The Spirit of a Goat
This blog also appeared as a guest post on Dragon Intuitive, Feb. 18, 2013.
I have a goat. He’s a boy. I named him Billy.
I know how unoriginal that is.
He’s also a professional eater. As I sit here on the creek bank, listening to the forest while babble flows freely through my head, he hovers near, chomping on the thorniest, pokiest, vilest of weeds with incisors made of hardened steel. Frankly, I think he’s in heaven. Hell, he was made for this.
In stark contrast to his black coat, he also has a completely white ass. I mean the entirety of his behind—fur as well as sphincter—is bright glowing white. So is his muzzle. I grin at the significance of a professional eater having a mouth and ass so bright they draw attention to the fact that one who eats must poop. Shit in equals shit out. And trust me, from my experience cleaning his habitat, that equation always applies.
That got me thinking. Does shit in always equal shit out? If our biography becomes our biology, does that explain why people get sick? How about why people physically suffer? What if we’re responsible for the state of our bodies by virtue of the state of our souls?
If shit in doesn’t equal shit out, where does the shit go?
If you’re Billy, and what goes in always comes out, then theoretically you’re operating in spiritual equilibrium. You have homeostasis of the soul. You’re maintaining spiritual peace. You enjoy each bite without concern for what happens once you swallow and move forward to the next meal—the next moment, unencumbered by concern. When the plant is gone, instead of standing in the shadow worried about your next bite, you move toward the light, knowing sunlight cooks best what feeds you.
Accountants say if what comes in is greater than what goes out, you’re operating in the black. Black is a shadow; it's darkness. They say this is preferable. If it’s the opposite and what goes out is greater than what comes in, you’re operating in the red.
Is it a coincidence that red is the color of love? What if operating in the red—in a shit surplus—is preferable for the soul? What if the soul needs to give more than it gets? What if the spiritual experience is a non-profit phenomenon? What if it’s never about a bottom line but a full heart?
What if achievement isn’t measured in, well, definable success? What if the journey of the soul is overcoming the fear of failing by the standards that society publicizes as so dear? What if everything that’s currently cherished as success is a small pot to piss in once we’re through here?
I ponder our similarities, Billy and I. The enormity of my bright toothy smile will draw your attention faster than my protruding nose (fortunately). And my ass, due to my Irish heritage, is fluorescent white. When I’m mired in thicket as thick as barbed wire, I can’t eat my way through, but I’ve never turned back. And the amount of life I’ve spent in the woods is proportional enough to consider this a feat.
Billy is one up on me though. He knows his purpose but I question mine. As I write this, I wonder if my purpose is to question my purpose? I believe that only in questioning can the answer be sought. So what if answers come in lessons and lessons come in conflict and conflict is the only way toward resolution of the questions to which I seek answers? Would I ever question if not conflicted? Would I ever grow if not challenged? Would I enter an unfamiliar forest if someone told me I don't have the tools to navigate?
I watch Billy on the bank. He’s quite content eating vines stripped of leaves in the cold winter sun and he definitely doesn’t care what I think of him. It’s what he was made to do. He attempts to move forward but gets wrapped in a quagmire of braided twists so he simply, innately, backs a step and gnaws off the setback.
He isn’t concerned about anything other than the task at hand. He’s completely present. Even when I cross the creek and leave him behind, he only obsesses about my absence until he loses sight of me. Then he makes his way back to the barn, nipping off the loose threads of the forest as he goes.
What if each moment, my only purpose is to lose sight of what causes discontent and address the moment at hand, knowing that any hindrance is only an opportunity to problem-solve? What if my job is to chew it up and let it pass, trusting that the process of moving it along happens innately whether I’m worried about it or not? What if every time I face adversity I know I have the tools for resolution?
Maybe, like Billy, I was made for this. Perfectly so. Maybe I shouldn’t get wrapped up in wondering what my purpose is because this moment is my purpose. It’s not out there, in the future, waiting to be discovered. It’s now. In this place. At this moment.
Think about it. Bill eats the spiniest spiked menaces with pain-free conviction. He chews them up and shits them out without looking back to inspect the dung he’s abandoned in a heap. Matter of fact, if he comes across the waste again, he’ll sniff it curiously because he doesn’t associate with it, and after inspection, he’ll walk away, emotionally unattached, bare bottom and all. All he knows is he’s Billy. And Billy is all he needs to be.
Is simply being Cindy enough for me?