Monday, September 19, 2005

The Golden Path

Wouldn’t it be nice to know which choices, which steps, would lead to the optimum amount of enlightenment and growth? To be able to navigate your way through your life without having to waste time on so many of the dog-and-pony-shows and cheap bazaars the world puts in our way to distract us and waste our time and energy?

A golden path.

A simple, instructive way of living that neither hurts nor hinders anyone else and that, each day, improves and renews us.

Are you ever tempted to leave it all behind and join some ascetic order? Reduce all the background noise and see what happens?

Every once in a while, maybe you’re driving a car or taking a walk or reading a book or listening to music, doesn’t a small door open in your head that brings in this slight gust of ecstasy? And doesn’t it make you wonder if there isn’t more where that came from?

What would you have to do? What would you have to give up?

Wouldn’t any trade off be worth it if it meant experiencing true joy, true life, true love?

Maybe you do something small every once in a while, like using more care before you speak or act. Or taking a moment to demonstrate kindness instead of turning your back.

But it never seems to last. We seem to drag ourselves back to Earth every time, the balloons of our hearts pulled down by our greed, our anger and our pettiness.

What if you worked at it, though? Really worked at it? Where would you end up? How would you feel?

A golden path.

As some of you know, Screwloose Manor is situated on a corner plot. Behind us lies the Margaritaville-cum-Gitmo wonderland of Mr. and Mrs. Drunkass, to the left we find the Eternal Flame That Guards Against WMD’s, to the right is a gay couple which consists of two men who are both named Mark, and directly in front of us is the stately home of the elderly gentleman we call The Mayor, a long-time retiree who has taken it upon himself to be the eyes and ears of the neighborhood, as well as the fellow who drags your emptied trash cans back in when needed or gives your lawn a trim when you can’t seem to get around to it.

Now if you walk one block up from The Mayor’s, you will find (right across from the hardware store) a Buddhist college.

No fooling. There on the town’s main drag, a quick walk from the pizza place and the bar that has Rockabilly nights every Sunday, is a Buddhist college.

It’s not very big. The typical student body usually consists of about 12 students.

You can visit them and attend one of their weekend meditation retreats or work towards an acupuncture degree.

All this across the street from the place where we usually go to buy new washers for the faucet.

About a year ago or so, the township got it into its head that it would be nice to turn the short strip of road marked off by the back of The Mayor’s place up to the Buddhist college into a sort of well-lit area where citizens could sit on a bench or stroll with their kids. You know, a couple of fancy lamp posts, a brick road and some planters.

The whole thing takes up about half a block. But there was a great deal of fuss made about it, as only a small town can, with artist’s conceptions placed in the windows of the more popular stores during construction.

When they were finished, it looked a little like a Weeble Village. A brick road, flanked on both sides by ten black metal lamps that burn all night. No one seems to use it any more than usual, though, and the predicted parade of families out for a constitutional has yet to materialize. Maybe it needs a merry-go-round or something.

Anyway, I’m looking out the window at it the other night and it occurs to me that what we’ve got out there is a golden path to the Buddhist college, something which I think the Buddha might have appreciated.

As the house at the far end of this golden ladder, however, I can only assume we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

If you need us, we’ll be at the hardware store.


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