Monday, June 21, 2010
a mundane path to the great whatever
I am not spiritual. The thoughts that flow through my head would more accurately be described as mundane. It's an interesting word that, mundane. It's meaning of dull or tedious is actually brand-spanking new, dating from the 19th century. Prior to that it was a precise antonym for spiritual. Sure enough, it derives from the Latin mundus meaning world. Put it all together and I think it describes me nicely: I am worldly, without spirituality, and dull. Don't argue - you should see my dreams when I have them. They are tedious beyond all imagining.
The thought of spirituality appeals of course - I recall watching a Buddhist nun on the television describing her life of complete ascetic isolation and thinking, bravo that sounds fantastic, but mundane fellow that I am, I couldn't get past the question: how did she do it? Where did her food come from? If I wanted to do the same thing, how would I go about it? She provided no answers but I expect it's actually quite simple. She was part of an order and probably lived a couple hundred metres up the mountain at the back of the temple. Or something like that. I expect there was a person tasked with taking food to her a couple of times a day.
Anyway, whatever we call that journey, I'm doing it, albeit in a mundane fashion. For me there is no magic, there is no feel-good. I simply do without things and see if I crash and burn. So far, so good. I now drink nothing but water (and fresh fruit juice occasionally). I've pretty much ditched processed food and anything with sugar in it. And just lately I've made a rather large step and done away with bread. My stomach has been a disaster since forever and rather than try and figure out if I had coeliac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, or wheat allergy (or any of those grab-bags of symptoms in search of a name) I just thought fuck it, I'll take the lot. Thus I no longer eat wheat or bread or gluten or yeast or any of that stuff. It's do-able and I've done it and it's fine. I haven't wigged out and nor do I sit around pining for anything. By the same token, there is no pay-off. I do it and that's all there is to it.
Is that selflessness? Perhaps we could call it training for selflessness? All I know is I can wander past shops and cafes and feel no desire. And there's no magic to this. I did it just by doing it. It's my mundane best at attempting to emulate the Buddha. Or it's just a diet, ha ha - The man who mistook his diet for spirituality.
Food is one thing, and everything else is another (Phwooar! I kick the arse of truth!). And in amongst all that, I've dispensed with an entire field of human endeavour - nightlife. Or is that social life? For many it's the same thing. Whatever it's called, I no longer have the clothes for it. Speaking of which - whilst I'd prefer not to look like shit, I've utterly ceased attempting to impress. Fashion is a thousand years ago. Now I just wear thongs (which Americans call flip-flops, and yes, I understand that this is hysterically funny but... only for you), where was I? Oh yes, thongs, Thai fisherman's pants, and whatever logo-less t-shirts I find at the charity shop (easier said than done in this bullshit corporate world). And my hair is long, not because I like long hair - I don't - but because anything else would necessitate me choosing a style and maintaining it every month.
Sure enough, in this bullshit tourist town with its beach esplanade that distinguishes itself from every other beach esplanade in no way at all, I am the fellow that isn't meant to be there. The spruikers don't even bother with me now. As I walk back from the supermarket with my granny trolley full of groceries, somehow they just know that I'm not going to come into their restaurant, or buy a time-share unit, or contribute to the fat-cat surf life saving club. I am the wrong guy and obvious with it.
It's all about sex, you know. Looks, that is. Charles Darwin, the serene and impassive avatar of life and death (as I imagine him) was right - for any entity that self-perpetuates, everything is subservient to the sex drive. He doesn't declare that to be bad - it just is. And it's this understanding that has driven a great deal of what I write here, particularly in regards to the death cult. But back to today's topic - for anyone wishing to shed desire, sex is the biggie to end all biggies. This topic too I approach in a mundane fashion.
For an unattractive fellow it's surprising how many women dig me (or dug me, at any rate). With almost no effort on my part women who fancied me seemed to keep turning up. It was never A Hard Day's Night (in spite of what I said in that Arundhati Roy thing), but it was okay. Yet sadly whatever appeal I might possess deserts me the moment the tables are turned and I attempt to pursue someone. It's a special knack I have. Thus the world of nobody's romantic entanglements divides into two groups: those who fancy me; and those I fancy - and never the twain shall meet.
Besides which, without any intent of cruelty I've broken too many hearts. It doesn't take much - honesty is all you need. They ask me if I love them and I answer no. Keeping in mind that for any number of women (and don't tell them this but...) I only went to bed with them out of politeness, ie. I didn't wish to make them unhappy by saying no. But whatever the intent, one way or another unhappiness would be the end result. And if there's one thing that kills me dead it's a woman weeping and all on account of me. As for the other way around, I don't mind getting dumped. It's nothing special.
Honestly, how many decades do you have to be crap at something before you give it up as a dead loss? Weirdly enough, in spite of my head being filled with the standard general-issue lust, I don't really miss it. I just file it in the same box as x-ray specs. Remember them? As a kid I'd see the ads for x-ray specs in the Spider-Man comics and be mesmerised - Gosh! Imagine being able to see ladies' bosoms! - but they were from some place far far away and never to be mine and that was fine. It really wasn't worth expending time or energy on, so I'd just 'file it'. In terms of dealing with desire, perhaps this is cheating? But does it matter?
Hmm... it just occurred to me that all this is the polar opposite to The Secret™. Remember that? It was huge on Oprah apparently. In the wee clip I saw, the boy who wanted a bicycle was instructed to obsess over it - cut out the ad, draw pictures of it, plaster your room in pix of the bike, and obsess, obsess, obsess. And magically you'll get the bike! God spare us - a primer for anti-buddhas. The corporations give three cheers. Was The Secret™ a psy-op? Sure, why not?
Never mind all that. For a mundane fellow, I'm doing pretty well. No spirituality, but the check-list of desires crossed off is really getting somewhere. Does it matter that the means by which I do so are so dull, so antithetical to everything in every ad ever? As the Buddha said, everything is here and now. And me paraphrasing: there's no heaven or hell. Nor gods, nor devils. The Buddha is dead and Maitreya ever in the future.
Others say otherwise of course, but people say lots of things. I'd love it if all that stuff were true, but who wouldn't? It occurs to me that a desire for magic says more about desire than it does about magic. Who am I calling? What do I want with them? What would they want with me? Besides, if one was seeking selflessness, how would that be granted? Ting! You are now selfless! Me - Yay, that's great! Just what I always wanted! Never mind the contradiction - somehow I don't think so. Somehow I think that a sheer dull slog is all that there is.
And you know what, perhaps there's not any spirituality to be arrived at, and me, I'll never find it - doomed to spend the rest of my life as a mundane toiler striving for some kind of DIY whatever. But whatever! If there's nothing in it for me and none are harmed, what's the problem?* (*Oprah Winfrey, the owners of the little ™ that comes at the end of The Secret™, along with other assorted corporate motherfuckers and death cult members are excused from answering.)
And so I continue. One foot goes in front of the other and all as unmagical as can be.