Saturday, March 8, 2014
too old to be an adult
Tomorrow, I will be seventy-four and the five-year-old asks with breathless excitement, "So, what do you want for your birthday?" as if the magic wand were every bit as credible as it was when I was five. I'm too old to fight with five-year-olds, too old to pretend I'm 'adult.' So when the wish-factory kicks into action, OK ... knock yourself out.
I want ... I want ... I wish ... I wish .... What the hell -- why not?
When the question first arose a couple of days ago, there was a quick-draw laundry list: 1. I would like to see the ocean -- perhaps go on a whale watch -- just one more time. 2. I would like a digital camera with which I could take very-close-up photos of, perhaps, blades of grass or grains of sand 3. I would like the remainder of the mortgage (about $22,000) paid off so that the monthly payments didn't decimate the fixed income I currently live on.
But after the quick-hit answers asserted themselves, my mind settled back into more realistic set of gimmes: 1. I would like something good to eat for supper -- something I neither had to cook nor whose dishes I had to wash; 2. perhaps some flowers; 3. And I wouldn't say no to a good dirty joke or a piece of music that melted me.
Whether jumping up and down with excitement or more relaxed and wistful, they're just wishes, right? Spiritual aspirants can really get their knickers in a twist about attachment or gimmes or wishes, but I'm not sure I agree. Yes, attachment causes confusion and sorrow ... but it's just confusion and sorrow: Relax; have a little faith.
Currently, as I type, it's 8:55 a.m. Twenty four hours from now, it will be 9:55 as the clocks in the eastern United States revert to "standard time." Somehow, with the wave of a magic wand, an hour will be lost. Somehow, over the next 24 hours, an hour will be lost. Where did it go? And wherever it goes, will it be lonely ... will it feel ostracized like some five-year-old excluded from a game of dodge ball?
Because the hour is 'lost,' the sitting in the zendo tomorrow will be held an hour earlier than it might have been if it were held today. Habits of body and mind will grumble at the change, but will the zazen be any different from what the zazen is? Maybe so, I don't know. But not knowing how the zazen will be is like not knowing where the magically-deleted hour is or went. If not-knowing is known, how could it be counted as unknown?
Oh well, maybe that's my birthday present ... too old to be an adult.