RageBoy, meet Dharma Girl. Dharma Girl, meet RageBoy.
Well, this is a fine how do you do. Especially as Buddhadharma warns against rage as one of the Three Poisons: Passion, Aggression & Ignorance. I do pretty good with passion and ignorance too. Of course, the Vajrayana had a crucially different take on the essential nature of poison -- i.e., that it, along with the rest of the phenomenal universe (as if there were another kozmik zip code), well... er... you see... doesn't have one. In contrast, the Arhats of the (much) earlier Hinayana persuasion are purported to have had heart attacks on hearing -- as Gregory Bateson might have said -- news of this difference. (Geese are flying information. But that's a koan for another day, perhaps.)
A modicum of context might be good, huh? OK, so Dharma Girl yesterday posted a little rant titled Love vs. Attachment. Before you go read it, however, can I ask a question? I mean, can we talk? I'm wondering if Dharma Girl is one of those titles like the one Kerouac picked for his book, Dharma Bums, back when the Diamond Sutra was still hip and pot was a whole lot cheaper. It always cracks me up when New Age drivel (with which DG's cogitation is dripping, btw) invokes Eastern Spirituality, as if "it" were some homogeneous body of thought. For instance, Buddhism and Hinduism have about as much in common as Eminem and Tipper Gore. True, both sets are related, but not in the sense that knee-jerk New Age ecumenism would have you think. Now, I'm not saying that these good people are trying to trick you or anything. No. I'm saying they're stupid. For instance Part II, Buddhism is an atheistic "religion." If this surprises you, it's probably because you're a White Person, who like most of us, still believes deep down that the rest of the world has never ceased to be our very own colonial oyster. If we can't have your land anymore, your raw materials, your labor, your women, well hell, we can still expropriate your culture. And give you McDonalds and DisneyWorlds where your temples and pagodas used to be. Glass half full. Cheer up. Namaste, motherfuckers!
Yeah, anyway. While most New Agers know full well that "ego" is considered an obstacle to "Enlightenment" in some Buddhist traditions -- yes, Virginia, there are more than one -- these same people are shocked, simply shocked I tell you, to hear that "God" is considered no less an obstacle. And for the same reasons. Hindus, on the other hand, are dyed in the wool theists. Got God? Hell, they got a million of em. Now please understand, I'm not making fun of other peoples' sacred traditions here. Would I do that? I'm just saying that folding Buddhists and religious Hindus into some OneWorld® "Eastern Spirituality" stew is like talking about the shared agenda of Southern Baptists and drug-crazed hippie Satan worshipers. "Oh yes, you mean American Spirituality. With the holy rollers and the goat's head soup..."
But let's skip over the fine points of Buddhist doctrine, shall we? And get straight to the ass kicking. I ain't makin any fancy claims here, but fair warning: pacemakers may be affected. Assuming that you've read DG's essay (or did you just come for the flamage?), here's the comment I posted on her blog. I've added a handful of hyperlinks for strictly commercial purposes.
I knew Pema a long time ago. And there's one little difference between her and most everyone else on the planet that you neglect to mention -- or perhaps failed to notice. To wit: Pema is a nun. You wanna be a nun, too, I say go for it! Cloistered, even better. Then you'd blog me no more of your nunnish advice. So happy to hear that YOU have found the perfect relationship, while the rest of us simper our lives away in needy cowardice. This post is an extended exercise in self-serving "spiritual" oneupsmanship, and on many counts, simply ignorant of the psychodynamics of both relationship and attachment. Granted, you're not alone in thinking this way. Unfortunately. But that doesn't make what you're thinking any more legitimate than the opinion of folks -- like, say, myself -- who believe that people who base their bond with each other on imagined "past lives" should not be allowed to a) type, or b) possess sharp instruments. Time allowing, I'll have more to say about this on my blog later this evening. Look for it under the head "Insignificant Others." Hope you've got a nice snug pair of asbestos knickers, Dharma Girl!
As I write this, I've got Bonnie Raitt spinning on the EGR HQ jukebox. And she's saying true love is hard to find. True love is hard to find. True love is hard to find. Like that. Must think it bears repeating. And me, hey I'm with Bonnie. And now, she's doing this number with Sippie Wallace: Woman Be Wise (Don't Advertise Your Man). "She's lovin' your man / and in your own damn bed! / Better call for the doctor / gotta investigate your head!" (Last time I called the Doctor... but no, let's leave that one with the geese.)
love & light
Are these lyrics pertinent to the present discussion? Not really. Well, not necessarily specifically. It's just that I'm sitting here thinking that these two women -- one black, one white -- would gang up to what we call rip you a new asshole for the patent bullshit you wrote about Love vs. Attachment. For instance, when Raitt sings "There's an aching in my head / from a bed I can't get used to" and "Honey, half of me is gone away / from a love I learned to cling to" on My First Night Alone Without You, imagine how comforted she'd be by your compassionate words, Dharma Girl: "If you cannot heal yourself on your own, and you are depending on someone else to come along and fix things for you, you are essentially giving up and handing over the responsibilities to somebody else." Two things occur immediately: 1) yours doesn't rhyme, and 2) you can't dance to it. Well, three things actually. The third of which is that any self-respecting woman in pain from an important relationship ending would punch you in the mouth if you said that to her face. And I'd be happy to hold her coat while she worked out on you.
