I’ve been back home from my trip for six days now, and it was hard at first to get settled back into my life here. I don’t live in the worst place in the world (far from it actually) but I do wish that this place was more cosmopolitan, and “worldly”. There’s nothing wrong with Americans (well, nothing much wrong, heh) but it gets tiresome when you hardly ever meet anybody else from a foreign country. I also miss having decent conversations with people about real, meaningful things. I have found that Americans (well, at least the ones here in this state) prefer to keep things on a nice and civil superficial level all the time. Perhaps the fault is mine (am I just too intense?) but why do people never talk about their thoughts and feelings? Why is it so hard to get to know an American? Sometimes I wonder if there is even anything to get to know. I am aware, by the way, that this is a huge generalization, so there’s no need to berate me in the comments section. Yes, I know there are cool Americans out there! But I do think that my general impression is correct.
But, whatever, I digress. The main point I wanted to make in this post is that my trip out of town led to one of my all-too-familiar bouts of feeling dissatisfied with my life and myself. Ever since I arrived in this city in 2004, I’ve been plotting my escape. I’ve always wanted to move to New York City, but, well, for various reasons (some grounded in reality, some fear-based), I never did. But instead of throwing myself heart-and-soul into life in this city, I’ve sort of stayed on the sidelines, thinking to myself “This place is not for me”. You know what? I’m right, it’s not. I will never feel at home here; I can spend nine days in NYC and feel more connected and at home there than I ever have to this place in the nine years I’ve spent here. I should leave this city, no doubt about it. But, nonetheless, I could have definitely enjoyed my time here more than I did. It has always felt like a limbo, somewhere I just happened to be until something better came along.
I feel that this could be a metaphor for my life. I have an complete inability to live in the moment. Even when I’m doing something enjoyable (like this – blogging), I’m worrying about what I need to get done afterwards. Happiness is, for me, something that will only happen in the future when circumstances have aligned so that everything in my life is perfect: perfect creativity; perfect spirituality; perfect relationship; perfect body; perfect house; perfect city…and on..and on. This craving for perfection is ruining my life.
I haven’t meditated since before going on my trip, but I plan to meditate for thirty minutes right after this blog post. I’m kinda hoping that meditation/buddhism will help me learn how to enjoy the moment. But having this thought just leads to a whole different kind of worry. You’re not supposed to get into meditation/Buddhism with the idea that you’ll get something out of it, are you?! (Lazy Buddhist, thoughts?) Isn’t this just a form of Spiritual Materialism?! According to the Wikipedia entry on Spiritual Materialism, it is:
Spiritual materialism is the belief that a certain temporary state of mind is a refuge from suffering. An example would be using meditation practices to create a peaceful state of mind, or using drugs or alcohol to remain in a numbed out or a blissful state. According to Trungpa, these states are temporary and merely heighten the suffering when they cease. So attempting to maintain a particular emotional state of mind as a refuge from suffering, or constantly pursuing particular emotional states of mind like being in love, will actually lead to more long term suffering.
Now, as a Sex and Love Addict, I totally agree that craving the high of being in love just leads to more suffering, but is it really so bad for me to come to meditation/Buddhism with the desire that I will eventually manage to calm down my crazy thoughts? True, this desire is egotistical in that I want to make my life better, but I would also like to be a better person so that everybody around me benefits, too. I fail to see how anybody could end up following a Buddhist path without having had some desire to change themselves for the better. Maybe I’m wrong-headed but why would I plonk myself down on my arse for thirty-minutes to an hour each day for no fucking reason? Hell yeah I want to get something out of it!
Sheesh. Apparently I have a craving to stop the craving.