I couldn't resist this title! This morning putting on my T shirt:
'I like this T-shirt; I've had it for years and it has lasted very well'. I commented to DC.
'And we never tire of seeing you you in it.' He returned.
'I'd wear the same things all the time...' I started.
'No you wouldn't, we wouldn't let you.' He returned. He probably could see I was slipping into an anti fashion rant.
'There is just a fetish for change. The universe is changing all the time, there is no need to seek change for its own sake. It's about two different types of desire; the universe's natural desire for things to happen, which is the desire that makes trees grow way up there and the kind of desire which is like chasing a carrot on a stick' I said.
'That's your fire and brimstone Zen' DC said.
Now, I stopped and reflected on that. Because for me 'fire and brimstone' has a negative connotation. Negative because it is judgmental and more often than not preached by those with a fragile, maladjusted egoistic self lacking in compassion. Or to put it an other way, those who in one way or an other are
chasing some kind of a carrot; a carrot promising salvation by being better than others. Was I coming from some unwholesome attachment and if so to what? Two risks come to mind; 1) propping up a self by being better than those 'less spiritual' - spiritual materialism and 2) lack of engagement with pleasurable things (as they naturally arise) in order not to have to deal with the subsequent loss when they go. In all honesty I think I can answer no to both of these. I like
the things I like to stay the same; I don't want a different version just for the change, I find that sort of change tiresome. This is the attachment for me; I like consistency, I am averse to a lot of change. And this was my point; things change all the time, we don't need to press the accelerator and fuel it with carrot chasing desire. Too much of life has been steered by the belief that we do and I would argue that the whole financial crisis we are all now facing is as a result of this. I put on more clothes. I like the feeling of thinking I look good in some item of clothing. I like my T-shirt, blue 501 jeans, and trainers look. I know it's a bit dated but I like to think it's also a bit timeless; the sort of look that actually still looks viable in photos ten, twenty, thirty years later. This I think is the mark of good aesthetics; the test of time. Fashion by its very nature dates.
Of the three poisons (which in Buddhism are ignorance, attachment and aversion,) aversion is probably the one that gets a hold over (the ignorant self of) me! Recently I've realised that a lot of my difficulties have come from what might be seen as a lack of desire and an excess of aversion. A lack of desire? Can that be right? No; it's not lack of desire it's probably more lack of interest. More specifically lack of interest in what seems to be on offer and lack of imagination to do something about it. Which is to judge that I am not making the most of life. Umm... that sounds like a trap... And one without much self compassion. Judgmental and lacking in compassion... fire and brimstone. It seems I might be coming from some unwholesome place after all...! The mirror having no stand and no place for dust to land is still there waiting to be dusted!