Discipline is a bitch. And a half. Ya ever noticed that?
My vegetarianism lasted just as long as I didn’t have to eat anything yucky. My non-consumerism lasted just as long as my poverty. They were surprisingly easy to discard once they no longer suited my lifestyle or my whims. And meditation…let’s not even go there. I haven’t been able to maintain a daily practice for, well, ever actually. I came somewhat close last summer while I was living at the mountain center in the company of a sangha, but that fizzled out once the novelty wore off and the tediousness set in.
I’ve never much bothered with trying for force myself into something I don’t want to do. Oh, I try from time to time. I talk myself into all sorts of things. I’ll turn over a new leaf. Tomorrow, of course, always tomorrow. Someone I once knew liked to say “If you’re not having fun, go do something else,” and isn’t that always the way I’ve lived my life? That’s samsara I guess. Chase the blue butterfly when the red one isn’t pretty enough anymore.
But trying to force yourself into something you’re not, isn’t that just another type of chasing? Another way to deny the perfection of the perfect moment? And if I deny discipline, because after all the present moment is “perfect,” isn’t that just an apathetic copout?
Maybe. Yeah. But the Buddha (really smart guy, that one) had this thing he called the Middle Way. It’s what I like to think of as the “do what you can” doctrine. So that just leads to the question “What can I do?
Well, I’m renewing my commitment to vegetarianism by gradually eliminating meat from my diet. Never too strict, no hard and fast rules. My brother even let the cat out of the bag at a recent family gathering, so maybe I’ll test my new-found veggie-ism next time Grandma serves pot roast and see how that goes. I also want to buy less prepackaged food, more fresh veggies and cheeses, learn to cook a few more things.
I think I had consumerist whiplash this spring, because I spent a lot of money. Clothes, shoes, furniture, books, just plain fun, and it was fun too, but in the end I really don’t think I was that much happier, and now I’ve basically blown whatever little rainy day money I might have had. I’m coming up on a new semester, which always means a massive lump sum financial aid check. I also secured a contract to continue work with Rocky Mountain Institute in the fall, for a good hourly wage. As a result, I’ve turned down the teaching assistantship which would have had me driving 380 miles a week (Yay!). I’m determine to be more responsible and stash some away for emergencies, to do my best to live off my earnings, and to plan all my purchases in advance, save, and budget well.
As for meditation…well, I’m still not even gonna go there.