Sunday, January 08, 2012

Simplicity is a Struggle-some Dance

I don't like buying & owning & taking care of excess property, but go where things are sold & I get the twitchy desire to buy something. Anything. Even in the monastery, avarice constantly whispered in my ear, just like it does with everyone everywhere else. It really helped to have a tiny, monastic allowance to cover all my personal care products, clothes, etc (I entered seriously lacking in black garments and we were required to dress well). My desire might twitch, but my purse, being empty, could not answer.

Of course, one of the big disjunctions between the older sisters' words & deeds was their attachment to property. It was easy to dismiss, though. We were all there to struggle with our ego issues, I thought. If that was theirs, it was none of my business. Eventually, I understood that they were not kidding when calling themselves "free of ego" (to quote the oldest sister). Being "free of ego" they had no issues to struggle with. Their love of property was, therefore, a monastic value - as was every other personality foible & ego-attachment. Still, I could swim in the freedom of not owning stuff - 'though it  was a grind that we were required to pour our life energy into care of the monastery's excess property.

Now I am poor-ish, but have some cash, not to mention the need to fill the material needs of myself & my dependent uncle. Buying & owning still feel uggy, but not feeding the desire to buy is a bigger problem.


Seven years post monastery, I constantly struggle to find balance. It is necessary to own some stuff - in & out of the monastery. It is convenient to own other stuff. 

An incessant, judgmental, inner dialog creates just as much mental fog as being pulled hither & yon by freewheeling indulgence in desire. Clarity lets the light in. Space for breath lets the wind blow through. Taking things easy opens a silence where still, small voices can be heard. So where is the balance? Not attaching is one thing. Not attaching to the desire not to attach is another.

double sigh.

What if this struggle for balance is all that our job entails? What if we are not here to achieve some angelic freedom from ego so we can coast through earthly life until our spirit is ready to give this body up?  Perhaps instead, our job is only to knowingly engage in the struggle. I hope this is so 'cause "engage in the struggle" is the one thing I can actually do.


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