So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Friday, May 22, 2009

an aspiritual journey?

when our parents were young and Eastern religions were all the rage among America's hippies, Herman Hesse's novel Siddhartha rocked popular culture. ask them; they'll tell you.

i saw it as i wandered around one of my favorite little book stores, and before i knew it i was at home reading it.

i'd like to share with you a few portions of it. it isn't a page-turner, nor would i count it among my favorites, but i found it valuable. and quite personal.

it's the story of a young man destined for a devout life who decides he must give it all up, wander alone through the world, and experience real life in order to find his way to "god," as i would call it.

Govinda said, "...I believe you and know that you never followed a teacher. But have you not yourself found, if not a doctrine, then at least certain thoughts, certain insights that belong to you and help you to live? If you were able to tell me something of them, you would fill my heart with joy."

Said Siddhartha, "I have had thoughts, yes, and insights, now and again. Sometimes for an hour or a day, I have felt knowledge within me, just as one feels life within one's own heart. There were several thoughts, but it would be difficult for me to hand them on to you. You see, Govinda, here is one of the thoughts I have found: Wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to pass on always
sounds like foolishness...

Listen, my dear friend, listen well! The sinner who I am and who you are is a sinner, but one day he will again be Brahman, he will one day reach Nirvana, will be a Buddha -- and now behold: This
one day is an illusion, it is only an allegory! This sinner is not on his way to the state of Buddhahood, he is not caught up in a process of developing, although our thought cannot imagine things in any other way.

No, in this sinner the future Buddha already exists -- now, today -- all his future is already there... The world, friend Govinda, is not imperfect, nor is it in the middle of a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect in every moment; every sin already carries forgiveness within it, all little children already carry their aged forms within them, all infants death, all dying men eternal life...

Therefore everything that
is appears good to me. Death appears to me like life, sin like holiness, cleverness like folly; everything must be just as it is, everything requires only my assent, only my willingness, my loving approval, and for me it is good and can never harm me.

I experienced by observing my own body and my own soul that I sorely needed sin, sorely needed concupiscence, needed greed, vanity, and the most shameful despair to learn to stop resisting, learn to love the world and stop comparing it to some world I only wished for and imagined, some sort of perfection I myself had dreamed up, but instead to let it be as it was and to love it and be happy to belong to it."

Siddhartha didn't find god through listening to the teachings of others, through meditation or fasting or "scripture." he found it through living, wandering, eating, drinking, making love, failing, feeling pain... in other words, through living his own life, and living hard.

i'm just sayin'.


Clint said...

And that's a belief system I MIGHT be able to accept.

Why does hedonism get such a bad rap?

ASH said...

love this, Matthew. LUV.