After eleven absolutely awesome days in magical Mexico, the return flight on (Mexican airline) Interjet did not disappoint, playing non-stop reruns of The Pink Panther cartoon. Overall a pleasant flight, the only unpleasant part of which was having to fill out the customs declaration. It’s becoming practically impossible to tolerate the kind of cognitive dissonance such demands invoke.
It wasn’t so much that I minded filling out the questionnaire, except for the part about providing an address, because I see it as dangerous to let a group of violent sociopaths know where you live. The part that really got to me though was signing the damn thing.
So I didn’t. I Couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Ask yourself, what kind of people threaten to rob you of thousands of dollars of your money and/or confine you to a cage for years at a time (a.k.a. ‘Penalty of Perjury’) in order to force you to submit to their questions?
Think about this in the context of relationships, because the world is just made up of people after all. If a husband or wife or any significant other behaved this way it would be considered grounds for spousal abuse. If someone claims to love you while simultaneously threatening you, what does that really say? Likewise, why is it that the very people claiming to protect your freedom and your property are always the same ones threatening to take it away from you if you don’t comply with their whims?
It’s a bit like that classic picture game in the old ‘Highlights For Kids’ magazine where you are asked to find the differences between two like images. To get at the truth you begin by eliminating contradictions.
So, I walked up to the man in the outfit at the customs desk as calm and tranquillo as the Pacifico (which I miss dearly already), anticipating but not really expecting anything other than a conversation. Nothing that man could have said, and no tone of voice he might have taken would have had any power to disturb me. In that moment I was completely accepting of any outcome, yet refusing to be accepting of any contradictions in my own mind.
When you eliminate contradictions you begin to align yourself with what is true, and in so doing that truth becomes choiceless because you cannot stand against it. To do so means conflict, resisting, trying to control. So the truth really does set you free, inwardly. When you have a choice, psychologically, you are caught in polarity. This is not the same as having a choice when you go to the grocery store, obviously.
To conclude with the story, the man at customs took my unsigned declaration, scanned my passport and waived me on through, without much more than a few words exchanged. Todo bien. Whether he saw it or not, whether he cared or not, whether he knew it or not, I don’t know. Todo bien.
Had he had some issue with it, preventing a peaceful human being from crossing an artificial line in the sand without forcibly signing a piece of paper that has no binding on anyone anyway since it occurs under duress, and either believing he has ample justification to do so or merely acting as a robot under blind authority, then I was more than happy to let him explain himself and make some sense of it to me. Let it be his problem and not mine. I had nothing to object to and nothing to hide and no argument to make. I wanted to hear it from him personally whether my compliance in the matter was voluntary or not.
If not, then so be it. Let me sign the thing and be on my way. Or not. Either way, I don’t care, because unresolved contradictions are corrosive and eat away at our very nature. By facing the dissonance, facing the contradictions, knowing them, understanding them, and transcending and eliminating them from our psyches we harmonize our actions in the world. Then perhaps, instead of continuing to bump up against the walls of our own self-imposed cages, it is possible to attain an inner freedom through which one’s very living becomes part of the fabric against which others still caught in various contradictions must bump.
And perhaps it’s also the case that those bumps in life are only meant to wake us, and therefore it’s best not to begrudge our fellow travelers on this planet an appropriate measure of them. (Although I admit to having been guilty of this far too often).
If you are skeptical about all this, ask me about it. Let’s have a dialogue about it. That’s what rational, sane individuals who care about one another do, after all. Iron sharpens iron. We can help each other get down to the bedrock truth of what actually is. Otherwise we are standing on illusion. I am not claiming to say positively what that truth is, I am saying let’s begin by finding out where there exist contradictions and examine them openly and transparently together.
Life is a process. We are learning as we go. I have made a lot of mistakes. Occasionally we come to a door that we do anything not to walk through. Some doors we want so desperately to walk through but appear to be locked. Perhaps they are not so different.