Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finding Buddha at 72nd and Dodge

I'm going to break one of the cardinal rules of conversation and bring up religion in this post. So, you can stop reading now if you don't want to hear me blab on about it. Really, I won't be offended. Promise.

I finished reading Eat Prey Love last week. I am astounded by that book. It's the first time I've ever read about religion and not wanted to roll my eyes at it. I have been compelled beyond reason to start reading about about Eastern religion. So, I'm following that instinct and starting with Buddhism. The obvious choice, right?

I'd like to interrupt my own line of thoughts here to say a few things:

1. I am not religious but I do think that we're all involved in some sort of intertwined spiritual journey on this planet. We all push and pull together, connected as one humanity. I think that much is clear to me.

2. But as far as organized religion goes, I do not have one that I call my own.

3. I believe in everyone's right to choose a religious/spiritual path that takes them further down their own road of divinity, so long as it doesn't bring harm or negativity to others (i.e. blowing up a building in the name of God).

4. We're all where we are meant to be, at exactly the time we're meant to be there. It would be impossible for us to be anywhere else. If we were meant to be somewhere else, then wouldn't we already be there? We all have a choice between turning left or right. If I choose to turn left, then I was meant to turn left - otherwise I would have turned right.

Moving on...

That compulsion I mentioned earlier brought me to Border's on Saturday where I think Buddha spoke to me. Well, compulsion and a 40% coupon in my email inbox. Otherwise, I would have been home on and Buddha wouldn't have had a chance. I was looking at some books and I picked up one titled What Would Buddha Do? and I opened right up to a page titled, "What Would Buddha Do When A Loved One Dies?"

How. Freaking. Bizarre. Of course I read the page.

It said:

Not through weeping and grief do we obtain peace of mind. We increase misery; we increase misery; we harm our bodies. We become thin and pale, destroying ourselves by our own power:

Sutta Nipata 584

There are times when we must weep if we are to remain human, when our feelings demand expression, whether that expression brings embarrassment or tears to those who watch. Buddha knew this; this is not what he counsels against here. When a life ends we do need to mourn. But once we have faced and expressed our grief, we have to let it go.

This is the rub, because we hold on to grief. We hold on to it as held on to the one whose loss prompts the grief. This holding drains us and prevents our directing that energy towards someone new. We remain attached to those we love.

How he longs for permanence! But he won’t find any; nor will we. Yet if his tears will not bring back his child, may be his verse will return him and us to an awareness of how things really are. His grief, even this will pass away.

**Just a note, I copied that from somewhere online so it might not be exactly right**

It's amazing how that happens sometimes, isn't it? On a physical level, my grief is pretty well managed. But mentally I can't get around it. I just don't understand the point behind taking away a life that hasn't even had a chance to begin yet. I know on some level that there is meaning behind it but I don't think it's in our nature as human beings to accept the meaning of death. We as a species have a faulty amount of love and compassion running through us. We don't want our loved ones to suffer, so when they do suffer we wrestle the universe for meaning behind it. But I don't think it's really ours to understand.

I just wish I could understand that.

Was I really spoken to by a religious master while sitting on the floor of a Border's? Doubtful. But was it enough to make me pay attention for probably the first time in my life? Yes. Apparently, I was meant to pick up that book and turn to that page, because I did and I did.

And if you're still reading and haven't given up on me as a kook, I'll leave you with a Beatles quote. Because it's my blog and I can.

There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
Nothing you can see that isn't shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be.
It's easy.
All you need is love...

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