Jun 5, 2009

Attempt to surrender

He would like to be a saint or at least a buddha. He would like to be kenotic, empty of everything and still inside and at peace. He would like to give up, give up, give up the illusions he has anything he could hang on to, or any power over anything, any control. He would like to let it go, lose, be a loser like Jesus, and just get off this merry-go-round.

One time, he remembers, and this was really like his coming of age, the moment when it happened, he embarrassed his dad. He didn't mean to, but he did. What he did was he beat him. They were arguing, father and son, son who was too much like his father. They were having an argument and he made this move where the logic clicked and his dad was suddenly floundering, powerless, gracelessly foundering like a fat cow. His father's face went red. His father seemed to suddenly swell with anger and then explode, impotent, over everything. He watched the old man rage. The old man old now, in this red-faced sputter, demanding respect and other things which can't be demanded. He watched, silent inside his own head, zen still like a weed which knows no fear of a storm, and as he watched he thought, this man is powerless, but he didn't know it until now.

He watched a lot of men, growing up: Old men; working men; men with authority and without it; men who felt powerful and confident and spoke with a timbre of assumed triumph, and also men who rattled with fear and feelings of failure, who were racked by paranoia, conspiracy and suspicion. He saw a monk who spent his meditation time thinking about monastery politics, a drunk who was always ashamed, a rock star who wouldn't call his brother and another man, a business owner, who always wished he was the man his father was, because his father didn't care. He met these men and saw these men and he thought, all of them are afraid. All of them are afraid they're powerless and afraid they'll be found out, afraid they'll find out they're really fools, foolish and angry, lashing out without any effect, all their efforts running down the gutter and swirling into a drain. He watched them, growing up, and he thought about it and thought, it would be better just to admit you had no power.

He thought he would like to just surrender, to be a buddha about it. He thought he'd like to give up, like the martyrs who just accepted and said, so I lose, so I die, so this is how it is. He thought if he could do that, then he wouldn't be angry anymore, and he would be okay. He thought would like to be okay.

Then he heard an old woman say sharply, "Young man! Young man! I said I wanted paper bags!" The conveyor belt, engine grinding and burning, was backed up with groceries.