Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sitting


I just recently realized that I’m sitting under the same metaphorical tree that the Buddha did when he  became enlightened, (well not exactly the same tree, but since I used metaphorical as a modifier it kind of gives me a little freedom here – it’s not hubris if you explain yourself well, at least that’s what I tell myself to help me sleep at night.) It’s amazing how often I miss the obvious, it's almost like the missing is part of a plan.

(I spent months when I was younger living out a life episode and thinking that I was the only person who had ever been on a stage playing the role of myself. I then read a book by John Updike a few years later and realized it was a common theme that everyone but me knew about. And, to my horror, the book was a sequel to some other stuff I went through earlier in my life– a lot of words roughly about the way I felt. (Even later – they made movies based on the books, which just seemed a cruel joke to me at that point.))

Maybe the “me and the Buddha” similarity thing is more analogical than metaphorical. Like the Buddha, I’ve decided to sit under a tree until the cows come home, or the chickens roost. Evidentially I’m not moving until I get a few answers.

Well, I’m not really much like the Buddha; I get up and walk around when I feel like it. In many ways I’m more like the fat Buddha, less of the noble truth and more middle way stuff.

Maybe I’m not even sitting under a tree -- I’m sitting in a garret located high up in a building, but just located on the wrong side of the river. A place where men buy their smokes individually from behind barred counters, and women wear pajamas all the time for no good reason. A strange place full of insulated double paned windows and a strong lock -- things that bind me to my sitting fetish through the fear of allowing any outside to come in.

Really, a man could sit anywhere and wait, so maybe that’s where I am – gazing out an open widow and listening to reflected sounds as they drift up to me from the 12 concrete Spanish Steps that lie below me.

I’m not sitting so much as outlasting the bastards. I’ve done this before, but never with the knowing of the why, and without that, it always seemed it to go south on me – it’s like holding a big fish in your arms for too long on a hot day when you have no clue if it’s edible, and every minute that passes make a friendship with it less possible.

At some point, the distractions and desires that both clothe and fuel life will throw in the towel out of boredom, if I just sit and wait, and then I’ll get down to pealing off the skin of things to see what’s underneath.

I think that underneath all the crap of life there is something real. It’s not the feeling that comes from a Christmas morning or even the “small death” of sex – It’s ecstasy in its original meaning – standing beside ones self. This is the selflessness of the Buddha, and a worthy goal for all.

Of course, there might be nothing there, but that’s way too French for me, and I’m counting on at least some self structured foam to still be hanging around to guide me.

Though I must say, it sometimes feels like I’m digging through a pile of shit looking for a pony, or, maybe, it’s more like the search for the mythical perfect man the women I’ve dated have always alluded to.

I’ve known the secret of life is for most people and I’ve known it a long time; it’s just not a secret that works for me, maybe because it’s too obvious:

“Help other people, always and in all ways.”

When you help others, you step outside yourself; you get the thing that I say I’m looking for the small price of giving all your self away. It worked for Mother Theresa, and that woman is a saint.

This “helping others” thing doesn’t work for me yet, though I suspect that in the long run it’s where I will end up after the Buddha thing fizzles out -- much like Dorothy ended up in Kansas after two and a half hours of the Oz thing.



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