Till We have Built Jerusalem
I've written several (unposted) pages over the past couple days arguing with the Chris-Clarke-in-my-head about political reality. I don't post most of my political writing. Other people do that much better, most of the time. My rants are sometimes clever (I'm a dab hand at insults, actually, and gifted with creative obscenity -- Martha often laments that my best remarks generally can't be repeated in polite company, or really any company at all) -- where was I? (Lost in the parenthetical. Right.) -- My rants are sometimes clever, but they're not very rich in facts and after letting them stew awhile they generally turn out not to smell very good. So I dump them.
The gist of my argument with Chris is that the proportion of human suffering and ecological damage that can be affected by policy (of any sort, however effective, which is always a dubious proposition) is rather small. That the proportion that can be affected by cultivating meditative peace and self-understanding is relatively large. But mostly, of course, I just don't want to look like a selfish self-absorbed jerk. It's not really worth arguing much. Buddhism as a political program? Well, China was largely Buddhist for centuries, back when it was the heart of the civilized world, and it doesn't seem to have cured the world's ills, or even China's. The beat goes on. Let Chris do his work, and I mine. The first one to create universal peace, prosperity & good will, with a sustainable economy, a sound ecology, and a thriving wilderness wins. Loser buys dinner.
I've been happy a lot today. That sensation -- do other people get this? -- of insubstantiality. I can feel the air blowing through me, stirring my insides faintly like a curtain in breath of night-air, the light and air of the world barely impeded by my corporeal boundaries. Sticking with daily meditationfor a couple weeks seems to increase the frequency of this sensation. But I got it even when I was quite a young child. A presence. Or maybe an absence, I don't know.
Fare forward, you who think you are traveling.