I have this HUGE book of photographs and sayings (I have no idea where it came from), all Zen like and Buddhist. I went through it last night, trying to find a quote I could post but instead I just a wrote all over the pages. The photographs are beautiful…monks, a goat, a dirty child in a hut with a beautiful smile, a snow covered mountain, prayer flags…well, you get the idea. And all of the sayings were so outrageously insane that I had to write on almost every page I read. So many of them contradict themselves…so many are impossible to understand, in the modern world, so many of them are just silly and inane. Seriously, they may work for the ten people who live in tents or huts and have a goat but they do NOT work for those of us who live in Chicago, New York or any other modern-day city, that’s for sure. And these authors constantly say negative things…sometimes in a way that people may think are positive but they are not. They dish out guilt, and impossible goals.
One of the things I find most amusing is that they constantly bash yearning, wanting and desiring but they also talk about how we should constantly STRIVE to reach some impossible goal. Striving and yearning are pretty much the same thing. They are both paths to an ending that is DESIRED. The person who wants has a goal and the person who strives has a goal, and that goal is… TO NOT WANT, but the person is striving/wanting to not want THE VERY THING HE IS DOING. You can pretend that it means something different but it doesn’t.
According to the many authors (most of whom you know and are quite familiar with) emotions are poison and need to be MASTERED. I just cracked up. Mastered? That word has so many negative connotations (controlled). And really, we came here to play in our emotions and maybe to control them but they are not EVIL or something to be MASTERED or conquered. Almost every page in this THICK book had something to say about giving up things, working on things, STRIVING EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, controlling yourself. Basically they are saying that every minute you are alive you need to be working on controlling the beast inside you. No, sorry, that really doesn’t work for me. The people in the photographs wouldn’t last ten minutes in Chicago. They would be stunned by the stimulation and probably robbed of their bowl if they sat still too long. They would be homeless people and horrible things would happen to them. It’s one thing to live with ten other people on a desolate mountain but it’s entirely different to live in my reality. I wouldn’t last five seconds where those people live because I would kill myself before I froze to death. I have no desire to EVER go to a place off the beaten track…not ever, for any reason. I’m happy that I have THINGS, and, by the way, the people who wrote this book have publishers, printers, time to write, food, a place to live, royalties, seminars, workshops and books and articles that they constantly publish. None of them live with the one monk and the goat. Not one of them lives without a bathroom or running water. None of them are dirty or poor. The authors fly, drive and might even work out on an expensive piece of equipment, to stay fit. They take vacations and buy things. Yes…THEY BUY THINGS. And they ALL MAKE MONEY BY TELLING PEOPLE WHAT NOT TO DO AND HOW TO BE AND HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES. If you PAY them they will tell you in a more personal way. They are USING poor people to make them look happy and free when, in fact, they may be happy but their life expectancy must be short and I doubt that they have medical care, dental care or any creature comforts. This is just one more ILLUSION. These RICH authors exploit people using bits of “WISDOM’ that doesn’t make sense and is impossible to live up to, if you live ANYWHERE NEAR OTHER PEOPLE. “…do not engage in frivolous conversation.” Why not? Can’t have fun? Get rid of passion (that’s where creativity comes from, I believe), STRIVE toward wisdom. Whose wisdom? Lots of talk about the “TRUE MIND.” No one knows what a “true mind is.” Everyone born into a body has been programmed by being human. We don’t have the faintest idea what a TRUE MIND is, so how would we recognize it, IF it even exits. Just one more impossible task. So many words and people that/who pretend to KNOW things that are IMPOSSIBLE to know. TRULY IMPOSSIBLE. I had to stop looking through the book. It was so ridiculous.
And, the part that I like best…if you fail to live up to the things the book tells you to STRIVE for, it’s always going to be your own fault. You did it wrong, didn’t try hard enough, not worthy, flawed in some way…they never tell you they made the stuff up or the people a million years ago, who lived in a world with seventeen people made it up. Or Buddha, who deserted his wife and children to sit under a bodhi tree made it up. They act and pretend as if it’s all real and well, it’s not. It’s a bunch of ideas that aren’t yours.
I think we should spend our lives living, not trying to get rid of what we are…we are our emotions and we are meant to be silly and frivolous and we are meant to WANT stuff and that’s okay. Sure, we need to control ourselves but that’s not how we should spend our entire lives. Watching EVERY word we say, not moving until we are sure we have the right attitude to take a step. OMG. LIVING BY MORE RULES SOMEONE ELSE MADE UP. Right speaking, seeing, etc. I want to be a gentle, loving, fun, curious and happy being and that’s my path. I like my anger when it’s appropriate…it’s stops me from being a doormat and it protects other people some of the time. Be kind, be considerate and DON’T HURT THINGS. Those are the rules. The people who write these books are rich…they are making money from people’s desire to be okay and, isn’t it funny that if we are not supposed to want anything, why would anyone WANT or buy their books? According to what they SAY, a bowl and a goat should be enough. Hey, I’m just sayin’.