Lately, because this blog was mentioned in a Buddhist forum, there has been an uptick in traffic. I can tell because there is a gizmo that allows me to see the number of page views and the sources from which they emanate. It's pretty nifty... an ego-stroke I suppose. Small potatoes, perhaps, but still....
A friend who likewise noted my latter-day, elevated, and attention-getting status wrote this morning, "Celebrity status, eh?"
And his tongue-in-cheek observation took me back to an earlier time, a time when I was just getting my footing in the spiritual adventure, a time when teachers and temples and texts produced a severe case of the wowsers. I was, as I look back on it now, on a CEO-spiritual-life bender, one that longed to have the corner office inhabited by those with credentials and robes and wise lectures and ... and ... and were just too wonderful for words. I wanted to be a monk or some other person who, at that present time, seemed extraordinary and beloved. I wanted to be beloved too. I wanted to receive with serene demeanor the applause I was willing to give. All of this was sometimes subtle and sometimes gross, but there was no denying it was there.
Celebrity status: If I had that, then of course it would be true and of course I would be at peace and of course I would be enlightened and ... well, the wet-dream laundry list was pretty long.
But these days I find a mirror image fear of that long-ago bit of wet-dreaming. Get the fuck away from me! I don't want you to agree with me -- that would be idiotic!
So then I am forced to reflect. If I write in a public setting with words that are meant for social discourse, what is it that I am after? And what comes to mind is this:
I write because writing is what I do. Good, bad or indifferent, it is an old habit -- one that I am unlikely to break in this lifetime. It's serious, it's silly, it's spiritually-oriented, it's a good dirty joke ... but whatever it is, it is what I do.
But doesn't that writing have a wish woven within it? Isn't there some well- or badly-expressed hope involved? Isn't there a hope that someone will listen or perhaps agree ... and from there lead upwards to some corner office from which to pontificate and write some more and receive more applause? How does any of this differ from anyone else's longing for celebrity status? Well, perhaps not a lot and to the extent that that element is involved, I apologize. Celebrity status doesn't work well in any field of endeavor: It throws up a dust storm in which everyone is blinded.
But I do have a hope and I might as well admit it. I hope to say something that will set off a train of thought in someone else's mind and that train of thought or attentiveness will lead them to their own sensible conclusions. Why? Because when you're happy, I get to be happy too ... and I like being happy. And it's not as if I rely on your happiness for my own ... it's just the way things seem to work.
Agreement and disagreement are celebrity attributes.
Happiness and peace are for everyone.