Friday, December 10, 2010

me, me, me, me, me

Yesterday, a friend sent me the latest atheist news letter. I didn't bother to open it, not because I disagree with atheists, but because I find the arguments repetitive and self-serving and stale. That's just my taste and I mean no disrespect.

But simply receiving the attachment to my friend's email made me think of the accusations sometimes brought to bear against those concerned with religion -- or, more specifically, meditation. "Navel-gazers," "self-involved wimps," and occasionally just plain "assholes."

Those involved in religion or meditation are quick to defend their practices. They seek "peace" or "compassion" or a "kindness" that is as wide as the universe and twice as deep. They may fail in their attempts, but at least they are trying in a world that is too often filled with nastiness and greed. Relatively speaking, they are on a gentler, more compassionate track... or so goes the defense, sometimes more ornately presented.

But I think it might be useful to take the "navel-gazer," "self-involved," "asshole" observations and, instead of debating the point, simply concede it. Who would be better to assess the fact that I am an asshole than I would? And who would know better about my navel -- my life -- than I would? And when it comes to self-involved ... well, how would it  be possible to move forward with religion or meditation without acknowledging my own self-ish-ness? Paying attention to someone else's selfishness doesn't accomplish much by way of assuring peace ... though I imagine it may make for a good news letter.

Just noodling here and thinking that rather than setting up a debate about who is more or less self-ish, it would be better to concede the point and then really dig in to the one thing I can do anything about --- me, me, me, me, me, me, me.


  1. The process of defense of one's spiritual position is fraught with mines. This morning in the gym in a very general discussion about Christmas I for the first time in my life volunteered the information that I am not a Christian and since I am no longer a Christian I am even more annoyed by the commercialism of the so called holy season then when I was a practicing Christian. I didn't know why i volunteered that and I don't get any response and thankfully i didn't as I am unsure why i said it or how to defend it. I suffered through this season when a Christian and I continue to suffer through this season but now in a different way. If that's not noodling I don't know what is.

  2. Tullik -- If you volunteered that you were not a Christian, be of good cheer: They probably thought you were Jewish. No one thinks of Buddhism. :)

    I agree that the need for greed is taxing, with or without the defense.