sacred books don’t go on the floor

our friend downtown has
a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita
the song of God
years ago I would
have been inclined to
tell him he needs to
get the As It Is version
I catch myself
hold my tongue
let sleeping dogs lie

I don’t have that
enthusiasm
anymore
guess you
could say
I’ve become
agnostic
don’t know
about God
being around
or existing
in the usual way
we would
think of Him
still I capitalize
like a nice
young man
I’m not trying
to be
offensive

see how
I step lightly?

I’ve been twisted up a bit
some of it I can
blame on others, always
some I can blame
on myself
then — there is the idea
I can only blame myself
for the way I handle
react to a circumstance
all of that is up to me, me, me
yes, a buddhist said this
someone pricks your arm with
a needle
your screaming out is
your own reaction
“they” caused the pain
YOU respond with suffering
get it?

it’s something to think about
I don’t know if it’s true
on all levels
it is high philosophy, for sure
which is useful in many
situations where a person
for example, realizes how
prone to violent, angry
outbursts they are…
and want to change it
yes, from there
it’s up to you how
you want to react

but with something
more extreme
someone bombs
my block
I’ll be thinking
a lot less about
how I’m causing
my own suffering

what I’m trying to do
here is balance
two sides of the idea
pros and cons

back to the old days
this wasn’t as easy for me
I was “young and impressionable”
I was hooked and joined pretty easily
my chain smoking mom, my dad
who had abandoned us…
it was not an aspiring environment
to say the least
the japa beads felt right in my hands
(and sometimes still do) and
there was the song of God
spiritual technologies, if you will —
there to latch onto and become
free from worldly attachments

ah…
here’s something to bite into
worldly attachments
first of all,
I was too young then to
have many, to really know
what that even meant
and therefore naturally assumed
all worldly attachments were
bad, evil, holding you down
I realize now an attachment
is holding on to something for awhile
which is what you have
fingers for
we become attached and even addicted
to things because we are passionate
and alive and cannot help developing
egos while we’re here

of course nothing lasts forever
and you can’t take anything
but your nose hairs with you to the grave
BUT AS YOU SPEND YOUR TIME HERE
why not put some love into something?

I’m not so sure material and spiritual life
are always so separate

or is it, as an As It Is purport said somewhere —
women are like drums for beating, less intelligent,
meant to be kept in line, meant to serve The Husband
since after all, the husband is purely following
the word of the Lord, and needs assistance?
a cog in the machine
the family unit so pleasing…

is it pleasing to God to play drums on people?

the idea is we’re all servants of something
why not serve God — where perfection is?
the twisted idea is
let’s go with: “some servants are more important
than others”
sounds like something out of Animal Farm

devotees backpedal out of the
whole women are less thing
say blah blah doesn’t really mean what it says
“I know it sounds that way, that’s just not what
it means. it means this…”
lies to the self. lies to the other self.

when dancing in the temple, most often women
have to stand in the back
take a lesser role
only when a temple is large enough
do they get to stand side by side
privileges!

. . .

I’ve been sitting here writing, stopping for a moment, breathing in honeysuckle air, listening to the dogs, lawnmowers going. a plane overhead. and I thought, I’m not interested in all of this, being in a movement concentrating on authority, who does what, who’s allowed to do this or that, who has such and such assignment, duty, and so on. I’m interested in metaphysics. isn’t that what brought me to the temple in the first place? isn’t that what should have brought me? maybe it was the food. still, food or metaphysics, not low aspirations. how then, did we get caught up in this, ISK-CONNED out of higher goals, believing less of ourselves?

there was a joke, “we hope there’s not an ISKCON in the sky.”

now that I look at it, it doesn’t surprise me that in September of 2001, many of the devoted started outspokenly becoming Bush worshippers. but it surprised me then. much of what seemed revolutionary to me at the time turned out only to be a batch of ideals backed by conservative “family men.”

. . .

usually only
write on
a piece of
paper
and not
a
particular
topic

that past
is the
past
after all
and
is not
a part
of me

true?

that is up to me
I think
subconsciously
what mostly
all of us do
is hold onto it
and depending
on our mindstates
we let it dig in
our sides
are limited
by past failures

but the past
does not
equal the present

by digging into my own past
I’m launching from it
cutting away
flying at
high speeds
going in
the direction I like
seeing the world
from new perspectives
enjoying new things
growing and perfecting
building striving reaching
climbing running gliding
smiling
breathing

my mom was so upset I was “joining a cult.” years later we would joke, Casey and I, “we’re cultists.” her pseudonym was “crazy cultist.” we wrote letters back and forth into a romance, and I moved to WV there for three short months to be with her until I couldn’t take it any more. it became clear it wasn’t so tongue and cheek after all. it was not a cult dramatized like on TV or Monkey on a Stick, but in small ways added up. then, it would have never occurred to us we were brainwashed — but we were. it just wasn’t thorough. it didn’t need to be. my good self would still shine through, but aspects of me were manipulated through an indoctrinated belief system. from there, I could go about as I liked, as an “individual,” so long as I obeyed the rules. someone talked me into talking myself into it.

I lived in
count em’
5 temples
over
an on/off
period of
10 years

I have boiled down the worthwhile things to:

  • there is much benefit in chanting and meditation
  • reincarnation seems likely
  • vegetarian/veganism is essential
  • music is incredibly powerful
  • writing and teaching in my own way seems to be my life path
  • sacred books don’t go on the floor

and I’m sure the list could extend a little further, but that’s all for now. I’ve cut the cult aspects out of my life and am left with Tulasi neck beads and a Neem wood expression on my face. I’m in my own domicile living out my own pipe dream, and that’s enough for now.

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