children. He's probably saying, "These some damn fools!"
Solomon told you the same thing about his children. After all his labor under the sun, he cried I still might leave my kingdom in the hands of a damn fool son or daughter! All is vanity and vexation of spirit!
Stay in the No Stress Zone!
It might be another two hundred years before we see true freedom, justice and equality in America. We've been here 400 years, so-called freedom 150 years. So give yourself another 100 or 200 years. Ancestor John Henry Clark said this is not a sprint but a long distance run. So pace yourselves and plan for the next 100 and/or 200 years. And stick to the plan, don't let politricks take you off course, don't let the world of make believe convince you to go for illusions of the monkey mind.
In recovery, we are taught don't get too happy and don't get too sad. Understand that life is joy and pain, sun and rain. Don't think the sun's going to shine all the time, or that it's going to rain forever--unless you live in Seattle, Washington!
Put signs in your house: This is a No Stress Zone. Don't allow stress in your house. A girlfriend came over and when I got a call that took some time to finish, she got an attitude and told me to get off the phone. I told her, "Girlfriend, you can leave, good bye. As-Salaam-Alaikum!" No, you ain't coming in my house giving me orders. It ain't that kinna party up in here!
Ladies and gentlemen, stress is killing us, in the night and in the day. We live in a hostile environment for starters. For most of us, the job is negative, our families ungrateful, our friends hypocritical, the police unpredictable. Jesus told you to be in this world but not of this world, so we must transcend all the stress from the hostile environment until we can change it into that wonderful world Armstrong sang about. Stay in the No Stress Zone!