Monday, March 23, 2009

marriage, parades and winners

It seems that I will in fact be marrying John and Heather. June 3 is the date envisioned -- a date that is significant in some way to the two of them. After zazen yesterday, John and I talked about getting the necessary state approval... minister for a day. The approval costs $35.

On the one hand, the prospect is delightful -- being a part of something that someone takes seriously. On another hand, it is something of a hoot, being asked to lay the bureaucratic hands of approval on what needs no approval. On yet another hand, the situation puts "marriage" in the spotlight ... what's serious about it, what's off-topic, what's ... well, what's what.

I told John I would certainly be up for the whole thing, but I had hopes that I would win the Great American Think Off, and the debate that the four top contestants will engage in is to be held -- or so I thought -- June 1 in a small Minnesota town. The Great American Think Off is the funnest thing to come along in a while for me and, although it seems unlikely I will win, still I cling to it and really would like to go. Talk about a hoot! June 1, was awfully close to June 3, so I told John I wasn't entirely sure about his wedding date and maybe we could confer again next week after zazen. Later in the day, I looked at the Great American Think Off web site and found out the debate would be held June 13, so there would be -- assuming anyone invited me -- no conflict. I called John and told him...and also asked him to think about the role he might like me to play ... in what way he would like me to 'marry' him and Heather.

Also yesterday, my youngest son, as a member of the high school freshman baseball team, marched in a nearby St. Patrick's Day parade. Who was it who invented parades in the first place and why did s/he invent such a thing? Parades are fun and flashy, I suppose, and perhaps they imply a certain amount of clinging ... lookit me! lookit-me!



The Great American Think Off.


Or maybe clinging and culture. But what is culture if not clinging?

In Buddhism, there is a certain narrowing of the eyes when it comes to clinging, a wisp of disapprobation. Clinging, a Buddhist (or any sensible person) might tell you, has verifiably unfortunate implications and results. But I wonder....

In Christianity, adherents can sometimes get the quote wrong and intone, "Money is the root of all evil." But of course there is nothing wrong with money. It is, "The love of money is the root of all evil." It is the clinging that brings on the problems. It is the expectation that well-laid plans will be fulfilled to your satisfaction. In the ordinary flow of things, anyone might imagine s/he knew what satisfaction might consist of. But then things don't work out exactly as planned and all the clinging comes around and bites you on the ass. Imagined success turns to fact-based failure ... or, if not failure, anyway an unlooked-for version of 'success.'



The Great American Think Off.

Yes, in a disciplined life, there are things to be on the lookout for, things that can create sorrow or uncertainty, things that can tighten the noose. In a disciplined effort, the eyes can narrow and skepticism can be aroused. Clinging is tricky and perhaps dangerous.

But lately I don't mind clinging so much. In fact, it's rather enjoyable. I wouldn't recommend it, but even as I wouldn't recommend it, I also wouldn't say it was somehow not commendable. It's just a bit of fun.

However much I might wish to be included in the winner's circle of the Great American Think Off and however much John and Heather might cling to some view of "marriage" and however much those parading might imagine their effect, still things never turn out that way exactly.

Isn't that a nifty surprise? And isn't that surprise more delicious than the expectations that preceded it?

Clinging. Clinging to not-clinging ... and still you get a surprise and it's better than a decoder ring in a box of cereal.

Why not enjoy yourself?

Enjoy ... your ... self.

Don't worry. It'll pass.

And isn't that the fun part?

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