Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun-loving Buddha

Well, I signed up for a course on The Artist's Way last weekend, knowing I really need to de-stress more.  It hasn't started yet, but I got out the book, which is graced by my comments and underlining from whoa, 1995, at which time doing the morning pages led me into channeling a novel written by my cat - Sherlock Here: Memoirs of the World's Most Educated Cat.  Flipping through The Artist's Way yesterday I noticed an exercise toward the back on having fun, and this morning I got up with it in my head.

I got warmed up as I answered the six questions.  When I took a break for 8:00 a.m. pills - immunosuppressants, which suppressed my immune system so much that I ended up in the ER twice over Christmas, and have had to take 3 (three) big antibiotics in a row, so you can see I need some fun in my life.

Inspired, I started creamed hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, as I had remembered how much I used to enjoy cooking, and haven't made those for years.  My answers turned up a kind of cute childlike desire to put together a cool spring wardrobe - I got more and more drab as I got too sick to bother.  I thought of compiling a list of my 100 favorite songs from teen years. (Born in 1942, I was just on the cusp of rock 'n roll, a great place to be.)  Maybe doing my version of those songs, harmonizing with myself - there's a spiritual idea.  Learning to take and edit video.

Fun.  Fun-loving Buddha.  It sounds weird, doesn't it?  Maybe it's the fact that I have practiced only in the Zen tradition - I have a sense Tibetans are less restrained - but it seems like people think being spiritual is a very serious matter.  (I am trying to imagine a laughing Kanzeon.)  You're supposed to be calm.  How do you have fun being calm? I wondered.

"What do you do for fun?"  Somewhere in this mess I have a book in which an older Japanese Zen Master writes about not having fun, never, not even knowing WTF fun is.  He seemed annoyed that a student would ask such a dumb question.  I can't find this book, though I don't remember burning it while dancing around the flames, no, I would never burn a book.  But I suppose the idea is that an enlightened person finds all of life delightful and joyous.  They talk a lot about Joy in Buddhism, but the only person I know of who's talking about fun is James Baraz, who advocates laughter and music.  And Lama Surya Das has reminded a student that playing jazz is his practice.  I bought the Baraz book last year, but read it while in the uremic haze of advanced renal failure, so I don't remember much.  It wasn't working for me, though it looks like the in-person classes would.  After all, isn't it amusing to think of studying fun with a book?  Study fun:  an oxymoron.

Time for my 9:30 pills.  I think there are 19 of them now that I added acidopholus to invite some friendly bacteria to my digestive system, after the onslaught of all those antibiotics.  And cranberry supplement to try to make my bladder unfriendly to colonizing e-coli. You can see, can't you, why I need more fun in my life?


  1. I love the Artist's Way! I did a 12-week group in about 1995 too! Looking forward to hearing all about your Artist Dates and your journey to befriend fun.

  2. Uremic Haze; a song Jimi Hendrix might have written?