Thursday, February 21, 2013

rest stop

To stop...
To rest...
To nest...
To be assured...
To believe...

It's no good railing, sez I to me, against such ordinary things or suggest that whatever the topic or beloved home, there is always something beyond the boundaries so carefully constructed. The walls that defend against unwanted incursion mean, in their own being, that what defends against invaders is just an invitation to invasion. It's like putting your head in a noose in order to avoid getting hanged.

Siddhartha's father built his son a finely-appointed palace in hopes his son might become a great king. There were mighty walls and pleasures aplenty. And the kid left town.

In Texas, an English teacher reportedly refused to grade two of his students' compositions because, even after he invited the kids to write about anything they liked, these two chose to write about gun-themed topics. After a tornado of rebuke, the teacher backed down.

OK, I can do the social outrage as well as the next fellow: What?! -- freedom of expression and imagination have borders imposed from without?! Fuck that!

But what interests me more is my own time-tested ability to be the Texas teacher I am horrified by... to find some glorified or inglorious mind set and then hunker down in the assumed and protective warmth. What are words if not a palace or a well-protected belief system?

And what interests me is not whether I can describe it all, however ineptly. What interests me is not so much the critique. What interests me is whether such finely-feathered nests actually work. Not "are they morally or ethically sub-par," but do they provide the protection and safety and relief promised? Are they the home that anyone might actually seek?

I doubt it, but that doesn't mean the practice is not common, human and, in some cases, touted as humane.

It's about at this point that Buddhists will segue into a discussion about "attachment." Well-mortared and self-defeating walls of comfort are nothing but the attachment I can and have and do apply. It's not the boundaries themselves that don't work, it's the credit I give them for working.

"Attachment" is as good a word as any to depict the scene. I have been, and to some extent probably continue to be, attached to it. But the question remains: Does it work?

As far as I can figure it, every moment is nothing but an occasion for action ... some action ... any action ... breathing, walking, sitting, thinking, feeling, praising, blaming, extolling, denigrating. It's not something anyone could escape. Moment is action, action is moment. No big deal. And every action offers the opportunity to create a palace, a resting place, a safe place, a holy place, a hellish place. Maybe the place is a wondrous palace. Maybe the place is a comforting belief system. Maybe a Texas teacher will refuse to grade papers on an uh-oh topic.

Moment after moment, action after action....

Siddhartha's dad may have been a well-intentioned fellow. The Texas teacher may have been a well-intentioned fellow. I may be a well-intentioned fellow. But when those intentions simply don't fill the bill -- when they refuse to supply the peace requested, when they simply don't work -- well, then maybe it's time to seek out another approach ... something along the lines of "who, precisely, is the king of this castle, this safe and believable haven ... who's the proprietor of this lash-up?"

Grammatically speaking, "heaven" is not a noun. "Hell" is not a noun. "Heaven" and "hell" are verbs... just like the nouns "peace" and "relief" and "safety" and "belief."

This is the nature of action/moments.

Or anyway, that's what I say at the moment.

Attachment to attachment is just another attachment ...

Or it was a moment ago.

Nouns are just verbs waiting, so to speak, patiently.

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