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themuddylittlelotus

Marijuana and the Path

There are a few litmus tests I like to experiment with when trying to gage another person. The most crucial is how they react to my dog. Anyone who doesn’t melt into a subservient baby talking tummy-rubber after locking eyes with him is clearly a sociopath.
My other reaction test is marijuana.
This will not be a legalisation/failed war on drugs rant, the internet doesn’t need another one of those. Weed however has an image problem here in Australia, it needs a serious PR overhaul. There is a large subset of the population here that use marijuana heavily, and perhaps via causation but likely just by correlation many have achieved little in the way of personal development or made positive contributions to society at large. The associations with alcohol, tobacco, other drugs of dependence, gambling and low socioeconomic status abound, but to the average Australian Middle-class observer it’s the pot that’s the problem.
The ones I genuinely worry about are the smart, educated professionals that still turn their noses up at marijuana. How you can berate an emotionally stable, compassionate and traditionally ‘successful’ adult for something that contributes to their well-being is puzzling to me. I rarely tell this story but weed was the catalyst to every facet of my life changing for the better in my late 20’s. It led to the more intensive yoga practice and to the change in diet to organic and free-range. It inspired me to leave the big city, move to a place I could grow my own vegetables. It got me into sensory deprivation tanks, which prepared me for my first experiments with psylocibin, it goes on, all the way to this blog really. I only use once or twice a month now, as I find I get similar experiences in other ways but undoubtedly through doors that never would have opened without it.
Most things we enjoy have potential to be destructive and addictive, no exception here. Chronic use by those with psychological conditions or in young, developing brains is undoubtedly asking for trouble. Lets hope though that education, research and the strong clear voices of responsible users will soon be heard above the frantic but fading reefer-madness propaganda.

“You do not suffer fools gladly”

Tolerance is tough, it might be the most difficult practice for me. The title of this post is something my stepmother has said to me more times than I care to admit, and since a fairly early age too. Ignorance and ego are the ones that really get me, a mere reflection of my own fears and shortcomings I suppose.
This past Saturday night I sat in Kirtan. To my right was a solid, peaceful spirit. A young man with a shaved head sitting cross legged like a stone, emanating calm and centeredness. To my left, the opposite. A physically loud man. An ego struggling with the lack of attention. The ego looked around the room trying to catch someone’s eye, fidgeted, sighed, could not sit for more than a few minutes. The ego struck up loud conversations with anyone who gave in, prematurely exposed the location of the post-Kirtan chai and clapped and danced erratically at the slightest chance.
What a poor soul, being carted around by such a thick ego-shell right? Those are my feelings now, but at the time I was genuinely irritated. Doesn’t he know this isn’t about ‘him’ I thought while reminding myself to avoid any glances to the left. I didn’t want to feed his ego and validate the neediness but that sounds very unloving! I am truly struggling with the balance between supporting and comforting others versus rewarding their own stagnant toxic traps and enabling their samsara.
My love still has so many conditions…

I’ve got 99 problems and Jesus is one of them

I am not a fan of Jesus.
Few things make me more uncomfortable than seeing Jesus on a puja table next to some fantastic deity or guru. Neem Karoli Baba loved Jesus, what is my fucking problem?
I went to church this past Easter. It had been at least 5 years, likely more since I last attended a service. I was spending the long weekend away with friends who worship on the holidays, so I went with it. I was fuelled a little bit by hope, but to be honest the dominant driving force was morbid curiosity.
“Buddha is dead, Muhammed is dead, but Jesus is alive!”
After the disappointment of not bursting into flames when entering the church THIS is what I was dealing with. Alongside some wild statements about Darwin looking for but never finding Jesus’ bones of course.
By the end my blood was boiling.
I desperately wanted to rush up to this pastor and tell him about Buddha, ask how he dare belittle the faith of others and most importantly give him a lecture on the fossil record. Is this how Muslims feel when they see an ISIS video?
Poor Jesus though right?! He is just another enlightened being like Buddha who happened to take that human incarnation. Still, even after sitting with this insight, I see the Bible as an instrument of self-righteous justification waved in the air by biggots and hypocrites. That is my honest, gut reaction despite three childhood summers spent at a super-hip bible camp with canoes and a zip-line.
Is what I see just Jesus the ego, projected from a lost band of followers and not Jesus the soul? I want to see past it, I want to dig into what those kind, loving Christians see, without the god-fearing “strike down upon thee” part.
So much work to be done in this incarnation.

Coming down from the Ram Dass retreat

I didn’t know what to do after the retreat.
Watching little rays of unconditional love get carted away on shuttles that last day was sadness defined. Scanning the airport in a slightly desperate fashion for a familiar face or that blue lanyard.
There are no mala beads on this aeroplane.
How much of this do I get to take home? Where is my post-retreat glow? Did I fail, because I feel like shit?! I have attached myself to the retreat now, attachment is one of my ‘tails’ that Roshi Joan was talking about. I am not off to a good start.
I feel like our satsang is real but is it like leaving a job, proclaiming you will stay in touch but never do? I reactivated my Facebook account trying to reinforce the bonds, clinging…clinging. At least I am being mindful of my clinging, Jack Kornfield would be proud. Facebook gave me two options when I signed back on ‘continue’ or ‘not you?’ great question Zuckerberg. How long will it take to explain to my ex mother-in-law about the Indian man in the blanket? Fuck.
It’s about integration though right? We can’t delete our lives and start again, we need to sculpt and re-work the old one into something worthy of us. Throwing out some comfortable old poison looks inevitable now though.
In Be Here Now, RD describes how those at Harvard taking the Psylocin all began sitting together at lunch, forming a ‘cult’. Who am I going to sit with when I get home? I don’t want to hear about reality TV, or your stupid job you hate or even worse, how much money you make at your stupid job that you hate. Love them unconditionally? I don’t know about everyone else, but my day-to-day interactions are generally not with blossoming retreat lotuses, they more closely resemble Duncan’s “forest of cunts”. What you see in those around you are simply reflections of yourself though aren’t they?
Right now Bali sounds good, or Peru or India if I can muster the courage. Can I go back to Maui or is that cheating? How do I tell if I am legitimately searching or just running away?
Always more questions than answers.

Buddhism for Road Rage and Rejection (and assholes)

Patience, tolerance, love and compassion for all beings. Is there anything more difficult? Setting aside the extremes of human atrocities which I cannot fathom having love for, how do we apply these to the daily irritants of our modern western lives?
The girl looking at her phone and driving too fast, the relationship that promised the world and let you down or just the classic asshole. I understand I am not an instrument of karma, it is not my right to judge or punish other beings. Where is the line though? Where do we sit between accepting all others with unconditional love, versus making the world a better place by refusing behaviour destructive to the greater good?
Compassion I can handle. The girl might be rushing and texting because she is late for an exam because her dog just died! I can fathom that possibility, I can tolerate that and sell myself that story. If she flattens a toddler at the next crossing though, I’m going to wish I honked at her!
Loving someone who rejects you, is not what your ego wants. Your ego wants to kick and scream and shout names and make excuses. This may just be suffering we need to take on and allow to shape us. We won’t always get answers here and we may need to sit with not knowing. Choosing to forgive and choosing to allow yourself to be hurt again can seem too close for comfort here.
As for the assholes, I do believe offering love towards those you dislike is a strong practice that can yield some genuine changes in relationships and behaviour. I have tried this and I have faith in this, but as with anything there is no one hundred percent success rate. There will be pain in having your unconditional love rejected, particularly if you feel that person may not be the most worthy to begin with. People who reject love though, now that is another level of suffering.

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