Monday, August 25, 2014

Facebook, Junk Food, Suffering, Compassion, and Robin Williams


The hole I dig is bottomless but nothing else can set me free...
Robert Pollard, I Am a Scientist

It is true we love life; not because we are wont to live, but because we are wont to love.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Sprach Zarathustra
 
...a friend posted something on Facebook about how baffling it is to see people...middle-class, educated...who should know better in this day and age...eating at McDonalds...I told him I could relate...it’s the same way I feel about cigarettes, and people who don’t exercise beyond the effort required to walk to the car or find the remote....but that a lotta people I know feel the same way when they see people eating pizza...(which my friend passionately loves)...(real pizza...not that soy crap)...

Dairy and gluten and grease, oh my!
Dorothy Gale, The Yoga Teacher of Oz

 ...of course, thinking about it much at all makes me realize how little room I have to judge...(to paraphrase Bob Dylan, if the full extent of my unmindful consumption could be seen, the granola crowd’d probably put my head in some kinda earnest, self-righteous, painfully passive-aggressive equivalent of a guillotine)...especially since, with a PhD and a decade or so in the crunchy, life-affirming yoga world, I know, like, waaaay better...

 If I don’t know I don’t know
 ....................................I think I know
If I don’t know I know
                                     I think I don’t know
R.D. Laing, Knots

 ...really, I said, what I think it comes down to is that life is hard....(realizing, in retrospect that I might’ve been unconsciously plagiarizing something Kurt Vonnegut wrote about why we keep destroying our environment even though we know better)...(or maybe it was somebody else, and I’m still unconsciously plagiarizing)...(and so the list of my sins of consciousness or the lack thereof continues to grow)...

...I mean...I’m more than aware that a handful of raw organic kale grown in the backyard garden I’m too lazy to cultivate, in an extremely rural region where with a minimal quantity of carcinogens and other toxins in the rain and groundwater, would be a far better choice on just about every truly conscious kinda level than a cupcake or a beer...and yet, I’m probably gonna both eat the cupcake and drink the beer, anyway, for the sheer momentary pleasure of it...(though I will put a handful of store-bought-and-probably-not-organic-‘cause-that-shit’s-too-expensive kale in my daily smoothie)....just like I won’t spend nearly as much  time meditating as I do getting into idiotic arguments with relative strangers on-line...

...with so many sinkin’ now you gotta keep thinkin’ you can make it through these waves:
acid booze and ass, needles guns and grass, lotsa laughs...
Joni Mitchell

 ...and that’s because, deep down, to be painfully honest, no matter how many positive Buddhist quotes I might like to recite while people are holding poses for five minutes at a time in Yin class about the wonder and sheer illimitable awesomeness of the present moment, it doesn’t seem worth it...with so much despair lurking in the recesses of mind and body, those little things that help us through through the minutes of the day, things we love, even if they don’t benefit us in the long run, can't be so easily forsaken...

...Thoreau wrote that most of us live lives of quiet desperation...(and Pink Floyd, somehow, a hundred years later, appropriated that and called it the English way)....Freud’s death instinct...mean, grumpy old thanatos...often powerful as the life instinct, more upbeat and personable eros...sometimes more...no matter how many ridiculous positive affirmations we in the yoga crowd try to force-feed ourselves when we’re not trying to blame it all on being modern and western and thus trying to shed our modern western skins...(without realizing, of course, that there’s really nothing more modern or western than the romanticism that causes us to think that becoming ancient and the far away other will cure us of our despair)...(and now, it seems, I’m pointing the finger of self-righteous judgment in the opposite direction)....(I’ll stop)...(but not quite yet)...
 
...(here, without further ado, is my own painfully pissed off and horribly self-righteous Facebook post from a week ago, following the news of Robin Williams, dead of chronic despair: If there's one aspect of the yoga world that I absolutely loathe, it's how many people there are—including teachers, yoga bloggers with tens of thousands of "likes," and major revered gurus--who seem to think they're experts on depression even though they clearly know absolutely nothing about it—thinking it's synonymous with being bummed out and can be fixed with positive affirmations or an "attitude adjustment" (clearly unaware that depression might be defined as the inability to take on a positive attitude), or that it's synonymous with sadness, and thus, is something we all experience from time to time and should be seen as a natural and beautiful part of life. No, it isn't. And if you don't know that, you should keep your mouth shut on the subject, no matter how many people fawn on you and tell you how wise and spiritual you are.....harsh, but, if nothing else, it’s my own blood in which I’m writing)...

....ultimately, I think it all points to the incredible necessity for compassion...for all of us...in all of our junk-food eating, time-wasting, un-compassionate, judgmental, self-righteous, sometimes flat-out nasty glory....because of all that, in fact...because we have pain and because we all do what we do, however unmindful, however counterproductive, to make ourselves feel better...right here, right now...

4 comments:

Meredith LeBlanc said...

Me: avocado fries, peanut butter cups, & fast cars.

I'm positive that I affirm to know what makes me happy & sad, but I can't name it for anyone else.

the walking man said...

i wish positive affirmations or just giving in to the pleasure of the moment fixed depression. But it fucking doesn't. The only fix i know for depression is don't let on that one has been depressed for 20 fucking years,

MCK allDAY said...

Thank you. I often read your writing. I am a fan. I've never commented before. I used yoga to fix my pain. Sometimes nothing works. Like today, I'm wearing my sadness like a 300 lb jacket. Getting out of bed is too strenuous . I find a lot of the yoga world to be phony and wrapped up in ego, vanity and bs feel good sayings some guru or poet wrote. Look at me. I'm so compassionate and enlightened when most cases, they're neither. I was meant to read your blog today. I felt understanding.

Lydia said...

Catching up some here at your blog because I felt the need. Not that you are my guru or anything like that, Jay, but I must admit when I am feeling really down and I think to come read you that I leave feeling more connected with myself. And chocolate ice cream does not do that for me. Namaste' :)