Monday, April 03, 2006

Dwelling in Peace

Those words should raise a fire-storm. Dwelling in Peace. What do they mean? What do I mean? What do you interpret? You may not know the words but can you hum a few notes?

I'm not sure I've ever "dwelt in peace" but then maybe my definition is wrong.

I used to teach a class on meditation. Yes, I know, the idea of me teaching that type of class brings up images of absurdity. Invariably, someone would ask why the location wasn't quieter. Go figure. Sitting in the middle of an urban environment people thought things should be quiet. "Let's all ask the city to be quiet while we try to get in touch with our "selves"" Yeah, right.

I'd ask if they thought that's the way a zen monastery was. Of course they were all sure that a zen monastery was completely unplugged from sound and the world. Wrong.

Buddhist monks don't kill things. Many monastery buildings are up on posts. Runaway dogs figured out that shelter under a monastery was pretty good. No rain and no humans throwing rocks. Of course there were the other dogs so even under a monk the sounds of snarling and barking were occassionally heard.

We just can't unplug from the world. We have to sit with it. We have to live with it. The trick is to "dwell in peace" when everything is in apparent uproar.

I can argue a point with anyone about anything. I can find fault with anyone at any time or place. Does that bring me peace? No. Does that assert my ego on the world around me? Damn right! I'm here and my way is right. My way or the highway and you can go to hell in a handbasket.

A great deal of energy is expended on hating folks and wanting them to change. I'm getting tired. By the way, we spend almost as much energy loving them. So where is the real middle way?

Damn good question.