A few disjointed thoughts as I wait for the engines to wind fully back up to production volume…
We have really long, straight hallways at work. You can see people coming from quite a ways off. And I never have any idea what to do when I see someone, down at the other end, that I would say hi to when passing them in the hall. Because I’m not passing them yet…we’re like 50 yards away from each other, passing is still 10-20 seconds off. Not enough time for a conversation, even if we wanted to start one off by yelling.
So what am I supposed to do? Do I say “hey” when they’re still down at the other end, and then have a nice uncomfortable silence as we continue walking towards each other, eventually passing and being clear of it? Or do I wait until they’re close, like pretending I haven’t seen them, even though I clearly have, just so I can say hi in a normal volume of voice in the second or two before we pass and not have to worry about maintaining a completely aimless connection with them for as long as it takes to walk the length of the hallway?
This kind of thing has, at times, prevented me from actually getting up from my desk. Though I’m comforted by knowing that most of the time the other guy looks just as conflicted as I feel.
I had a much longer piece I was working on to go up here, and it took one too many turns, and now is so far off center that a few simple tweaks isn’t going to get it back on the beam. It needs to be broken down for parts and rebuilt. So, instead, a summary:
I am sick and tired of your post-playa/retreat/epiphany/ecstatic/drug glow and commitment to change your life. And yes, I’m talking about you, specifically you, so get over it; I wouldn’t be writing about this if I hadn’t gone through the same thing myself plenty of times, we’re all a bunch of dumbfucks.
Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
Which means, briefly, that if you think that a weekend or a week in a carefully insulated environment designed to provoke the maximum possible ecstatic experience is going to change your life forever, you’re dreaming, and need to sober up. You could see the face of the Buddha himself on Sunday morning at sunrise, and come Monday morning, you will still–guaranteed–fail to completely wipe your ass and leave a little brown streak on your drawers. You will still need to go to work, and fill your car with gas, and eat dinner to avoid a low-blood-sugar headache. You will still need to continue living…chopping wood and carrying water.
Unless and until you can bring your pursuit of enlightenment down from the playa/desert/mountain/wherever, and into the mundane details of your daily life, then those details will never change, and over time–might be a few weeks, or days, or even hours–their accumulation will bury any enlightenment you might have thought you had while chilling on your sleeping bag near the campfire while some long-haired goatee’ed hemp-wearing soft-spoken environmentally-conscious sub-100-IQ’ed small-dicked high-on-E’ed (but only half a dose) faw-food-eating barely-passable excuse for a human-sized version of a generic-brand tampon strummed lightly on a guitar and sang an off-key version of a confused protest song written by a fucking Canadian prog-rock band and covered by a third-tier 80’s hair band which this doofus thinks wrote the song in the first place since that’s the only version he’s ever heard.
To paraphrase thousands of years of Taoist thought, enlightenment’s not where you think enlightenment is, it’s where enlightenment’s not.