Posted by: terrapraeta | August 14, 2009

Getting My Zen Back


The struggle for life you know never ends
So look behind you, you are but a man
Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief
Look behind you, you are but a man

So eat, drink and be merry
For tomorrow you may be dead
Eat, drink and be merry
For tomorrow you may be dead

Realise we share the same fate
Understand your own mortality
Our lives are getting shorter every day
Pretty soon there will be no you and me

The Bastard Fairies, Momento Mori

So I had a conversation with a friend the other day about faith. My immediate, initial reaction was that I don’t have faith. I know some things. Other things I don’t know – and I’m fine with that. Then I paused, and said… well, I have faith in one thing… I have faith in people. Like, not so much persons, but rather I have faith that people, in general, really are okay.

The conversation has been replaying in my mind for days, and I finally figured out why. I was totally wrong. See, when I hear the word faith, there are a whole bunch of other words that I immediately associate: doctrine; God (as in the Old Testament), duality, salvation. And those are all words that I have a big problem with. Words that make me want to turn and go the other way – any other way.

But faith I do have. In fact, my personal journey into “living in the hands of the gods” has been about nothing so much as learning and accepting faith into my life. Letting go of control (or rather, the illusion of control), acknowledging that I do not necessarily know what is right or what is wrong, but the world itself, the gods do. Realizing that when I try to force an outcome, it always fails – but when I just do what I do and accept the world around me, good things always happen. Good things meaning, things that make me happy, things that make life easier, more fulfilling, more “successful.”

For weeks now I have been describing this process of letting go as “getting my zen back.” I never really liked buddhism because of its one central tenent: dukha. Life is not suffering. Life is good. But this weekend I finally realized that you cannot understand dukha until you look further: they say that life is suffering because we spend all of our time wrapped up in our wants, our desires, our hopes and fears, our attachments to things that are fundamentally transient. Ah ha, she says. That is exactly what I have been learning – to let go of these things and just be. Amazing.

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