So we see, vis a vis, Emily Dickinson's poem on the loaded gun in corners, vis a vis a job tending bar for twenty five years, that people pleasing is different from pleasing the deep master of ultimate reality, 'the Owner' of her poem. One looks for calm to know the difference.
Stuck in a the family vacation, between the wishes and claims of two factions, why please B, asks A. Well, this whole thing is not much about me doing what I want to be doing, so what real difference does it make anyway whether I take mom with sunburned feet into town or sit or the beach? Indeed, the Buddha sees no difference, that to see the difference is to live in the misery of samsara with all its tempting devils, when all, ultimately is the same.
You go out, to be social, with a neighborly friend, dinner, a glass of wine, and then slowly comes out the projection of your friend's particular issues on yourself. You sit, nod, take a sip from your glass, and quietly feel disturbed. Patience.
How to be your own master? How to break into the open? Cut off the regulars as soon as they begin to get loud and silly. "One is never enough, is it?" I know, believe me.
Buddha, sitting under the tree, tempted by Mara and his army of demons, asking Buddha, as a last resort really, what right had he to the space he sits on, touches the earth, and the earth responds as his witness.
The precious instrument of the clear mind.
When you have meditated enough, you find it's true, that beyond the experience, the sensation of breathing, there is no fixed self, no real I separate from everything else. This is something you must find out on your own, directly, through meditation. Maybe it doesn't hurt to have puzzled over the human condition and gone through all the weary illusions, seeking safety, comfort, sanity, a break from fear, in all other things. No more pleasure sought in conventional ways, for what is pleasure.
When you come to see the light of Buddha then the codependent situations become that much clearer to you. You are no longer participating, no longer jumping at the usual instigations, the usual calling peace into question. You are no longer going along, doing things that hurt you, whereas before you thought of doing so as good will. What you took as stupidity and foolishness all along, you know better to hear your voice saying so.
I can see that writers, like a lot of the economy, are in a codependent situation. They have to feed something in order to be popular, and to do this act, they have to dumb themselves down often enough, so that they too can have their cars, vacation homes, whiskey, nice clothes, etc. So what do they write about? Not the truth of no-self, but cars, vacation homes, whiskey, nice clothes, people stuck in codependent situations. Who calls the tune? That is hard to figure. When did the novel itself become a material possession, an enabler of the illusions of life, a rehearsal for silly things? The ego crept in to reality and suggested that boring plain old life wasn't good enough, that it had to be dressed up with great conflict and ever-present and mounting tensions, a narrative arch that kept one on the edge of the seat. The novel had to do false things, its practitioners felt. It had to sell to be worthwhile. It had to be good by certain standards.
Zen must have come about because of a tendency for posing and posturing in their Buddhist practices...