Thursday, February 6, 2020

Relaxing, Littering, Cleaning, and Earthworm Gratitude

When I was a child, I devised a sadhana (spiritual practice) for myself, stitching together stuff I'd read about, stuff I'd read about and improved, and stuff I'd figured out for myself (lengthy details here).

At that time, relaxation was a craze, and the big cliché was "in with the good air, out with the bad air". I used this as part of my routine, but never felt comfortable with it. I'm rabidly anti-littering, and this struck me as the apotheosis of that same selfish "screw y'all" mindset. Take-good/expel-bad seemed viscerally wrong. But, with reservations, I practiced it for a while, feeling that it was the only way I could purge a critical mass of poison. I needed the support, and promised to repay later.

It turned out to be a surprisingly beneficial move, because as my reservations built (like a debt accruing), a spring was compressed, destined to be sprung extra cathartically once I finally reversed direction, as recounted in the link above (here's a rerun).

That happened the instant I forgave the world and loved it unconditionally, including the stinky parts, the evil parts and the parts that had gone out of their way to harm me; even chefs who add bell papers to their home fries (well, maybe not them...let's not get crazy). In essence, I made it "in with the bad air, out with the good air", and discovered, to my surprise, that 1. We have infinite good air, and 2. the bad air can only poison you if you frame it as bad; if you can't expand your perspective.

In spiritual parlance, I'm describing purification. It's a ridiculous word that connotes snowy white cleanness ("I'm so fucking pure!") - when, really, cleaning is the dirtiest job there is. You know how I keep observing that one can either be smart or feel smart, but not both? Similarly, you can try to feel pure or to actually be pure....and the latter never feels pure from inside because it requires miring in filth, because that's exactly what cleaning is (if you ever feel clean, that's your caked-on muck talking!). Saving grace: the dirty life of a cleaner is viable if you reframe the dirt as something other than dirt. And that very reframing is the cleaning, aka the purification.

Lots of lofty talk right there. Yeesh. Let me bring it back down to earth: The following telling is no less true, and a whole lot more explicable:

You know what earthworms do all day? They take in dirt, and shit out slightly better dirt. And it never upsets them, nor depresses them, nor burdens them. It doesn't strike them as sacrifice (have the earthworms ever once risen up to demand our gratitude?) because they don't frame the dirt as something bad. It would never occur to them. On the contrary, to them, it's food.

I'm an earthworm (also an ant).

The reed, unendingly assaulted by violent wind, never suffers. It never ocurred to the reed that the wind was a separate, external thing. Insofar as the reed thinks at all, it thinks it's dancing.

1 comment:

Display Name said...

Hey!!!!!!!!!!!! I sometimes put green peppers in my home fries. Corn and onion too. :) Love the weed quote especially about the dancing.

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