Saturday, June 28, 2008

here's hoping that i am one of little dust

from eat pray love, by liz gilbert
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...Most of humanity, he [Buddha] said, have eyes that are so caked shut with the dust of deception that they will never see the truth, no matter who tries to help them. A few others are so naturally clear-eyed and calm already that they need no instruction or assistance whatsoever. But then there are those whose eyes are just slightly caked with dust, and who might, with the help of the right master, be taught to see more clearly someday. The Buddha decided that he would become a teacher for the benefit of that minority--"for those of little dust."

I clearly hope that I am one of these mid-level dust-caked people, but I don't know. I only know that I have been driven to find inner peace with methods that might seem a bit drastic for the general populace...I don't know that I have much of a choice, though. I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many ways, and all these acquisitions and accomplishments--they run you down in the end. Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death. Time--when pursued like a bandit--will behave like one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping out the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you. At some point you have to stop because it won't. You have to admit you can't catch it. That you're not supposed to catch it. At some point...you gotta let go and sit still and allow contentment to come to you.

Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we drop this handle for even a moment, well--that would be the end of the universe. But try dropping it. This is the message that I'm getting. Sit quietly for now and cease your relentless participation. Watch what happens. The birds do not crash dead out of the sky in mid-flight, after all. The trees do not wither and die, the rivers do not run red with blood. Life continues to go on...

...I hear this argument and it appeals to me. I believe in it, intellectually. I really do. But then I wonder--with all my restless yearning, with all my hyped-up fervor and with this stupidly hungry nature of mine--what should I do with my energy, instead?

That answer arrives, too:

Look for God, suggests my Guru. Look for God like a man with his head on fire looks for water.

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