Thursday, April 15, 2010
Parable of Desirelessness
Parable of Desirelessness
During his life, he'd had everything, money, dope, women, more love than any man could handle. In short, he was spoiled rotten. Now he was bored to tears. Maybe he was just an ungrateful bastard, since his cup had run over with goodness and mercy.
While on drugs, he discovered he needed very little, although he desired much. As a dope addict he survived on nothing but dope. No woman, no sex, food, clothes, bath, place to stay. Nothing but dope. For a time he lived in a cardboard box, slept in an alley or doorway. Sometimes he had a woman in the box with him. They smoked dope, made love and prayed in the box.
But it came to a point when he did his dope alone. He hustled alone, coped his dope and went to his room and smoked. In his supreme selfishness, he cut loose his friends. He definitely wouldn't get loaded with them because they were a nuisance. So he lived in solitude except for the demons in his head who visited him nightly. They talked to him and became real people. They were outside his door, he imagined. He could hear them talking. They were going to kill him for sure. They were outside his door discussing how to slay him. He heard them talking in the wind, the rustle of the leaves on the tree. They talked to him each night. It went on for years.
Finally, he did self recovery--no program worked for him, only because he wouldn't work it, thinking he was smarter than the recovery people. They told him to just relax and let himself heal, but he wouldn't. He wanted to continue writing in recovery. They told him not to write, just still himself and heal. So he left the program. This went off and on for years until he decided to recover his way. He went to ocean beach and let the cold ocean heal him. He went to the hot tub and relaxed. People could see he was healing. They could see it in his skin--there was a glow that was obvious to all.
As he recovered, he began to ponder what things he needed to survive. Did he need a woman that was usually a vexation? Most friends were a vexation. He eliminated women and men. Then his car, another vexation. He rode the bus. Got rid of his cell phone. No TV, no video player.
The black movies he found disgusting. He listened to the radio, mainly the news, even though it was bullshit white supremacy misinformation, fiction, his doctor said. He lived in his imagination and devoted time to his greatest joy, thinking and writing.
He gave his writings away on the street. It was his way of giving something back as they teach in recovery. And he shared his wisdom with whomever sought him out, but he sought out no one.
Of course he loved his children and grandchildren and would do anything for them, if and when they needed him.
But mostly, he realized there was nothing out there, but all was inside the self. So where was there to go except inside himself, to unravel the conundrums within his wretched self. Maybe he could raise himself to higher ground, maybe reach the upper room of his father's house. Surely he had been down in the dungeon, the bottomless pit of life. Where else can one go but up. But up is not out, rather within, peeling away the one billion illusions of the monkey mind Guru Bawa taught us about.
What is there to need, what is there to desire, to want? This can be an endless search into the void, the chasm of nothingness and dread. He refused to go there. He'd seen his friends go there, the endless search for things, trinkets, like children in Toys R Us, running here, running there to consume.
And yet there was no need, only desire, and desire was infinite, never ending except in frustration and dread. Desire was an intoxicant, a drug worse than all other drugs combined. The only thing to desire was no desire, to detox and recover from all illusions. Solomon told us all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
And so he looked inside the self, not selfishly, but selflessly with desirelessness. And he found satisfaction, for the more he had nothing, the more he had everything. The more he stilled himself, the more his mind opened to infinite possibilities.
This was not poverty consciousness but the consciousness that all is illusion, transitory and ephemeral. For what do you do when you have everything, yet in an instant it is wiped out. Remember the fire storm in the Oakland/Berkeley hills? And there you stand ready to destroy the self that remains, yet the self was the only reality.
Self is beyond individual. It is communal. Self is the breathing world. When we recognize the personal, we acknowledge the communal, the connection will all that is real and everlasting. Thus the test of the self is in interaction with other selves, no matter how vexing the encounter. Silence will save the day. Listen to the thousand voices in the silence of the wind.
Rumi said it best, "If you come to the garden, it don't matter. If you don't come to the garden, it don't matter."