Taking a step today that scares me. Going to become an “Initiate” Buddhist at a morning ceremony. Do a prostration, touch my forehead to the floor and recognize a Power greater than myself.
That’ll be the easy part. Saw enough Catholic priests drop to the church floor during a 40-hour service that I’m used to seeing American Buddhist ladies and gentlemen do the ritual at the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia.
It’s “detaching” that’s got me worried. May have too many “attachments.” Writing this Blog is one of them. Don’t want to stop. Hope I don’t have to. I mean, really “write.” Not just “puff” pieces that talk of Love and make you feel good. Those are needed. Desperately needed in these tough times.
But the hard-hitting ones, stories where I bear my soul and confess of something crazy I did in my youth (maybe even last week) in the hopes of seeking some therapy, or more importantly, to connect with some “lost soul” who experienced a similar off-the-wall experience. For him or her to know they’re not alone.
I don’t want someone to get so offended they condemn me with the words: “. . . and you call yourself a Buddhist.” Don’t want to smear the Buddhist practice with my screw-ups.
Damn it. I want to curse. Not all the time, but when it’s called for. Also, I like to drink my red wine, and I thank God he permitted His only Begotten Son to use wine in his first miracle, as well as blessing it in his last official act at the Last Supper. Want to sip it now and again.
Don’t want to give up my passion. Want to let my feelings flow through words and ideas. Let me speak unmuzzled with a clear conscious full of love and compassion but without any Buddha mumbo-jumbo you might find in some of the 84,000 teachings of Buddhism.
I felt this only once before. When I was drafted into the Army. Could not see the future and felt a change “was gonna come,” to paraphrase the old Sam Cooke song. I sold most, if not all of my record collection. All my 45s. Many of the LPs. Gave up my “attachment” to music and singing. Could see just so far and that was to a place called Vietnam.
I’m ready to take this step. I’ve already “let go” some things to get here. Other things may become less important as my time on this path continues.
Take a deep breath, Michael J. Close your eyes. Now, arise and forward march . . .
It’s amazing to look back on something you wrote years earlier. I can’t believe how much trepidation there was.
I guess walking the path that has not been tried in the pond by too many of my friends is always a frightening venture. I have no one I can seek good advice from, no one from whom I you can share my fears with.
Yes, I took the step. And then another and another.
I tried to become the man I always wanted to be but had too many more so-called important things to do.
It’s funny. I continue to drink red wine. I curse. I believe in God. I just do it with a lot more loving compassion.
While letting go and becoming detached from the external world are important aspects of our spiritual journey I think it is very important to do these things because we want to not because they fit the rules of a particular belief system. For me practicing detachment does not mean I have to give up something I enjoy it just means to me that if for some reason tomorrow it was gone it would not impact who I am because I am not defined by those things around me. For example, I drive a very nice SUV which is very comfortable and serves me well in many ways, however if I had to lose that tomorrow I would be no less of me, it would not impact who I am or what I believe because while I enjoy it I am not attached to it.
I weary of labels because when we don a label we often believe that we have to act a certain way or say certain things otherwise we might break a rule and be deemed bad. The road to enlightenment for me is not about what is good or bad, it is not about what is right or wrong, it is not about fitting myself into a set of rules that somehow will bring me closer to enlightenment. As a matter of fact I believe rules in the sense that we are talking actually would stifle my enlightenment and possibly retard my path of enlightenment.
Note, I honor and bless whatever path you choose and I am in no way saying that what you are doing is right or wrong. I am simply offering you my perspective with respect and love to you.
Breathe and let go because that is what your soul desires.
I’ll give up wine to commemorate the Buddha’s birth on the full moon come Thursday. (Heck, I hope to do the whole 8 precept-thing giving up sex, meat, theivery and murder, just to name a few of the “will have nots” I’ll put aside on May 27).
You’re right. If the attachment becomes a distraction or a hindrance to a higher path, then I should be more concerned. Just won’t let any of it “define” me, even if its something like referring to myself as a “writer” of a Blog. (Now, that is a big one. Could not go 12 hours without having to open my big mouth, or in this case, my fidgety-firing fingers, to get a point across. I like thinking of my self as a writer. Don’t you?)
Ahhhh… merely READING your blog made me feel attached! I felt attached to you continuing to follow YOUR heart, your passions and your inner compass. When attachments no longer serve you, my bet is that they will inevitably FALL OFF of their own accord… like scabs. You are an awake man on a sincere path… it is inevitable that you are awakening. If you rip a scab off before it’s healed enough, it just scabs over again and the scar is deeper… just something to contemplate…
Attachments will fall off when the healing ends and the “scab” of desire drops from its own accord.
Forcing it too soon will only cause the healing to halt, and the attachment to reapper more “deeper.”
It certainly is something to contemplate.
This reminded me of me needing my acupuncture treatments. I’ll never forget the “stuck” energy I had in my chest that moved out of me in the very first session. It had freaked me partially out, but then I thought, “man, it makes perfect sense.” It does make perfect sense…there are some times when energy just builds up and it gets stuck when we don’t release it. So, maybe that one curse word leaving your mouth for the immediate world around you won’t hurt. It will allow you to just let the anger go. Uhm, but as a reader of The Courage to Heal and Letting Go books, I have yet to fully submit to my own desire to do just that. I find I am making tiny embryo steps instead of great leaps and bounds.
“. . . Tiny embryo steps . . .”
That’s how I sould walk this path. Almost like an insect exploring a land of opportunity and awareness of the brief time I might have here . . .
Might as well live each small step moment by moment.
Love it Michael – keep doing you…
Have to pace myself. Pick and choose with discernment. Thanks.
Been trying to reach you through “Primarythoughts” but get sent to a site where I can’t leave a message.
Just wanted to say hi and see what you’re creating now a days.
Thats right brother. Every one of us has our own path to take. But the fact that you are consciously minding that path makes all the difference. Best of luck to you. Cheers!
– Sometimes the thing we need most doesn’t come from our endless searching, but by simply allowing it to come and find us.
Letting go means allowing things to happen. Great interpretation. You try too hard to control something and you can sometimes mess it up. Let go of the attachment to always “want control” and you . . . and I . . . could be halfway home.
“This is life so go and have a ball. Because the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have … my opening statement. Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog.”
This is the opening quote on my blog where I attempt to do what your doing here. Change the way I see things. I am also taking some example from the buddhist philosophy. You are taking it a step further, though, as I have only adopted the philosohpy. I do see the possibility for perceiving myself as buddhist in the future.
Good luck on your journey. Being prior military myself I doubt you’d have much issue adjusting. The path might be long, but it’s not like we haven’t walked enough already to know when we have to tend to those hotspots. Take care of those feet, and points where the gear really digs into your back and hips 😉 Keep your eyes straight ahead and focus’d on what you’re doing and you’ll make it before you realized it was over.
You’re right on target with this. Trying to “. . . change the way I see things . . .” That’s the whole Buddhist idea. We can change the way we look at things that arise. Like anger. If I can see it rising up, I can make a better decision with what to do with it. Not that I’ll be better at preventing it from arising, but on seeing it, I can recognize it and act with more compassion while, let’s say, cursing “under my breath” instead of “out loud” and possibly regretting it later. Anger will still be there. That won’t change so fast. What will change is what I do with it . . .
I’m turning pages of Kabbalah along with Buddhism, Sufism and Crystal studies.
My plate is still not full, and I look for other bites of interest before my meal is complete.
Yes, Michael. Take a deep breath. Again.
Yes. take a deep breath.
I find it helps to close my eyes and follow the outbreath. I notice my shoulders physically droop, get less tense, and its easier to take the next in-take of breath.