Despite the tone of my remarks thus far, I'm in strong agreement with you on this whole strange business of finding The One. You write: "The problem is not that you haven't found 'the one.'" Yes! But then our paths rapidly diverge. I agree this is not "the problem" because... well, precisely What One would that be? The One decreed in the Great Divine Plan, which btw, perversely makes it impossible to find that person. Unless you are Dharma Girl, naturally, and have achieved some sort of detached but fulfilling arrangement that can be walked away from without regret to facilitate the pursuit of the more important life goal of (let us all bow our heads for a moment here) working on yourself.
"I could wake up tomorrow and be changed from the person I was the day before in such a way that we can no longer be together."
Oh yeah, you go girl!
btw, I wonder if "the man [you] adore" noticed that you started that sentence as a subjunctive "could" construction, but ended it with a declarative: "...we can no longer be together." (Dude, what's your woman trying to tell you here?)
Of course, you "doubt that this would happen." Most people would say that this had something to do with knowing the person they're with, having established some critical measure of trust. But, you know, just for the sake of argument, let's say that your past-life partner in stoic what're-ya-gonna-do acceptance of the unpredictability of what we here in Boulder call "uncontrolled growth" (and I call the entropy gradient)... let's say he tells you one afternoon next week that his values have... uh, evolved and now he's shacked up with this totally rockin bleach-blond babe name of Barbarella and, well, it sure has been great and all, but b'bye...
And yeah, I really do understand. He would never do that. Barbarella's just not his type. And anyway, he's sublimated all his libido into that novel. Right? Right. But are you sure? Actually, your point is that you're not sure at all. That there is no surety to be had about these things. If they do happen, well, that's the way God planned it. Or something. And really, it's just one more yummy opportunity to work on you. Toward some unspecified end. Because you will be happier that way? Because you'll then be free to pursue that special hobby you recommend to us spiritually lazy, psychologically insecure peons? Or because it will constitute that tried-and-true old standby (not to mention standing joke), The Learning Experience?
Let me suggest another possible outcome of our hypothetical scenario. My guess is that if Billy one day up and dumped you -- not that I'm saying his name is Billy, necessarily; you know better than I do on that score; I should hope -- you'd be crying out the other side of your mouth. Yeah, and I'm guessing you'd be sounding a whole lot more like Bonnie Raitt or Bessie Smith ("if I call three times a day, baby / come and drive my blues away...") than some plastic faux-TyBeeShin White Tara wannabe.
This kind of reaction to loss is what we non-Eastern-Spirituality types call "being human." You ought to take it for a spin sometime instead of laying all this self-righteous self-promotion-diguised-as-sage-advice on people unfortunate enough not to have discovered, as you so obviously have, the ultimate algorithms of the heart.
I'd like to think that my boundless compassion -- notice I didn't use the "N" word even once -- has helped you see the light, in however small a way. May all beings be happy, etc. yada yada. Me big-heap bodhisattva, baby, you betcha! But I dunno, Dharma Girl. Maybe you should listen more closely to your own excellent counsel. Maybe you should look inside yourself first, instead of relying on someone else to do the job for you.
And maybe. just maybe, you should get down off your high horse and take a walk on the wild side now and then. Ventilate that "self-esteem" a little. Remember what Pema Chodron said? "Attachment... exaggerates others' good qualities and makes us crave to be with them." And I hope you'll remember what I said to top off this ever so satisfying flame. You ready? OK then, read my lips: That's why Pema's not a blogger.
And I am.
Look, I know I've been a bit rough on you here, DG. Sorry. Really. It's just that I woke up this morning and was changed from the person I was the day before in such a way that we can no longer be together.
Knowing you'll understand...
RB (riding off into the sunset to live the common* human fantasy of love everlasting -- or lasting, at any rate, as long as he can, being mortal, hope to help to make it last)
1 a: of or relating to a community at large: PUBLIC - "work for the common good"
1 b: known to the community - "common fears"
1 x: what RageBoy means - "shared human aspiration"
5 a: falling below ordinary standards: SECOND-RATE
5 b: lacking refinement: COARSE
5 x: what Dharma Girl means - "vulgar human delusion"
Take yer pick. From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (with slight modifications).