Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I feel the sweet gentle melancholy as I wake after the night of work that had the glass of wine at the end of it, Tuesday night wine tasting by myself, and a chimerical busser, at The Dying Gaul.  I was pretty entertaining all night, to just about every party that came in the wine bar upstairs there.  I didn't have that much, as I ate a piece of grilled salmon with broccoli mousse, cleaning up at the end of it all, before walking home under a clear sky and a bright moon.  Enough, after two days off from wine, to begin to feel the burn deep in my gorge, more sensitive witness to the self-destructive, but it wasn't a lot.  I got home, and fell asleep without staying up 'til dawn and bird singing, but then woke very early, three hours in, then again, and then later I got up.  But you feel the adrenaline kick in the first waking.

I finally had the sensation, reflecting on the previous few nights of dreaming, that the world we live in, that seems so real, that it too is a dream.  But today I don't remember any dreams.  I do the dishes from yesterday and drink my tea, put brown rice into the cooker.

It is this Buddhist stuff that has helped me, happily, in an authentic good mood, to face work the last few days.  That there are, or once were, monks, and communities of them, monasteries, makes me happy.  That there is a rich and full philosophy, and many hues of the spectrum of practicing spiritual energy, comes as very pleasing.  And one piece of it leads to the understanding of another, and I come across the Buddha's law of dependent origination.  The flame cannot burn without the wick, without the candle.  A worthy subject to read up on, but to summarize the obvious, we wouldn't be here, alive, burning, without having done something in a previous life to be here.  We cannot deny responsibility and simply disappear from this existence, nihilistically, nor can we say there is an eternal immutable self that goes on forever, positivistically.  Always, the middle path, toward understanding.  And so it seems, first and foremost, we must acknowledge some guilt, some imperfect understanding, that led us here, and that's just a plain fact.  The good news is, we can wake from that ignorance, and do the best we can this existence, for that will help us along the ultimate path to enlightenment.  And this is empowering, and helps us see when we sin, and then, gentled, we can find again, the love supreme, which even we sinners are worthy of.

Then we can take a step back from the world, and see better what its issues are.  We can see that we are dangerously corroborating with the Chinese in our nationalist materialism, treason to the true cleric and the spirit of deep education and wisdom.  We can see that we have a similar guilt, pushing the human soul into sweat shop factories, and who knows, one day maybe it will be us, toiling there under a police state that knows our every move, the natural world drilled and bulldozed into a vast spread of smoke stacks, human storage units, trains to take us back and forth.

Or, we can see the larger issues of why we are here and where we are and what we share.

In Buddhist-minded retrospective, I look back with some approval and what in poorer understanding seemed to have 'bothered me' enough to write a book about it, the inherently conflicted reality of attraction and desire.   It is with some sense of a student's joy of learning something that I look back on the main character of A Hero For Our Time and see for a moment that his impulses came out of a deeper understanding.

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