I’ve occasionally mentioned that I’m not very consistent spiritually, as in my I’m not Johnny Contemplative post. But that’s an understatement. If any of you think that I bound out of bed, greeting This with my whole being, ready to sit a few minutes in sublime meditation before eating a healthy breakfast, nothing could really be further from the truth. My usual morning starts with:
1. Throwing pillows at Talbot when he starts pestering me to feed him (Usually about a hour before I intend to get up). His tricks are anything from opening my CD player and knocking the disc out of it, to chewing on my piles of unsorted, undealt-with junk mail, or lately, gnawing on books. This week, he got into Sudoku and The Upanishads. Smart cat. Unfortunately, he’s also smart enough to know pillows don’t hurt.
2. After second or third pillow throw, get up (cursing), feed cat, try not to trip on mail.
3. Go back to bed, making sure alarm is set.
4. Turn alarm off (Zen alarm clock—yeah that part of my life really is Zen—whoo-hoo!), reset it and go back to bed.
5. Turn alarm off again, reset it, and go back to bed.
6. Hit snooze button, and go back to bed.
7. Hit snooze button, and go back to bed.
8. Realize it’s now a half-hour after I intended to wake up, say, “oh shit!” turn off Zen alarm, turn on NPR, and decide if I have time enough to shower and shave before I have to leave. Do so if I do. Brush teeth.
9. Make a note that I really need to empty Talbot’s littlerbox soon. Hurriedly get dressed.
10. Drive (or carpool) to work, with a quick stop to 7-11 to buy a triple-cholesterol puckwich and the first of what will be two or three Big Gulps or equivalent non-coffeenated Diet Pepsified caffeine hits.
11. Arrive at work, simultaneously tired and hyper.
(Three hours later… actually begin to wake up.)
My evenings have usually been better… I blog, read blogs, surf all manner of junk on the Net, solve some sudoku, watch a little TV or a video, sometimes get together with a friend. Rarer is actually getting around to some spiritual practice.
Lately though, as some of you may have gathered from the tremendous surge of sharing on my blog, my evenings have been crappy too. I’ve lost myself in the ultimate intellectual puzzle, harness race handicapping, and I’ve done it before. I’m not a problem gambler, but I am a problem handicapper… it’s as though when my mind becomes totally absorbed by something that is endlessly challenging, the rest of the world and its challenges hardly exist.
In Fundamentalist language, the devil “gained a foothold” on a weakness of mine, and I’ve been hiding from God. In more objective language, my ego found a way to strengthen itself, causing me to avoid my true self. Different ways of describing the same situation.
For me, a big part of “Jedi life in the real world” is realizing when I’m not living Jedi life in the real world. There’s nothing more spiritual about thinking great thoughts than there is in emptying a litterbox or nourishing your body well in the morning. (For that matter, there’s nothing more spiritual about reading the Upanishads than the Meadowland’s past performances… if you can do it as a Christ, ready to respond to anyone and anything with selfless love.)
The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.
But some “fingers” at least do point to the moon, while others point to the mazes of habit and distraction. Some fingers are just The Finger! I’ve been drowning. I’m coming up for air. That’s Jedi life in the real world, for me here, at least.