Friday, May 1, 2009

surprise, surprise

Sometimes I find myself surprised that those interested in spiritual endeavor should be surprised. I too have been similarly surprised, but that doesn't stop me from being surprised by the surprise others can express. It's all probably a function of old-fart-dom.

What made me think of this was reading some discussion of the movement of Buddhism from west to east ... of the similarities between Buddhism and other spiritual endeavors it encountered in its travels. "Oh wow!" the comments seemed to say. "Will you look at the conclusions reached in other parts of the spiritual world! It's just like Buddhism!"

A line that always made my heart soar when I was into that sort of thing was this: "Truth is one, wise men call it by many names." That comes from the Vedas, I believe, but wherever it came from, it had a kind of nutshell warming feeling ... as if we might all break out singing, "It's a small world after all...." Cozy, consoling, healing, easing ... as if all the differences that were so noticeable and disturbing in the world could be healed by this one tender Band-Aid. Oneness is such a relief where all the distinctions and differences in spiritual endeavor seem to nag and natter. Ahhhhhhh.

What a surprise!

And yet these days, I can't help thinking somewhat unkindly, "What the hell did you expect!? Did you expect that a pink man and a brown man would reach different conclusions about being happy and at peace in this life? 'Oneness,' my ass!"

And while on that somewhat impatient frequency, I would like to ask if it is not just a matter of common sense. Look around -- look in the furthest reaches of this world: Are people unhappy or uncertain? Do they, as the Buddhists put it, suffer? I'm talking about people, not philosophies or religions. And if they do 'suffer,' don't they, wherever they live and whatever clothes they wear, create gods or world views that hope to assuage that 'suffering?' And having created their gods or world views, don't they exercise some diligence in plumbing the depths of the gods or world views they have created? Sure, some get stuck in their world views and are willing to make others suffer on behalf of their god-notions, but don't those who are more serious than solemn really dig in and dig deep? And having dug deep, well ....

How distinct or different can happiness and peace be? And what in heaven's name does it have to do with oneness? Use the brains between your ears.

If we go to a dance together, everyone dances. You dance your dance. I dance my dance. We dance together and alone and yet ...

Everywhere there is dancing.

And everyone laughs.

Is this surprising?

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