Tuesday, December 23, 2008
About 5:30 a.m., I realize it's time to get out of bed. I have my Human rogue over in Night Elf territory now, and I have time to check out a quest I didn't run across with the Night Elf warrior (who's been resting now for a couple of weeks), down in the Barrens, then it's off back to Stormwind and Ironforge. The game is calling me; it waits patiently, taking up 10.7 gigs on my C drive...
But damn, it's Tuesday. All realms are down for maintenance, like every other Tuesday, during these morning hours. No satisfaction for my addiction. What to do now?
I could sit extra zazen, but the NZC's Tuesday night meeting is tonight, and there's an hour of it there waiting for me. Zen is tricky around these holidays. Most of the Buddhists I know are really closet Christians, just waiting to turn the life of Buddha into the story of the Sweet Baby Jesus. They go softer and fuzzier now, even more than usual. I usually don't like to lead these meetings; all the talk seems cheap and just somehow wrong after I sit, it cranks the argumentative mind up, and there's never anything even close to the mark. But now I'm starting to see I need to, occasionally, if for nothing else other than provide a little beans, rice and hot sauce to counter all the sugar they'll get otherwise.
There are practices, you know, that can help you deal with life better. Zazen can give you whole new levels of awareness, if you let it. As strange as it seems to say, embedded as it is in a religion, Buddhism, which teaches the doctrine of no-self, it empowers you. Or just gives you access to a bigger you, which is more powerful. Zen, truly practiced, is not, as some say, the giving up of preferences. That just makes you a dweeb. It is the ability to truly choose among preferences. To realize they are preferences, and to embrace them as you will. To become a true individual, because the substrate truly is the one you make. Am I clear? No? See how words fail.
Because there are practices, you know, that are good for you. But religions, religions suck.
Religions are for people who need to be told a story because they are afraid to write their own. They need to think someone is in control. They need to be reassured. Whereas, in this day and age, that's the last thing you need, until and unless you're about to die and hell then, why not? But if you truly want to be able to have a life, to bear with its horrors in the coming, truly Apocalyptic age (see?), you really just need to be able to see the truth. Then you choose.
And of course these next few days, it's Christmas. Actually, I like Christmas. It's a holiday everywhere, in every culture; the fact that the various followers of the Desert God, like all other godlings, have named it after their own obsession, means nothing. The Solstice is the Solstice -- the darkness before the dawn. Even when the dawn comes bleary-eyed, tired and dying. Hell, it's still morning.
So have a good holiday. Forget about the coming madness for a few days; don't worry if there's no presents this year. If you're old enough to read this, you remember when mankind reached its peak. Take solace in your loved ones, if you have them. They'll be more important to you when all your shit is gone. Someday they'll be gone, too. And someday you come down to the raw bone of existence.
But take my advice; try not to do it today. It's Christmas. Read something good. Listen to your favorite music. Then get ready to tuck in your shirttails; the shit is about to hit the fan.