Sunday, September 9, 2012

life (con't)

Skipping around in my mind like a couple of kids on a playground -- just having fun with no discernible or necessary objective ....

-- It would behoove those who interest themselves in spiritual endeavors to recognize that, like pearl necklaces and cuff links, religion is a luxury item. My Zen teacher's teacher once asked a student, "Which is more important -- to sit [in meditation] or to shit?" And he answered his own question: "Shitting is more important." I think it's interesting to note that he didn't ask if there were a difference between the two.

-- I'm a story guy -- someone who wallows and frolics and grows absorbed and as often as not hides within the tales that seem to spring up like dandelions in the backyard. Stories stand at one remove from life, but since standing at one remove is often what anyone does best, it's no good pretending that stories are somehow secondary or less worthy. The only way to stop standing at one remove is to stand at one remove ... or anyway that's what I might argue over beer and chips.

And an interesting thing about so-called stories is their segmented quality: This story is different from that story; good stories are separate from bad stories; warming stories are distinct from stories that chill the heart; inspiring stories are not depressing stories and vice versa. Stories are separate and separated in the mind. Your stories are yours and mine are mine and both of us partition them within our own minds... a trip abroad, a trip to the supermarket, a piece of music, a piece of dog shit ... twinkle, twinkle ... partitioned and distinct.

And what anyone does with the stories underscores other partitions. The needling T-shirt asserts, "You are unique ... just like everyone else." And the refrigerator magnet offers succor: "Your life is so difficult that it has never been tried before." A very separate story, one to the next, you to me, me to you ... carefully partitioned as a means of finding meaning and being in control. Each story, each dandelion in the backyard, each story is wondrously unique, no doubt about it.

But I think life really does get a lot lighter, a lot less freighted, a lot less secretive and painful with the recognition (never mind any fortune-cookie spiritual-realization shit) that there is only one story. This is not some intellectual or emotional eyewash... some paean to oneness or lack of separation. It's just the way things are -- one story, and no one can tell it because everyone is already telling it. If I had to put a title on it, perhaps it would be "Life (con't)"

Where there is (so to speak) only one story, what stood partitioned and secretive and self-serving or self-destructive loses its oomph. Things are easier and there is less fear of criticism within or without. Mistakes are just mistakes ... so do what you can to correct them. Successes are just successes ... so enjoy them. Stop nagging about something as preposterous as "oneness" or "separation," "heaven" and "hell," "birth" and "death."

I dunno. This is hard to explain ... possibly because explanations always fall on their faces. But in the same way I am a story guy, I am also a guy who likes finding ways to make things easier, less weighty, and less of a pain in the ass.

Making life easier.

How's that for a joke?

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