Sunday, July 13, 2014

People remind me sometimes of the precocious schoolboy Kolya from The Brothers Karamazov.  Smart, quick, a natural born leader.  He is engaged in schoolboy tricks and clever guises.  He's almost wise, sounding gifted beyond his years as far as any discussion.   He expresses an opinion, a sophisticated argument:  "Art is mental masturbation."  An interesting observation, no doubt.  But yet there is something missing, that needs to be brought out in him.  (In all of us, really, and this is not just Dostoevsky's point.)  Of course, Alyosha, the youngest brother, is the man for the job, and he takes the schoolboys as a group and educates them very subtly in a spiritual lesson.

And so are people, being precocious, impressed by unimpressive things.  Yes, pessimism is natural during the shaky times of a person's development.  Easy to lose faith, no doubt.  Easy to not believe in the higher aspect of love in its own form, easy to want to attend to all the practical things first, as if one could without a higher guidance.  I've felt hurt too, and took it out on myself by lacking faith in many a good thing about me, acting out, as it were.

And so we learn our lessons, learn to avoid the quick pleasure, the satisfaction even of making a buck, because that's not what it's all about.

Every day, some vigilance is required, for me to take the bike ride, to do the yoga, to walk to work, to avoid the easy pleasure.  And maybe, like the always say, maybe embarrassingly, is that a good spiritual practice comes through helping others.

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