Rehabilitation of a Yogi: Good vs. Bad in My Head
June 7, 2011 § 2 Comments
A battle royale rages in my headspace. Good is fighting Bad. And Bad is fighting back. What’s a sober Buddhist practitioner to do with her conflicted self?
“When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better. ” -Mae West
I’m tired of being good, so damn tired of it. What does it get me? Frustration, aggravation, unfulfilled desires, ache in the belly, lump in the throat. Give me a hit off that fat bong, let me have that cigarette. Bartender, lemme get a Johnny Walker Black, neat. And make it a double. And keep em coming. And while we’re at it, get me a burger made out of lots of factory-farmed cows raised on a steady diet of hormones and antibiotics, never getting to see the sky. I want to be bad. Take me away from here. Here is too soft, too quivering, too uncertain, too hopeful, too naïve, too much wishing on shooting stars for things to work out. What utter horse shit!
I can’t take this sobriety any more. It’s so fucking real. It’s too much, too intense, too adult, too painful, too much longing, and love, and fear. It’s a heady cocktail but I want a real cocktail, made with top shelf liquor, to drown all this uncertainty.
I sit in meditation and breath turns to sobs. I bow to the sun and grit my teeth at the body… this body knows too much, and she won’t let me forget it. What’s wrong with forgetting anyway?
Nauseous with longing, sick with desire, Doctor, I need some strong medicine. Give me your pills, the red and the blue, to make me forget, smooth out my jagged emotions, and take this pain away. I’ll do anything. Please, Doctor, I promise I’ll be good – just give me what I need. Twist my arms behind my back, make me beg for mercy. Strip me of my cultural inhibitions – they are strangling me anyway. Rough me up, make me feel it. Tie me down, force my jaw apart, make me swallow your sweet poison. I deserve it. Please take me away, wrench me out of this prison where I’ve locked myself, sober and alone. Isn’t there anything you can do for me, Doctor? Is there no cure for this sickness? No specialist you can refer me to?
I’ll go down to Hell to escape this human purgatory, crawl beneath the surface of the Earth where it’s dark, damp and cramped. Lead me to your dungeon, Lucifer, and throw away the key. Keep me occupied with service, naked, shackled, bruised, burned and safe in your hold. Beneath you I’m safe. The weight of your body keep me from spinning into outer space.
I’m Sick of Being Bad
“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” -Blaise Pascal
I’m not falling for that same stupid line anymore, those bedroom eyes, those broad shoulders, all those whispered promises. I’ve learned that talk is not worth much, and action is scarce. I’m not excited about waking up in the wee hours still wearing all my party clothes with my head pounding a fierce hangover. I’m not interested in giving out my phone number to any cutie who gives me some attention. Every escape route has a price and every road leads right back to the present.
I don’t want to eat conventionally raised animals because I know how they are treated and it makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t want to eat fear. I don’t want to consume sorrow. I don’t need the government-subsidized animal flesh protein no matter how cheap that hamburger is, or how glossy the ad is, or how catchy the jingle is. I ain’t lovin it.
My heart is precious and I have no reason to give it away. Ever. My body is precious, soft, supple, beautiful, and it’s mine to do with as I please. And it pleases me to relish in the senses, smell, taste, touch, sight, sound. There’s another sense too. That quiet voice inside must be heeded before things get too hot and heavy. Eyes closed, breathe deep, and back away before there’s no going back. I’m not a delicate flower but I am not up for being trampled underfoot. Sex is magic, but you need wholesome ingredients for the cauldron to make it a true love spell. Patience is a paramita (virtue) beyond good and bad.
The Middle Path
So here I am in the middle, with all my demons and angels shouting at each other inside my head. I’ve been led by angels and I’ve been led by demons before. Nowadays I remain in the center and practice metta for them all.
There’s too much suffering in the world and I refuse to keep adding to it. My feelings are real and they’re mine and I can handle each and every one of them, from the most fragile to the most certain, from the tremulous to the sturdy, from the soft to the loud, from the obnoxious to the divine. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always me.
Through the practices of yoga and meditation we learn to make space for all the sensations, feelings and mental formations which arise, abide, and fade like waves lapping on the shore. At times it’s stormy and intense, while other times quiet and calm. The dance continues.
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