Shall We Nap?

Three years ago, in Switzerland, I read a book called Kill Anything That Moves, by Nick Turse, about civilian carnage in the Vietnam War. The author’s thesis is that Lieutenant Calley (infamous for his role in the Mai Lai massacre) was neither a renegade nor a “bad apple”; American military policy demanded, across the board, that its personnel kill as many Vietnamese as possible, whether those Vietnamese were involved in combat or not. Promotions – especially for generals and other higher ups – rode on body counts. So the more Vietnamese you killed, the more Vietnamese your men killed, the greater your chances of rising through the ranks.

Twelve years ago, in Arizona, I encountered the prophet Abraham, channeled by Esther Hicks (living on a wilderness homestead, I had few choices for auditory entertainment while working in the kitchen). I don’t love Abraham; I recoil from his “Law of Attraction,” which morphed (I believe) into the spine of The Secret, and recalled what Zendiks termed “The Law of Psychic Cause and Effect” (when bad shit happens, it’s your fault; when good shit doesn’t happen, it’s also your fault). However, I do appreciate one response he used to give to wisdom-seekers at the ends of their ropes: “Take a nap.” That is, stop trying so hard. Let your troubles be. Let your angels untangle them, while you sleep.

Would that the entire U.S. military had taken Abraham’s advice, right at, or even before, the start of the Vietnam War. Here was this vast violence machine that really didn’t know what to do, to get what it thought it wanted. Instead of admitting this, and retreating to bed, it ran a blood bath. On an individual level, each commander urging his men to up their body counts, so he could gain another star (or get promoted, or simply keep his job), could have done humanity a great service (or at least spared humanity great harm) by simply falling asleep.

Of course, while you sleep, you can’t exert force upon the physical world, which means, by the toxic standard we’ve adopted, you can’t achieve. And if you’re not achieving, you lose access not only to the money you need to provide for yourself and your family, but also to a sense of worth and purpose. You are what you’re paid to do; if you’re not paid to do anything, you’re useless.

The world-eating machine demands that we work and work and work. What miracles of healing might arise, from a nice long rest?

If you liked this post, you’ll love my memoir, Mating in Captivity, in which my twenty-two-year old self enters a cult with a radical take on sex and relationships. Learn more here.

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