Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Lot To Learn

There is a regular character in my life, who I have named, "the yelling man" (This is not a very creative name, but is apt).   Most evenings (at least those I've been privy to),  around 9 p.m., the yelling man walks down the street near my house and yells loudly at an unknown character (who, from the yelling man's body language, would be walking on the other side of the street if said unknown character actually existed).   This evening, while walking home from dinner with a friend, the yelling man was letting it be known that unknown character "had a lot to learn" followed by a series of expletives, references to karma being a bitch, etc., etc.  It's pretty much a verbatim rendition of previous rants I've heard him offer to the world.  Tonight, though, after looking for the millionth time for the "unknown character" to whom he was speaking, it struck me:  This is an internal monologue made public. [NOTE:  This interpretation could be argued, but since I'm the one with first hand observational data, I will ask you to go with me here.]

I've had a slightly more gentle internal monologue of my own:  one where I realize, that, I both have a lot to learn, and that I'm constantly learning.  I won't call it "progress," (that seems like a silly word in this context) but I will acknowledge that my thinking is getting a lot more spacious.

I've focused for so long on restructuring, reconfiguring, expanding understandings of the narrative arc of my life, that I overlooked the simple fact that I was still operating within the narrative frame that I've been born into, that society has offered me regularly.  Chogyam Trungpa (from his talk "Loneliness, Relationships, and Ruling Your World") says:
"As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel we deserve resolution.  However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution."

Hm.  Yes.  All of that clinging and grasping and trying to rewrite a narrative in order to head toward some resolution that seems palatable?  Yes.  That's been me.  All of my attempts to figure out how to get myself back to a "comfortable" state  (or at least one that seems comfortable) overlooks the very very basic fact that none of these attempts in the past have ever led to anything but temporary comfort, or, as Chogyam Trungpa says more eloquently:  "Scrambling for security has never brought anything but momentary joy."

I'm down with some momentary distractions as much as the next person.  But I've been wrestling around with the temporality inherent in these momentary distractions.  Fun is fun, but it's not an "answer" (as if there was only one) nor is it "contentment"  (something everyone, including myself, is ultimately looking for in some really interesting places and ways).

And then, "We don't deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that.  We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity."
Theoretically paradox and ambiguity are two of my favorite things.  In practice, well, it's a practice to hold space for these states.  I'll gladly continue this practice.  I don't want to cheat myself out of a life of ambiguity.  This requires more than just a shift in my belief in narrative structure.  Shift happens?  (I know, I know, I couldn't resist).

No comments:

Post a Comment