My step-mother, who is in her late 80's, called a short while ago to say she would not, as she had hoped, be stopping by. She has been diagnosed with an ulcer, is taking medication for it and, in the meantime, likes to keep a bathroom -- and a certain privacy about running to it -- near at hand.
She said she was sorry about not coming by, not least because she had collected several things she thought I might find interesting, one of them having to do with yoga of some sort.
I told her I loved her. I told her I appreciated her thoughtfulness. And I told her that I was sick to death of getting information or advertising about improvement strategies. "There may be a better mouse trap," I told her somewhat tartly, "but I'm stuck with the one I've got and really don't want to waste the time."
Her kind offering, which I really did appreciate, came on the heels of a couple of lookit-my-Zen emails that presumed, based on my past stated interests, that I would be intrigued or friendly or something like that. I was dying to reply, "Please forgive me, but I don't give a shit." But of course I didn't do that: The package may be surrounded by wrappings left over from a WalMart Christmas, but what's inside ... well, I didn't write back "I don't give a shit" however much I may have wanted to.
Gem-filled golden orbs that you hang over your belly button during a new moon. The 732nd asana performed only under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Four hundred days wandering in the woods or seated full-lotus as the gong sounds and the incense swirls. Bowing and chanting till your nose turns blue and all for the bargain-basement price of $25,000. Abstruse or gushingly paradoxical poetry that points to the very essence of the universe. It may all be truer than true and four times as lovely ....
Go ahead...you do it.
Just don't send me the four-color brochure. And if you want to have a conversation about something serious, tell me about a movie you liked, a shirt you bought, a boyfriend or girlfriend you dumped or who dumped you or your plans to visit Timbuktu.
I know it sounds crabby and contrary and it doesn't make much ordinary sense based on my past activities, but really, I don't give a shit about the spiritual flights and the profound overlays. Compassion, enlightenment, non-duality, emptiness, wisdom ... be my guest.
Did you ever notice, assuming there is some seriousness about spiritual practice, that it always seemed to be the student who was in search of some better mouse trap ... and the teacher struggled and squirmed to find ways to say, "What the hell is the matter with the one you've got?"
I know, I know ... I really should be more patient and cuddly and understanding, but let's get real: Four or five drunken and enthusiastic guys arguing about baseball at the local tavern ... it may be boring as hell, but occasionally there is laughter and with any luck there will be a brawl.
No brochures necessary.
Mouse Traps R Us.