A young woman whose job it was to clean the hospital room not only told me she was taking a class in religions, but also brought in a copy of the Bhagavad Gita ... I'm not exactly sure why but I thought I could sense the excitement people sometimes feel when they allow themselves to spiral into new realms and questions: This fascinates me, ergo it is fascinating and must fascinate others.
It's a youthful approach and as bright as a new penny -- to find something to which to offer an attention and, for a while, almost addiction's worth of fascination.
This young woman -- late teens, early 20's? -- was trying to get her head around some sort of tolerance: Yes, there were Hindus. But there were also Buddhists and Christians and Jews and ... oh, my, the list was very long and being "open" to each was her mission.
So she studied. And in so doing, found outlines she could both enunciate and tolerate ... or, if she couldn't tolerate, at least she could do her best to look tolerant.
But when I asked her in one way or another if she had actually tried any of these tolerable religions on for size -- whether she had lowered herself into the Jacuzzi of experience and practice, whether she had felt the heat or chill -- well, she was not yet in the mood to tolerate that ... she was too busy becoming tolerant.
The young woman took me back to my own sweeping bits of understanding and hope and belief. How exciting! How confusing! How delicious! How wonderful to see the world in a new way and then mold it like clay ... with deep meaning, profound meaning, enfolding compassion, sharp brightness, etc., etc. It was damn near better than chocolate for me and, looking at this young woman's face, I think it may have been the same for her.
But lying in the hospital bed making idle conversation, I realized after a while that I had had enough of her delights. I didn't feel critical -- just out of social graces and somewhat feigned interest. I sort of hoped she might take a step off the cliff she had constructed for herself, but all that was really visible was the hand-rails of safety. It was all OK ... but I guess I just wasn't in the mood. Bouncing on some spiritual trampoline really was good exercise ...
Go ahead and exercise. Make strong muscles and shape a strong mind. Who knows when such things might come in handy ...
As for example when the hand-rails of this life can no longer bear your weight.