Have you started in on the annual holiday regret yet?
In my pile of unread books lies the undoubtedly noble Ramana Maharshi’s True Happiness. It was there with three westerns by Larry McMurtry some time ago, but they’ve moved on. With Christmas came Stephen King’s End of Watch, though, and now King’s mindscape sits on top with a bookmark near the end. Maharshi’s teachings probably have glittering mental gems far more precious than the muck and turmoil of what I’ve been reading. But I still don’t know.
Maharshi’s kind portrait only gently chides me. It’s my mental accuser that mutters angrily.
I started this morning listening to some meditative music, but that was defeated by Hank Williams Jr. after a while. Junk food of spirit, certainly it wasn’t right view blasted by the computer speakers.
In fact, since this has turned into some sort of spiritual-failure confessional, I admit that I have been stirred to anger multiple times this holiday season. I don’t want meat products in my house, even if people bring them as gifts when they come, even if some of my guests eat meat. Nobody has a right to eat meat when alternatives are ready available, and certainly not in my home. Scowl.
Such darkness, right? And preference, obeisance to the ego. Undoubtedly. Remember we did this last year, and the year before? As much as celebration, annual holiday regret is a well-established tradition.
Shall we claim a right for indulgence because the holidays are upon us? We could turn inwardly to the accuser and admit that it is right, that we should do better, but that we’ve somehow earned treats. We might even call our inner argument self-compassion or self-love, while we’re at it. We deserve it.
Or, shall we say that there is no darkness in whatever we did that was impure? We could deny the accusations, say these things are only human. We could say that some spiritual guru even once preferred asparagus, and that’s the same. Just doing the best we can, coping.
Or, best and worst of all, perhaps we shall sit around and feel badly about ourselves? Accept the truth of the inner accusations and limp miserably through the holidays until we start to forget all that we’ve done.
None of that works, and we all know it by now. The darkness and preference are not the problem. The entire struggle lies in the inner conflict, in our response to the accuser. No matter how we proceed with our dialogue, no matter the response we give, the entire issue of self-value comes about from that invisible interaction. But it’s illusion – it’s absolutely false and unreal. The sky is unaffected by clouds, we are unaffected by our inner weather. But we feed the storm with our attention.
If we’ve made mistakes, let’s admit our errors and learn from them. There’s no point to rationalization, self-pity, or flagellation. Especially if we intend to indulge our darkness and preference again.
I sit peacefully, amused for a second, watching the waterfalls of my choosing cascade through my mind. Look – there a parable of spiritual possession, there a call for whiskey that rings an inner longing in me, there a brief flaring vegan anger. Watch the tumbling forms and their strange rippling in these inner seas.
Sit with me, friend, and watch how the inner accuser crumbles and flails as it sinks into the mud. It’s a show, inner storms and fireworks, but there is no correlation to the beauty of the dawn. And that beauty of the dawn, love and grace and the Beloved, that is the light of consciousness. That is the truth.
If you do not grant mental habits legitimacy, they collapse as sand castles before the tide.
I think I’ll get some tea and finish King’s book outside, it’s a lovely day.