okay, so over the last week or two, I've been getting the weirdest emails from friends, people I've known and loved and goofed off with and confided in, for years and years....
& who're recently writing stuff to me like "oh, I'd love to tell you about Burning Man this year but I think it's too frenetic for you, you won't want to hear about it..." or that maybe I hadn't seen such and such a movie because of its violence.
(somehow the implication is that I don't have normal tastes and enjoyment of stuff in the world, because I've been holed up in an ashram studying spirituality for five years.... like I've fallen out of the human race entirely, or off the edge of the world or something.)
it's kind of stunning -- the judgments and ideas people toss my way because of this spirituality thing.
like I've suddenly gone bizarrely self-righteous, sanctimonious, anhedonic, and rigid in my attitudes -- and -- worst accusation of all! -- that I've maybe LOST my sense of humor...!!!!
(when in my view and experience, deep spirituality creates exactly the OPPOSITE effect in people who're serious about it....)
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POLITICAL SLINGS & ARROWS
the strangest one was someone today writing me that they don't forward political jokes and other internet chatter about the American elections to me because I probably am not interested in such 'mundane' considerations, what with my spiritual path and all.
so, to get this straight once and for all -- I'm terribly interested in American (and international) politics -- you can take the girl out of the political junkie arena, but you can't take the political junkie out of the girl, it seems.... (in fact, I just submitted my absentee ballot to my local county clerk in California, so my vote will count in the up-coming presidential election in the U.S.)
I watched all three presidential debates (and the VP one) on the internet, start to finish, and read the related commentaries.
I follow the NY Times online, the Washington Post, and Salon.com -- and Newsweek online & The Nation, for fun.
one of my favorite political touchstones is www.davidcorn.com, a fantastic blog written by David Corn, Washington Editor for The Nation, author of Bush Lies, and long-standing acquaintance of mine.
I'm really pissed that Fahrenheit 9/11 is available on DVD and I don't have a copy of it -- haven't even seen it, yet.
Christ's famous instruction to his disciples, 'be in this world, but not of it,' is a brilliant summation of the spiritual destiny in life -- okay, I don't take all of it as seriously as I once did, I DO perceive the illusion-nature in the political frays, etc., BUT at the same time, I do live in this world and, so far as I can reasonably ascertain, I will BE living in this world for quite a while to come -- so I still need to be conversant with what's going on in it, how the pieces fit together, and what that pesky zeitgeist is doing next.
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A FEW MORE CAGE-RATTLES, JUST TO CLEAR THIS ALL UP:
I'm a HOPELESS movie addict.
in fact, it's probably safe to say (I don't think I'm violating any initiate vows or international treaties by revealing this,) most of us at this ashram are. we buy DVDs and VCDs (the cheap Asian equivalent) and we trade them around like baseball cards or lending libraries, watching them on our laptops.
even Kaleshwara, my spiritual master, used to send us off, in the old days (a few years ago) to hotels to just chill out, eat room service food, and watch movies for a few days. our specific instructions were to watch movies as much as possible, and to do no meditation, no spiritual work of any kind.
we used to call it The Movie Diksha. (diksha=spiritual process rules)
90% of spiritual success depends on relaxation, and anything a person can do, especially in these high spiritual channels, to relax and take it easy (despite illness, burning hot flashes, emotional melt-downs, physical aches & pains, life traumas like running out of money or being rejected by family and friends) -- anything one can do to relax is valid. and even NECESSARY.
these days, I'm watching on average one full-length feature film a day.
to date, I've ploughed through:
* 5 seasons of Sex & The City
* 3 seasons of The West Wing television series
* 2 seasons of Sports Night
* the HBO production of Angels & America
* most of the great movies made in the last few years.
it's been REALLY exciting to discover sources in the US (two good friends, but I can't tell you their names, though, or otherwise....) who're willing to copy, onto DVD, films of all kinds and genres, and send them to us in India!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've been working my way through Woody Allen movies, as well as old black & white classics such as High Noon, Hepburn & Tracy comedies, and...joy of joys - Bugs Bunny cartoons!
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ONE FINAL ADMISSION
an embarrassing highlight of my relentlessly pop-culture life: getting the latest copy of Vanity Fair magazine. I always pick one up in Singapore when I go there. now that students of mine and Jonathan's are starting to come from Singapore to visit the ashram, THEY'RE bringing Vanity Fair copies for us!
contrary to all expectations....
I still DO have a sense of humor.... somewhere.....
wait, lemme see where I PUT that sucker................