In any absolute sense of the words I have stolen, I have lied, I have cheated. In any absolute sense of the words I will steal again, I will lie, I will cheat again. I once believed the only path to peace was to find some way to totally free myself from stealing, lying and cheating. Like a little monkey, I danced from religion to religion from faith to faith from philosophy to philosophy, from cause to cause hoping for relief. I hopped and leaped about, hard to catch, impossible to pin down. Each time a religion, faith, philosophy or cause "failed me" I became depressed and angry at those who offered their path as the only "right" dance.
Lately, I am enjoying all dances. Each "dance" has merit, if only that created by those who find it valuable. I am not a Christian, yet I saw my Grandmother MacDaniel dance what she saw as Christ's waltz and display the finest grace and charity I have ever seen. I am not a Buddhist, but I have watched a Zen master glide through the chasms of mind to light up corners of consciousness hidden to others. I am not a Muslim yet I have twirled like a Sufi in my mind as I read the words of Rumi, "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." I am not a Hindu but I have visited India and stood in awe at the power of Shiva's dance of simultaneous creation and destruction.
I am not a Social worker, yet I have seen their compassion and clapped my hands as one played country and folk music (even though country and folk music normally makes me want to pull out my hair). I am not a Scientist but I love science's dance of eternal questioning and learning about the wonderful world in which we live. I am not an Addict or Alcoholic, but there was a time when drugs led me to ecstasy, burning a hole through some old prejudices. I am not a Businessman, but there was a time when I boogied to the rumba of enterprise and fame; creating wealth - sometimes wisely, sometimes not.
To be a happy monkey and create my own dance, I have had to learn a few steps of all dances. The trick is not to be trapped by memories of past dances; to be honest about how they have helped or caused me to stumble, but to avoid viewing them with pride, regret, or guilt. They were just dances using the music available to me at the time. I can use what I learned from them to make a new dance. Now that I am an old monkey, I sometimes manage to jump and leap for the pure joy of life. I dance an ever changing dance. Each day reveals new steps, but my dance is always complete while I dance it. How can it be complete and still benefit from change? Even the Monkey doesn't know that. Rock on Monkey.