This past weekend was a decent one. I spent an inordinate amount of time sleeping. Went to bed around 11:30 on Friday night, after getting out of work around 8:30, which precluded any trip up to the Adirondacks. Got up around 1 or so on Saturday (yes, in the afternoon) and had to have my brother stop by and jump start my car. Man, was I glad I wasn’t in the Adirondacks for that call!
After John jumped my car, I threw my laundry in and received a call from my mother – her battery had died and she needed to pick up a new one from the Toyota dealership. So I picked her up and we got her battery and installed it. I drove straight from there to the Pep Boys in Paterson and got myself a new battery (and installed it). No more battery issues for me after that.
After my laundry was done and I had eaten, I took a shower and picked up John and then Scott to head in to Astoria for Katie’s birthday party. We all had a fantabulous time. Well, Scott and I did. John was ludicrously drunk (ah, memories) and fully succeeded in embarrassing himself. The DJ played 80s and 90s hair and regular metal and (some dance) and Denny and Brad (guitar and djembe) played a set that Katie designed. Pretty excellent, overall. As always, I was humbled that Katie’s friends all remembered me and were happy to see me. It was very cool to see them as well and spend some more time hanging out.
Scott, John and I left around 1:30 or 2 and I dropped those fuckers back off at their respective apartments.
Scott showed up at my house at 8:30 on Sunday morning so that we could head off to the puja at 10. The puja was pretty excellent. That’s a yoga prayer service, for those of you who are as uninitiated as I was prior to Sunday (well, truth be told, I knew what a puja is before that – just hadn’t been to one before). After the puja was a satsang with Swami Ramananda of the Integral Yoga Institute of New York City. In between, we did a bunch of chanting. Overall, a very fly way to spend a bunch of hours in a row. I particularly dug the chanting.
After that, Scott and I had lunch at Whole Foods (my Burger King) and discussed the puja and satsang. Then we went to Ramsey Outdoor Store and visited our stuff.
I got home around 5 or so and fell asleep shortly thereafter. I woke up around 10 to put my pyjamas on and got up in time to be not as late to work as I usually am.
Both Scott and I were aware of the fact that we were not particularly self-conscious during the puja, chanting or satsang – when once we would have been incredibly so.
Being around a group of people dedicated to a particular spiritual path was pretty cool. It wasn’t very much like going to church – there were only about 10 people there (including Scott and me) and it was relatively informal. Very comfortable. Normally, I’d feel out-of-place and would have spent the time measuring my own spirituality against the people there – comparing and coming to the conclusion that I really should be along their spiritual path (and farther along on it, for that matter). Or finding my own spirituality coming up short.
Not so this past Sunday. I was very comfortable with the whole situation. I was comfortable in my own spirituality and felt no need to compare. For the most part, I spent my time identifying aspects of my own spirituality with what was displayed and discussed among the others around me. But at no point did I feel inferior. And this had nothing to do with anyone else present – not I caught any kind of condescending vibe anyway – it was entirely due to the fact that I was cool with me.
I don’t really know that I can describe my spiritual path to you, dear reader, but I must be doing something right if I was able to hang out with that bunch of yogis and be pretty comfortable with myself.
I lean a lot on zen stuff, but I can’t really say that I’m a Zen Buddhist. I’ve read a bunch about zen, but I think the more I read – treatises and whatnot – the less I’m learning. For me, zen means simplicity. It means that if I think I know something, I really don’t. That there’s no such thing as ‘understanding.’ That if I think I get it, well, that’s the surest proof that I don’t. That there’s nothing but the here and now. Nothing beyond it. That life is meant to be lived and experienced. That’s it.
Be kind, be grateful and live.