by Robert Kopecky
Each Halloween, we get a chance to think a little about famous monsters.
The monsters of our childhood. The monsters of our advancing age. The monsters our kids might be for the holiday (or that they may seem to become, whenever). The monsters that we can be ourselves too–sometimes.
You may notice that the really famous monsters (like everyone, really) are scary on a couple of levels. First, on the level of the material imagery; and then on a deeper metaphoric, or spiritual level. Take Frankenstein (please!). He's plenty scary on the obvious material level, but he also makes a pretty scary metaphor–as the manifestation of self-will run amok; the consequences of our wanting to play God with the natural world, with our lives, and with the lives of others. Or Dracula, as a symbol of soul exploitation–people who selfishly suck the life out of other people; or out of Mother Nature, for that matter. The
Wolfman, who's the potentially violent beast within us all, unleashed by the uncontrollable cycle of life–a curse he passes along whenever he bites someone else.
So what's up with all the Zombies? They seem to be everywhere these days. Zombies in the movies, on TV, in commercials and videogames – almost everywhere you look, there are zombies popping up. What are we trying to say, on a deeper level, with this zombie fascination? Well, let's take a look (if you dare...)
Most obviously, zombies are the undead. People who've lost their souls, so the only life they have left is spent feeding on the living. They selfishly grope around for the next bite that's going to fuel their empty search. In that sense, they're really a bit like the unconsciously self-centered people, or like mindless consumers–lurching about ineffectively, swarming on any situation where there appetites may be sated. And so eternally, they flounder around in their soulless system, looking for nourishment, but only finding more remorseful, bottomless hunger.
They would find their solution–their rest–if they'd just die already, wouldn't they? Symbolically, that may simply mean dying to the empty life of schlepping themselves from one incessant need to the next. Realizing that the death of "who you are supposed to be" in our often soulless, demanding culture can reveal a real peace, and a responsible purpose that may have been hidden right in front of us, all along. It's not really about what any single one of us needs–it's about what every single one of us needs. Love, Purpose. Spiritual sustenance.
I'm sorry to point out that the people responsible for all of this zombie programming, sadly, may just be zombies too– which gives us another spiritual challenge to face...
Zombies couldn't care less about what you think. They're not at all interested in your thoughts on any subject; and what's even worse, they don't give damnation about how anything makes you feel. You're not going to get anywhere by politely asking a zombie not to eat you. Zombies only think about one thing–themselves; and zombies can't let themselves feel anything, God bless 'em.
Not becoming a zombie yourself means opening up to what others think; and more importantly, to how they feel. Relating, sincerely, to one another’s feelings, and by doing so, share the experience–and the intelligence–of our hearts. That compassionate consciousness is the only thing that can help a zombie re-enter the real world of the living; the only thing that can help us deal with a zombie, even if, God forbid, we realize it’s ourselves. All of us, really living, or “the undead,” are after all, only human (sort of...)
I hate to get too graphic, but they do say the only way to kill a zombie is "to kill the zombie's brain," and they may have a good point there (whoever "they" are). It’s very likely that zombies probably think too much with their dizzy, addled heads, and not with their grounded hearts. That’s where the the path to restoring a zombies soul, or to help a struggling ghoul to find it themselves, must lead through. It seems like a long schlep, sometimes, that short stretch from the upturned graveyard of the head, to the peace and heaven of the heart.
Try to look past that unkempt exterior–the unconscious self-centeredness, the yellow pallor, the blood n' guts hanging out. Many zombies are really good at heart, they've simply been created by a monstrous metaphor–the Dark Lord of the Ego. Look beyond the bright, but quickly fading material images, and into the compassionate spirit we all share.
If you fear you’ve become a little zombie-like yourself, simply start living in your soul's life, that's where you’ll find the real, joyful world of the living–not on the shifting horror show of life’s “silver screen.”
And for Halloween, I recommend that you don't go as a green, flesh-eating ghoul, or dress your kids that way, either. Instead, go as a fairy, or an angel, or just as the bright, shining light that you really are.
"There is a light within people of light, and they shine it upon the whole word. If they do not shine it, what darkness!
The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 24