Thursday, January 10, 2008

Spiritual Materialism

The Patriot has been a lazy blogger lately. This is especially inexcusable in light of the elections, but my interest in politics has taken a back seat to the day to day drama of raising a toddler. Jack will be a year old in three weeks. I can’t believe an entire year has gone by since he was born. I have an entirely new relationship with the passage of time since Becky left us. Whole months go by effortlessly. Some days I struggle to remember what year it is. I don’t know if this is merely the downside of turning 40 or whether my relationship with the physical structure of the universe has actually changed. I suspect the former.

I was reading an essay by Sharon Salzberg , a Vipassana meditation teacher who said that raising three children taught her more about Buddhism than meditation ever could. I have found this to be true. Any time I sit down with the intention of reading a sutra or meditating, the little being whose care I am charged with reminds me that there is so much more to the world than my own ego. He is constantly teaching me lessons in humility and selflessness. I have looked for a teacher of the Dharma for a long time. Imagine my surprise to find him literally sitting in my lap. My little bald monk with wisdom of the ages.

I have decided that 2008 will be the year of conscious living. Whatever I do I will do it with awareness and compassion. I am trying to cultivate these qualities and the only way to do so is to live them. This is the goal of the Vipassana school of Buddhism. One brings about awareness by the simple and direct practice of moment-to-moment mindfulness. This awareness leads us to accept more fully the pleasure and pain, fear and joy, sadness and happiness that life inevitably brings. When caring for an 11 month old child you have to be mindful constantly. Failure to maintain full awareness could potentially result in your little Buddha sticking a paper clip in an electrical outlet and experiencing enlightenment of an entirely different variety.

In the future this blog will be less about politics and more about Buddhism, although the Patriot is mindful that too much writing about spiritual development has the potential to lead to Spiritual Materialism; the failure to let go of ego clinging in the development of an understanding of spiritual and related areas. Frankly, I am sick to death of politics. Namaste.

3 comments:

portinexile said...

You are so right - kids will teach you way more than any book or retreat will. Just last week I caught myself scolding them off to the t.v. so I could read a Thomas Merton prayer book. All the best for the new year my friend, to you and your wee buddha

crackass said...

But you must also remember that man who goes to sleep with itchy butt will also wake with smelly next president. Or so I read in the New York Times.

Wang said...

Ahhh, Patriot. Wang know how you feer.Would you berieve I have a
tiny Wang? My rittre tiny Wang quite the handfurr, so to speak. Who Crackass with itchy butt?? You go to Dr. If Dr fix you butt you no ronger have stinky finger.

--You buddee Wang