Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Shades of Blue

I find it hard to reach the people of this land.
Probably why I left in the first place.
But I think I'm starting to understand.
It's only shades of blue.

They say they've got it all down pat.
Tell me life's just fine, after wine and beer.
But they still cry and simplify all that.
And now I see, it's shades of blue.

You don't believe the things I see.
You call me blind, I don't mind at all.
Because there's nothing here for me.
No more shades, no more shades of blue.

The ferris wheel goes round and round.
You say you've learned your lesson, why do you ride?
I'm here waiting on the ground.
No more whirling round in shades of blue.

Well, maybe a good thing I didn't try my luck as a poet. Anyway, they still die. My father's old friend, a poet, died yesterday. So, that's that.

I had some thoughts about happiness. Many people I've met in my travel have very strong opinions about ordinary life. Like that it is happiness. Makes it hard for them to see the need to meditate. There has to be a sickness to want a cure, no? One could easily start off by saying no, wrong - ordinary life is, in fact, not happiness, but that's hard to see. I thought instead to first talk about some of the indications of a happy person.

A happy person doesn't always have to be happy, but I think they should never have to suffer. Either calm or happy all the time. Well, many people seem to be just that, no? They've got their music and their food and their television and their friends &c and they seem to be either happy or calm all the time. But consider from a monk's point of view, living a life boasting very little in the way of such amenities, where even friends are rare and scattered. I've experienced poverty; complete poverty, within and without. No candy for the body, no candy for the mind. From this point of view, it seems hasty to praise a life of complacent indulgence, because, though I've come to be quite happy in my poverty, through what has slowly become years of working through my addictions to such things, I think I could certainly not say the same of the average indulgent. Kicked out of the nest, the silver spoon taken out of the mouth, then what? Happiness, still?

But, you say, my straw man, "I've no reason to leave behind all of the things which make me happy. My reply is only, "not sure, not sure." You may leave it all behind tomorrow, in favour of a hospital bed and runny applesauce food. Life is uncertain, catastrophe comes like a Tsunami, whose little warning is not oft heeded. But we don't have to wander even so far from what our minds can manifest, and this is where I return to ordinary life: we suffer in our happiness. Our happy lives, not so in fact! The morning comes with aching head, the sickness by and by. The arguments and tantrums, the neighbours down the street. Our happy friend may say he's so, but truth may tell another tale! His private life, his daily life, does he even see his own dismal stare, his grim-set jaw? So many demons haunting him, or her or it (even the animals!); haunted, by their own private demons. I even find myself, evinced by posts gone by, fitting in the shoe - MONK BRINGS STRESS TO ORDINARY PEOPLE. The headlines in their furrowed brows.

How we need it, this meditation thing. I'm not a special person, but I've seen so many people twisting, turning in their heads on the meditation mat, trying to find a way to make applesauce out of lemons. They later put lemon juice in the sauce, just for taste, but that's another matter. I've seen people who could be so happy, if only they could their happy lives give up. No more drugs, no more drugs - even our bodies producing drugs. Such happiness lies in peaceful sobriety; no happiness I've seen elsewhere!

Enough for today. I think I thought I was a poet. Here's the Buddha:

For every desire that is let go,
a happiness is won;
He who would all happiness have,
must with all lust be done.

-- The Bodhisatta (Jataka)

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