So I went to the buddhist temple last night for the first time in probably two years. After the meditation, this little old lady was walking out to her car. She asked me if I was Josh’s friend. When I said yes, she asked if I was a musician. I told her no. “Not even a bass player?”
I didn’t get a chance to finish yesterday’s post. It’s weird, it’s been so long since I’ve thought in these terms that I feel like my use of language is really rusty. So, to summarize: The Buddhist / Epicurean ‘Tend to your Garden’-ism is totally appealing. It’s seductive. It is, in fact, what I’m doing with my life right now. Ignoring the problems of the world at large and minimizing suffering by limiting the world’s access to your emotive core. See also: Silent Scorn, Suicide In Small Increments. Then there’s the Anger and Judgement Brigade, who in my mind have never managed to overcome Thich Nhat Hanh’s vicious skewering of them in Being Peace – that you cannot convincingly agitate for peace when you are so visibly consumed by hatred. Combine that with my resistance to being involved in some kind of Token Opposition, and I’e ended up in exactly the kind of Epicurean retreat that I don’t want to be in. I don’t seem to trust that my faith or my happiness will survive more than a casual encounter with the world at large. Which is a fucking ridiculous idea to have. Ed used to say to me that serenity was easy when you were catching aces and kings, but a long run of eights and twos would give you a chance to test your faith. That’s kind of where I see the limits of Epicureanism (who I’m really using as a kind of Straw Man here). I’m having a hard time keeping the threads of this though separate for any extended period of time, I think it’s been too long since I thought this way.
Writing this while watching the Tim Burton / Johnny Depp remake of Willy Wonka which is totally incredibly amazing. It’s Eve’s 7th birthday, so I’m hanging out with her for the morning while Elizabeth’s at work. Anyway, I’ve been talked to twice about being late to work. Which, I mean, fair enough, I’ve been late and I shouldn’t be. But when my boss is giving me the second talk, he brings up that when he was put on the 5AM shift, he made what he described as a lifestyle choice. And I’ve been thinking a lot about that. When he first said it, it made sense that I ought to do the same thing. However, it’s kind of been rattling around in my brain since, and I think I finally reached the lifestyle decision recently I didn’t move to Portland to sweat whether or not I was going to punch in a minute late or not. Anyway, Harry’s got me on this strict 30 day ‘you will hit that button at 8 exactly’ plan, with the idea that it makes no sense to give away leverage. So it’s weird, at the same time that I’m making the effort to clock in at the right time, I’m also realizing that this is totally not a job I am at all interested in keeping. So Sunday I went to KCC for the Meditation thing, and in the question and answer session afterward, something was brought up that’s been sticking with me ever since. The idea is that, if there were ever a time when got to pick what I was going to think, it would be in a quiet room, with my eyes closed, and my attention focused on my thought. But I don’t – I don’t get to pick what enters my train of thought. And it’s got me kind of jarred, in terms of where & what ‘self’ and ‘consciousness’ are. It’s weird, as much as I like the practice of meditation, the buddhist atheology just doesn’t appeal to me. It feel like it’s asking the right questions, but there don’t really seem to be any resolutions to the problems it raises. Plus, it doesn’t seem to have a sense of engagedness – it’s like the Epicurean idea of tending to your garden. This concept of managing pain by retreating form the world into these controlled environments is just anathema to my idea of a healthy life. I was talking with Andy (Pagan, Feminist, progressive as progressive can be) last night about how I think I’ve been resisting engagement with any kind of social/political justice because I doubt my ability to be engaged without joining the anger & judgement brigades.