Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Burning up the Highway
Surfer Dude With Abandoned Sports Car—Circa 1975?
Well, I shouldn't listen to the news. Not very much, just enough to know what's going on. These constant reminders that my Toyota Corolla needs a new gas pedal are a bit much. I've been doing a LOT of driving lately. Burning up the highway between my home in Encinitas and my parent's town inland. I got the **&%# car ('scuse the language) because it looked so reliable, so dependable, so safe and comfortable.
Dang. That's how Samsara is. You head for comfort and safety and you're out of luck. It invariably ends up with me getting into more trouble. Might as well not even bother.
You know what that word Samsara is? It's a Buddhist term (Buddhist blogger here) for the circle of life and death. We supposedly go round and round again and again, suffering and creating and purifying karma until we've somehow learned—after lifetimes of work— enough to let go and become enlightened. "Samsara is an ocean of suffering, unendurable and unbearably intense", goes the line in a Buddhist prayer. We're supposed to be motivated by this to use our lives well. Sometimes it gets a bit heavy, though. You have to think about the other accompanying thoughts of joyful human birth, impermanence, and the law of cause and effect for it all to work out conceptually in a useful manner. These together are called the Four Thoughts, and they're the entrance to the Buddhist path.
Sigh. So I'm driving down the freeway in this Toyota listening to the radio—NPR and its constant reminders that my car is being recalled along with millions of others. It's not the most reassuring feeling. I know to put the car into neutral and gently apply both feet to the brake. I watch its acceleration. I drive way too slow.
But as I drive through coastal chaparral and past gentle hills and river valleys, I just try to keep it all in perspective. This too will pass. I just look at the clouds and the the sun on the land. Say a little prayer for everyone on the road and keep on driving.
Lots of love,