Buddhism is not about getting your groove on; it’s all about…

img_0545Control, unwavering control, of yourself, or even better: non-self, if you can manage it, easy enough but for the vicissitudes of will, that one part of the (s)kandhas that escapes easy categorization and refuses to fall blindly into place as but one of the ‘heaps’ that comprise our personalities and personas and persons that we oftentimes think of as ‘self’, or ‘selves’ if you’re bi-polar, or even ‘soul’ if you have long-term plans, or God forbid ‘ego’ if you can think of little else…

But ‘will’ or ‘volition’ is right there listed alongside the rest of the heap of verbs-turned-nouns that define us in an act of unholy reification, feeling and form and perception and consciousness, only one a true noun, and that an abstract one, all the rest verbs with regular jobs, turned noun, so more than fleeting fancies, all except will, which needs no linguistic crutch-like suffix ‘-ness’ or ‘-tion’ to lean on, or even the gerundive ‘-ing’ to skate by on all fours…

‘Will’ is the linguistic juggernaut with true attitude, rigid and unchanging, yet capable in any discipline, whether pressed into service as a verb of rare power, all might but no maybe, and indicative of future tense, or a noun semi-abstract, a subject to be reckoned with, but known only by its actions, transitive by appearance but only as a ruse to invoke the subjunctive, subordinate clauses subjected to its higher power, merciless and merciful by turns, dependent on equanimity to convert its base instincts into true righteousness…

And such is the influence of language in our lives, like a virus invading, once it finds a home in our innermost cerebral sanctums, it takes over and reduces reality to its own linguistic conventions of subjects predicating the Hell out of objects, with adjectives always taking the side of the nouns and adverbs falling in line behind the verbs, like good little foot-soldiers in the battle of competing narratives, dialogues gone dialectic, in a war of Big Ideas, both fancy and fantasy in the quest for souls…

And that’s where meditation can help, right away, on the personal level, to reduce the dreaded ego to manageable proportions, it like a hungry lion on the prowl for suck and succor, and demanding of more more bigger bigger as soon as it’s fed, in case you were wondering, that the paradigm for tanha—thirst, lust, craving—that it is never satisfied, even when satiated and saturated, that the next ensuing urge is lined up on the tarmac and ready for take-off as soon as the previous carrier is airborne and the control tower gives the signal…

So control is the key, unbeknownst to many who fancy themselves Buddhist, but with no real knowledge of it, just sounds hip and dope and too cool for school, so add it to my resume’ and tell me when to chant. But it’s not like that, as the prime movers pride themselves on no movement at all, if they pride themselves on anything at all, the ability to sit motionless for hours at a sit unflinching unnerving the ability to just be and be successfully without ribbons nor bows nor the attachments of hungry souls…

And the only real issue besides will and attachments is the role of thought in the salad of salvation, many monks ready to ditch it altogether, as long as the faithful deliver their daily sustenance on time and on the bottom line, myths and rituals secondary to the daily beg for milk and bread, and the consequent quest for temples…

But thought is our highest skill and to toss it would be a travesty, I think (!), an overreaction of epic proportions, to assume that somehow things just magically take care of themselves if only you let them. That sound you hear in the distance is the sound of birds and squirrels laughing, because they know that you’re just lazy and full of your self…

But to lose your self and find the dharma is to use thought judiciously and sparingly and emotion even more so. For thought is not the enemy, but narrative, especially false narratives, full to overflowing and going everywhere but arriving nowhere, too much talk and not enough inaction, and that’s where meditation can help, again and again and again…

It’s all about control—self-control, not control of others, nor being controlled by others, where it gets its bad name, but self-control, as a means of transcending the self….