Thursday, July 2, 2009

If It Makes You "Happy"! (then it can't be all that bad)

Does your “spirituality” make you “happy” because you believe it's “true”? Does your religious ideology include your death?

Death is probably the only aspect of life that we’re not too happy about. In fact, all religious ideologies have their origin in the fear of death. Just think, if you could never die, what could you ever worry about?

So what happens when the venerable “awakened master” dies? I love the neo-advaitist platitudes, “if you are not a body, then what dies,” as the exalted one scratches his illusionary butt (which seems to prove the body still has some control).

Well, I guess if it makes him happy…

It’s probably not a question of what you ARE or what you ARE NOT. Note the either/or paradox that even the priests of the non-dual struggle with. Of course, you are not a body AND you most certainly are a body. Duh!

Isn’t it great that you can have it both ways? Doesn't that make you happy?

So if awakening is such a big deal (happy, happy, bliss, bliss!) why are so many awakened ones dying from painful diseases like the rest of us miserable sinners? If awakening is about transcending the body, why is the exalted "master" riddled with cancer? Seems like the body won that bet!

But I thought he said he was NOT a body? So does that mean the body has taken on a life of its own, without the mind?

I guess whatever floats your boat…

What if the point is to realize that you ARE your body, your mind, thoughts, and yes, even your ego? And the fact that you keep trying NOT TO BE what you ARE, keeps you from being what you’re supposed to BE, which, of course, is what you are NOT? (Ha! Love this sheit!)

Sorry. I question everything because I don't "know" (and it makes me happy!). Some people no longer question, because they "know" and "knowing" makes them happy (and they go around "teaching" everybody else what they "know" and that make's 'em happy, too!)

The question is, how could so many have gotten it so wrong, for so long? (centuries, in fact). Worse than that, the blind still lead the blind! The spiritual materialists continue to righteously bypass what they see by denying it’s "there."

...because it makes them “happy” (and it's "true," yo!)

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with denial (we're experts at it) and I guess if it makes you "happy," then your righteous denial can’t be all that bad. I usually allow the "Non-dualists," and the avatars of "awakening," to be ‘right,’ because they can get downright ornery when they’re unhappy.

"If it makes you happy
It can't be that bad

If it makes you happy

Then why the hell are you so sad."
(Cheryl Crow)


  1. Questioning, not questioning, everything is available. Disease, death, bliss, the story is what the story is. There is so much beauty in it.

  2. mmm...

    so... today i indulged myself and "connected" with a local Chenrizig ceremony up at the Kagyu monastery up the mountain here... oh yes - it did make me happy... as does my Chenrizig statue on my alter, my malas, the mandala bowl and offerings - and other symbols some from north american native beliefs, some from Peru...
    it all pleases me.

    AND THEN in addition to the Chenrizig connection, my partner and i made a rather spontaneous trip off island to visit a native elder medicine woman friend hearing all sorts of fantastic stories (as we always do when we visit her) ... about her clairvoyance and native ceremonies etc etc etc and THAT also made me very happy! There was even some of that serendipidous "in the flow" sort of "coincidence", the exchange of gifts ...

    and ya know... i like that stuff. i like the visiting tibetan rinpoches and the bodhisattva vows, the singsong mantras, the symbology of images and form ... and i like how my native friend hears and sees spirits and the incredible gifts she has in regard to spiritual arts - both manifest in bead work, basketry, quilting, needlework etc etc as well as the spiritual arts of ceremony, counselling, etc.

    i love it.

    to me, these things are enrichment. the means toward something other than thought - a deep connection to... i'm not sure what - to a sense of mystery perhaps...

    these things most definitely please me... allow a sense of relaxation - opens up a "heart space" for a lack of a better way of saying it.

    is it self indulgant? i suppose so. does it help the state of the world at large? oh yes - ever so slightly - in that i am able to access that heart space - and be a little more open to what is happening around me... a deeper relating, a little bit of infectious joy perhaps... maybe there is ever so slightly more relaxation and openness in response - in those i relate to...

    and yeah... denial... and death... yeah... i know... and that depression of the storyline of a useless life... and these vajrayana experiences and these native experiences - are a form of medication... a spiritual bandaid... but we bleed in our fear of death - don't we? - and there is suffering. and sometimes a bandaid is ok to use. a method toward space... a bit of relief... some wonderment.

    i'm happy tonight. feeling a little more relaxed than i have for awhile. filled with stories and images of something greater than the usual sorts of experience.

    the tibetan monks up on the hill tonight - they are simply people... as is the elder native woman on the next island... with their dramas and their illnesses... their living and their dying. their difficult relations. how can it be any other way? they are human. and in their expressions of their faiths and their experiences - they enrich my living, and the living of many others... and i am happy about it.


  3. From Joseph Sharp's "Living our Dying":

    "In her book, "Writing Down the Bones", Natalie Goldberg tells a wonderful story about Zen master Suzuki Roshi's dying:

    He died of cancer in 1971. When Zen masters die we like to think they will say something very inspiring as they are about to bite the Big Emptiness, something like "Hi-ho Silver!" or "Remember to wake up" or "Life is everlasting." Right before Suzuki Roshi's death, Katagiri Roshi, an old friend, visited him. Katagiri stood by the bedside; Suzuki looked up and said, "I don't want to die." That simple. He was who he was and said plainly what he felt in the moment. Katagiri bowed. "Thank you for your great effort."

    And there it is. That simple. Self-honesty. It takes great effort to be self-honest in our dying. But we must, or we'll be off on the wheel of denial and false excitement. We must learn to make the room within ourselves where we can realize the utter simplicity of saying what we feel--"I don't want to die"--even as we die."

    I suppose if we were never to die, we would still be searching for what makes us immortal. If misery remained in our immortality, we would curse it, so everything would need to be perfect in order for us not to ask what may lay beyond the stars or on some other side of a hidden veil. Perhaps the quest for something outside of ourselves is simply as much a part of ourselves as is breath.

    I like Christine's response in that it is just a seeking to live among that which provides nourishment to the soul/spirit and harm none and help when we can.

    Gruesome image on the post. Oy.

    Blessings to you, Mike.


  4. No One,

    Yes! So what is your story?



    Always great to hear from you. Deep writing. Very existential. Need to read it several times to get the feel. Of course, I agree with what you say. How could I not. Lot of "relationship" in your life.


    Hey Nahnni!

    Great "ancient master" story! True, death does provoke honesty when we are not busy denying death.
    Sorry about the image, but I've always been into the surrealists. This one is from Laurie Lipton and it's called "Lady Death."