lac mahon, la peche, qc.

lac mahon, la peche, qc.
photo by graham law.

Friday, April 22, 2016

the lazy boy.

my life changed when i bought a reclining sofa-chair. it was virtually my first purchase in canada. i used to sleep in it, honestly, quite often. when it came time to die for the night, i would just catapult it all the way back, roll over and dissolve in a sea of absolute bliss consciousness, or maybe it was sloth and torpor, but let's not quibble. 

the night i returned from 23 years in india, i was allowed to use my parents' den. after getting into trouble for letting a fly into the apartment, for wagging my head 'like one of them hindooos' and for saying 'no problem no problem' too many times, i simply hid myself away. in the den there was a recliner, a piece of modern furniture the likes of which i had never experienced and it blew me outta the proverbial water. 

in india, you see, i was used to sleeping on thin straw mats, then thicker straw mats. eventually, i slept on lumpy futons, then thicker lumpier futons. i was a real yogi in those days, not like now. because as soon as i landed on this side of the great pond, on that recliner in that den on that very first weird night, i sank deep into an ocean of comfort, a sea of self-indulgence, and i had no intention of climbing out. the luxury washed over me, wave upon wave of coziness swallowed me and i renounced renunciation. i wanted one of them chairs, the quintessential symbol of western materialism. 

once happily, gratefully settled in beautiful bustling downtown wakefield, a recliner became a valued part of my decor. as i shuffled from shack to better shack, from house to better house, that recliner came along. eventually, i was able to purchase whole sofa sets, tables, nice clothes, eye glasses, even sparkling new teeth. heck, at one point i owned three houses, two trucks and a whole shopload full of fine furniture, art pieces and other semi useless stuff. but, it all began with that recliner.

there's a story about a yogi named narad whose teacher, one day, asked him to get a pitcher of water from the local well. once there, narad met a beautiful girl, fell in love, married, had children. of course, because he had a family, narad needed to build a house, buy cows and work very hard. then there came a year during which the monsoon rains were so harsh, so strong that the land flooded. crops, animals and buildings were swept away. narad's family climbed up to the roof and eventually the water rose to their knees. as they were being swept up in the torrent narad, holding tight to his children, called out: "lord, why have you forsaken me?!" then he heard the voice of his old teacher: "i just asked you for a pitcher of water."

that story means we should stay simple, unattached, let go our possessions, shave our heads. we should not marry or have children, build houses or buy cows. uuuhhh, actually no. that's a very old concept. it means we should remain simple, unattached... in our deepest understanding. it means we should completely know, while we completely enjoy the beauty of this world with all the ups and downs of the life, that this material existence is impermanent. that story illustrates the need to know that we own nothing at all, in reality, not even our bodies. that's true renunciation.

so anyway, about two weeks ago i whacked down on the foot-rest of my old recliner and the whole mechanism went outta whack. i guess i whacked the heck outta it. i don't recall what put me so outta whack. i only recall feeling like a damn fool. but, i had to face the fact that, after about eighteen wonderful years together, i no longer had my beloved recliner.  now i don't know what to do.

'grasping at things can only yield one of two results: either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear. it is only a matter of which occurs first. you must know that.' s.n. goenka.     

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