Cages

I am fascinated by my cages. I have so many of them. Most of them are made of gold…

I started becoming aware of my cages when I was studying anthropology and we looked at culture. I started to become aware of the unconscious rules of behaviour that govern our lives. When I started to bring some of the rules to consciousness I started encountering the first bars of my cages. I would walk down a well populated path and consider this thing within my being that made it impossible for me to lie down on it. I would be so embarrassed! And yet why? I did not know any of these people around me that I should care for their opinion…

More and more I start posing my self challenges. Some I fulfilled out of a desire to see what would happen and some I just used the feelings that come up when I imagined flouting a rule to feel out the boundaries of my cage and familiarise myself with the shape and effect of each bar. I became overwhelmed with the multitude of cages that bound my life and all the feelings that composed the bars.

Many of my cages are made of gold. They seem beautiful and they are precious to me but they are nonetheless cages. One of the things that make my cages shine like gold is the idea of morality. The bars are made of guilt (no pun intended).

I was talking to a friend about stealing not too long ago.  I contended that it would be good to steal occasionally. This conclusion comes from my own anger at my lack of choice in this. When I consider stealing, say, a video from a rental shop, or a handbag or a car I don’t think I refrain from these activities out of a sense of care for their owners. I refrain out of fear. Fear of getting caught and fear of the guilt I would feel. Fear of losing my place in society. In the past this would also have been fear of God’s disappointment.  This fear is a cage that is made of gold. After all it helps me do the things I approve of. Ahhh. My cage is my friend! Lovely cage!

Yet these cages create a Fergus that does not love. He fears.

When you bake a cake for a friend out of a sense of obligation then it is not love. When I do because I ought then I do not love. Maybe my cage loves… but I do not.

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5 Responses to “Cages”

  1. Heather Says:

    how is it loving to hurt someone (e.g. by stealing their handbag) in order for you to learn how to be free?

  2. Heather Says:

    Also, have you tried any of the more classical spiritual disciplines? They are practises honed over the centuries which people have used to train themselves in the habits that lead to flowing freely with Christ. Liberation is what I understand them to be all about.

    My knowledge of them comes almost exclusively from Richard Foster, of “celebration of discipline” fame. I, myself, have mainly only practised the inward disciplines of meditation, fasting and study, and the outward one of simplicity. Solitude has been foisted on me in recent years, and I have found much richness in it – particularly via. freedom from expectation and freedom to think my own thoughts.

    And have you ever found that practising service (such as baking for a friend) *becomes* love? As you put yourself in loving postures, loving intent can follow?

    And unrelatedly, I’m presuming you’ve figured out which Heather this is. It feels a bit artificial to me to communicate with you in this written way and in a public forum, rather than face to face curled up in lounge chairs, but it also ties in well with my limitations, and I’m enjoying interacting with your thinking. May I continue chipping in? I would be interested in your responses to my comments, too, but I have no desire to hijack your project!

    • fergasm Says:

      Your comments are great! I really value them. I am only beginning to develop my writing stamina though and if I have to choose between the main blog and writing replies to comments I’ll go for the blog… So I probably won’t respond to all comments. Your blog has pictures so I knew which Heather you are from the beginning! I would have known anyway though. Your scientific interest in your own menstrual cycle was quite a give away… 🙂

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