Alan Watts – “The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”

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“God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars. In this way he has strange and wonderful adventures, some of which are terrible and frightening. But these are just like bad dreams, for when he wakes up they will disappear. “Now when God plays hide and pretends that he is you and I, he does it so well that it takes him a long time to remember where and how he hid himself. But that’s the whole fun of it—just what he wanted to do. He doesn’t want to find himself too quickly, for that would spoil the game. That is why it is so difficult for you and me to find out that we are God in disguise, pretending not to be himself. But when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self—the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.

….

“You may ask why God sometimes hides in the form of horrible people, or pretends to be people who suffer great disease and pain. Remember, first, that he isn’t really doing this to anyone but himself. Remember, too, that in almost all the stories you enjoy there have to be bad people as well as good people, for the thrill of the tale is to find out how the good people will get the better of the bad. It’s the same as when we play cards. At the beginning of the game we shuffle them all into a mess, which is like the bad things in the world, but the point of the game is to put the mess into good order, and the one who does it best is the winner. Then we shuffle the cards once more and play again, and so it goes with the world.”

The Dhammapada

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Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one’s mind, that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened.

….

Let a wise man blow off the impurities of his self, as a smith blows off the impurities of silver one by one, little by little, and from time to time.

Let no man think lightly of evil, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the fool becomes full of evil, even if he gather it little by little.

Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, It will not come nigh unto me. Even by the falling of water-drops a water-pot is filled; the wise man becomes full of good, even if he gather it little by little.

-The Dhammapada

What a gem this volume is! It’s a collection of sayings attributed to the Buddha, from the Theraveda tradition of Buddhism. It’s one of the least religious sutras I’ve read – it concentrates more of the philosophy of proper living in this world than theological matters.

Buddhism is a religion that recommends moderation in body, spirit, and mind, as well as detachment from emotions and day-to-day life. One goal of the Buddhism is to reduce suffering in this world, by promoting good deeds and a gentleness toward all living beings. The other aspects vary depending on which branch you’re studying, but another common goal is release from the cycle of reincarnation, the multiple rebirths experienced until a being has spiritually purified itself and obtained nirvana.

What I especially love about most forms of Buddhism is its focus on correct living in this world, rather than dogma. Gautama Buddha himself is generally not deified and is treated as a fellow traveler who could have released himself from the rebirth cycle but chose to teach and help others free themselves instead. Anyone can eventually become a buddha, with enough spiritual practice.

As someone who’s experienced chafing at Western religion, I adore the freedom of Buddhism’s flexibility on specific dogmas. I especially like that we’re all given endless chances to achieve heaven and cessation of being – there is no one great chance, instead we’re all fellow co-learners at different points of development…

There are many forms of Buddhism, and there are many deities-Mara, being the king of Hell, and others. For me, right now, I read it more these as a metaphor – a greedy person or addict who dies without is reborn as a hungry ghost in the hell realm to suffer eternal hunger.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested – you can read it as an ancient philosophy that ables to our modern world.

An Unexpected Eulogist

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Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints

As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer
Cause I’m in need of some restraint
So if you meet me, have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste

“Sympathy for the Devil”, Rolling Stones

“Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” outstretched wasted limbs,

his derelict tongue sounds syllables foreign to the land, and he

closes his eyes as the light dims

“Eli Eli lama sabachthani?”

Passive observation is my vice; I never hated the boy, uncanny

eyes like his mother, his father’s stubborn insistence was his sin.

I felt an uncle’s pride when he became a man and grew savvy

Savvy, but unwilling to compromise, to my chagrin

I met him armed with sweet words and brandy

Instead he chose the path of pain and eulogizing hymns

“Eli Eli lama sabachthani?”

I’m blaming this particular heresy on chronic lack of sleep and a persistent headache. The form is called a roundel, btw…

It has been a belief of mine for a long time that we all believe we are essentially good, but lately I kind of feel like everyone, including myself, is mostly an asshole.

*offered half ownership of a house, reacts by craving narcotics*

30 Days Sober

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Being alive is such a blessing.

 

Spring is beautiful, new life is blossoming, and I’m learning a new way to live. Sobriety this time is much easier, because I decided to open myself to healthy people and take suggestions. My whole life has been pretty isolatory and self-willed – I was raised to think no one really cared and never fit in or expected to as a child/teen, so learning how to be open and trusting as an adult is difficult. Starting and keeping conversations going is difficult for me with new people, but it’ll come with time.

I opened up about my life story with my sponsor last night and I’ve been completely exhausted since. Slept well, woke up still being tired. I wasn’t that long-winded, and I jumped around a lot, but that’s the most I’ve ever sat down and verbally told someone at once, especially someone I don’t know well. Honestly, I am just worn out and feel physically exhausted. From talking. I don’t get it either.

I’m so closed off that my best friend, who’s known me for over 13 years, just found out that I was homeschooled as a child last November. I wouldn’t say I’m secretive necessarily, I was taught not to talk about myself, that no one was really interested and it’s better to listen to the other person. I have a lot to work on.

I don’t expect to always be this contented or happy, but living in this moment is beautiful. Every time I’ve let something go in the last year, God has given me something better. Reading more about Buddhism is teaching me not to cling to what I think I want, and that all things in this world pass. Having accepted that, it’s much easier to deal with change and loss.

I’m also grateful to be re-working the steps. I switched from N.A. to A.A., and I’m not sure if this is a program difference or a difference between my sponsors, but my original working of the steps was primarily me filling out the stepworking guide and reading my responses to my sponsor.

In A.A., or with my new sponsor, there’s more of a structure – reading assignments, and much more discussion of the program. I feel like I’m going to get more out of doing the steps this way.

Week 5 Sobriety: I Let Go and I’ve Never Been Happier

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I am doing so much better than I was six weeks ago, in every way possible. Grateful. 🙂

Not much news besides that I finished the online poetry class and the online art class early, and I’m half done with the midterm paper for Buddhism and Modern Psychology. Hmmm, imagine that. ;p Everything else is chugging along nicely.

I signed up for more classes through Coursera that start (mostly) after my current ones are finished:

Intellectual Humility: Theory

Designing Your Own Personal Weight Loss Plan

Intro to Philosophy

Psychological First Aid

Tibetian Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World: Lesser Vehicle

 

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.

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“The Dhammapada”, Gautama Buddha

For about the past week, I’ve been blasting this first thing in the morning when I wake up; it’s been effective in attracting positive vibrations :):

Also this:

I’m a mystic man (such a mystic man)
I’m just a mystic man (mystic man)

I man don’t (I man don’t I man don’t)
I don’t drink no champagne (don’t drink no champagne)
No I don’t
And I man don’t (I man don’t) no (I man don’t)
I don’t sniff them cocaine (don’t sniff no cocaine)
Choke brain
I man don’t (I man don’t) no I don’t (I man don’t)
Don’t take them morphine (don’t take no morphine)
Dangerous
I man don’t (I man don’t I man don’t) I don’t take no
Heroin
(Don’t take no heroin) nonono

‘Cause I’m a man of the past
And I’m living in the present
And I’m walking in the future
Stepping in the future
Man of the past
And I’m living in the present
And I’m walking walking(stepping in the future)
And I’m just a mystic man (such a mystic man)
Got to be a mystic man (mystic man)

Unrelated, but beautiful traditional Indian dancing: