The Spiritual Development Game
Keaau Beach, Hawaii
March 26 `73
It was another beautiful day. My invitation to join a yoga class
continued to produce benefits, even though I hadn’t gone to class yet.
I couldn’t stop thinking about my own philosophy and the parallel
stuff that was both in it and in Eastern philosophies. Negation seemed
to be at the heart of everything.
It had been a while since I had come to the conclusion that negation
was at the center, lying dormant, of all meaning and purpose. Life was
“just a moving on.” There was nothing there except the “stuff that
moved ya,” and kept you breathing. Beyond survival, and sense
gratification, nothing else really mattered. There was expedience, but
forget about good and evil, right and wrong. For the people who had
it, opportunity and advantage worked swell. But, for those who didn’t,
things were not so good. The message was, as it always had been,
change things if you could, otherwise endure, endure, and endure some
more. It was your trip; enjoy the ride—if you could. But be aware,
like the clouds in the sky, nothing changes, it just moves around.
That was it; if you could rearrange the dust and keep everything mixed
up, and you’re a good liar, you might actually make yourself believe
that things were getting better. Be my guest; just don’t expect me to
join in on the chorus.
I guessed that was why I liked Buddhism so much. It cut to the chase.
Suffering was it; suffering was everything. When you looked at things
that way, life was so simple. There was no holding on to the “good
stuff.” In the end, everything either broke down or died. Buddhism
offered some hope, though. It said, “Do this and that,” and the pain
would go away. It wasn’t boastful either. It said, “There is `a way’
to end suffering; take it or leave it.” I liked that, short and sweet.
A couple of days ago, Babbet came to see me. I wanted to talk about
Eastern philosophy; she just wanted to talk, and she did. I listened.
When I met her again, we did talk about yoga, but it wasn’t good. She
had appointed herself my spirit guide. I had very few contacts with
people that were into Eastern religion. I knew religion could become
an opiate if you let it, but I really wanted to join the yoga class. I
also knew I would do it with caution.
Down on the beach lived a group of Jesus freaks, three guys and two
girls. They kept themselves busy reading their Bibles, but when I
walked past them they would smile and sometimes wave. Yesterday, I
guess I got a little too close because the leader came forward to
greet me. He was a dark-skinned Hawaiian with dread locks hanging
down to his shoulders. He had a condescending attitude towards me, but
it was nothing substantial. I guessed he just wanted to save me. Our
conversation was important because it got me thinking that maybe I
also had a condescending attitude towards him. After all, I wasn’t new
to the spiritual development game.
Sure enough, after a bit of introspection, I concluded that I too was
harboring feelings of spiritual superiority. I guess that was
inevitable. I was into Eastern philosophy both before, and after, I
glimpsed the nothingness at the center of being. It was only natural
to hook my wagon up to that program, which had spiritual development
built right into it. Once I latched onto their ideas, I automatically
felt myself on the fast track to somewhere. It was anybody’s guess
where– enlightenment, bliss, salvation, disappointment…?
After talking with the Jesus guy, I became aware of what I was doing,
and fell back to earth (or was it the abyss?). I still had “my ideas,”
and I believed in them, but they ceased to be progressive; there was
“no footing in nothingness.” There was no way out of emptiness. I had
not met the Yogi yet, but his influence had already made an impact on
me. I would be ready for him at my first class.