Monday, February 2, 2009

Buddha Blanket - Part Two

A certain kind of religiosity hangs in the air around here. It’s heavy. You can barely breathe sometimes. I’m not talking about sincere Christians, for whom I have the utmost respect. It seems to me that central to a sincere belief system is the willingness to relinquish certainty. That act is called faith. We cannot know, so we choose to believe.

Yes, the faith is fine. It’s the folks with all the certainty who are oppressive. To me, presuming to know that mind of God is tantamount to blasphemy.

But tell that to the Gospel-Of-Affluence-I’ve-Got-A-Ticket-To-Heaven-That-You-Don’t crowd. They know.

But I digress. Isn’t this supposed to be a post about a Buddha Blanket or some such?

I know exactly enough about Buddhism to be dangerous – or at least annoying to those who seek to understand it. But central to my understanding is the concept of impermanence (I could go on about parallels to Christianity, but I’ll save that for another post). Joy and sadness will both come and go, no matter how hard we strive to control them. Being mindful of the moment you are experiencing – not the one you lived five years ago or the one you’re going to live tomorrow - becomes your practice.

Pretty simple, but exceedingly difficult.

The inability to get out of my head and into the moment has plagued me for as long as I can remember. It’s impacted relationships and decision-making, self-censored prayer, and dogged every attempt to learn formal meditation. It bloomed into crippling perfectionism earlier in my life, but the practice of motherhood has helped with that.

But it’s hell on hobbies, particularly those involving needles.

Over the years, I’ve tried many kinds of needlework (my jaunt into counted cross-stitch in the early 80s is particularly painful to remember), each bringing tension and aggravation instead of relaxation. But I’ve begun to have some dexterity issues and thought that I might try the Holy Grail, the big one, the craft that intimidates me more than any other.

Knitting. Pretty simple, but exceedingly difficult.

More tomorrow…

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