Posted by: John | February 20, 2014

Reality, Ritual, Resignation

I’ve often wondered about the value of a hermit existence. Is it of value to anyone other than the hermit?

We live in stressful times. Driving anywhere is more than challenging. Then I read some tome or parable that’s supposed to relax and pick me up or maybe is designed to discipline me.

At this point in my humble existence I’m not sure I need some Old Testament prophet shouting and pointing his finger at me. Neither do I need an obscure guru in a cave in Nepal speaking to me after I just got off the freeway and am trying to deal with those above me telling me how to do something I’ve been doing all my life.

Who does the software in the Halls of Shambhala? Who does the Dalai Lama’s laundry?

Yes, it certainly makes sense to be reminded to “live and be in the moment.” But chanting a mantra while blowing a teaspoon full of allergy-snot out of my nose for the fourth time in the last three hours is puzzling to me.

Certainly being alone in nature, whether viewing it from a window or sitting in the shade on a beautiful Indian summer day, makes me feel a part of something bigger and better than all of humanity. Then reality reappears. I open the latest bill or get a traffic ticket on the way home.

We pity the poor drug addict, getting high to escape reality. What about going to religious services and singing or chanting or repeating a mantra while a relative is dying in a hospital or you’re sweating out the latest round of layoffs at your work?

Yea verily, I do believe that rather than wallowing in self-pity, I should find someone in worse shape than me and do whatever I can do for that person. Does this satisfy me? Should it?

I’ve long sought serenity over the sine wave of happiness and sadness. I do remember being stuck in traffic and suddenly seeing the sun peep out from behind a cloud. God?

My search for God has brought me to a point where I want My God, not someone else’s idea of God, certainly not someone else’s dogma. I’m told to concentrate on my breathing. But here comes that teaspoon full of snot again.

Since I’ve lost most of my hearing, I’ve also had to rearrange my existence. I realize better than most that 85% of what we hear is of little importance. Often when I get up in the morning I ask myself, do I really want to put my hearing aid in? Do I want to start listening to the noise of the world again? But alas, reality rears its head. I know I have a class to teach, some phone calls to make.

Do we have an obligation to live life rather than retreat to a safe place somewhere if we can find one? Do we go with the flow, roll with punches, crumble with the cookie?

Is reality only in our mind?
What is there for us to find?
Is the seeker always blind?
Can we just always be kind?

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