Friday, July 1, 2011

B-B gun syndrome

When I was a kid, I finally came into possession of my first B-B gun, a Red Ryder, lever-action rifle. It was a terrific feeling. And shooting it filled up endless hours of roaming the woods on Cape Cod, where I was at the time.

But once the rifle had become a part of my existence, once the bloom was off the excitement of at last owning what I had longed for, there was a new target of longing and satisfaction. Sometimes I could feel the gun getting low on B-B's. I would have to get more, but the store was far away and required my mother to drive me there, a thing she would not do simply based on my need for B-B's. So when I was low on ammo, I would husband my shooting -- hoping there would be enough to take me to the next resupply and resumed shooting pleasures. That truncation of my shooting made me extra happy when at last I could reload -- fill the rifle all the way to the top. THIS was the way things should be ... fully loaded, a bright future ahead and not a cloud in my mental sky. I was complete.

For the moment.

But what a good moment it was. Why wasn't every moment as at-peace and delighted as this? Why couldn't I always be so downright satisfied? Why was it that every successful satisfaction seemed to dwindle away and turn into some new chore or worry or effort? I wanted all of life to be like a full B-B gun.

And of course the B-B gun syndrome didn't end with B-B guns. Endlessly the satisfactions rise up and enfold. Endlessly, they drift away and are replaced. Again and again. Over and over.

Goddammit -- why COULDN'T life be like a full B-B gun!?

I suppose that's a question that Buddhists might want to tackle. :)

1 comment:

  1. Just like the full BB gun, when we cease to suffer ( by the myriad ways we do ) there is a sense of pleasure, and peace. Some people think that by practicing Buddhism we will be permanently relieved of suffering. It reminds me of the story of Job in the Bible. His suffering kept increasing and some of his friends said it was do to his lack of faith. The Christian Scientist also believe that they can heal broken bones without the aid of a physician.
    I have experienced life a little differently. Suffering is a constant part of living. We can make it worse by mental clinging, or make it better by ignoring it. But we will suffer. Accepting this fact actually puts suffering into perspective for me. Every sentient creature suffers. The BB's always run out if we keep shooting. :)