The Problem With Buddhism is…

Am I going to get kicked out of the Buddhist Club for writing this? For even thinking this?

Am I going to get kicked out of the Buddhist Club for writing this? For even thinking this?

Okay, I admit that most Buddhists worth their saffron robes would never start a sentence with, “The problem with Buddhism is…” but:

  1. I’m not a full-fledged, hairless, be-robed, monastery-lounge-lizardy, mediate-till-my-butt-is-numb Buddhist (you can probably tell that by the way I just described serious Buddhists)
  2. I’ve only been practicing Buddhism for about five years and this is a very complex system of principles and philosophies thousands of years old with strange Sanskrit words meant to befuddle even non-dizzy blondes
  3. What I do understand about Buddhism is great and has changed my life mostly for the good except for this one thing. And it’s a big one.

Buddhists are really big on mindfulness. Not as in “mind the stop sign up ahead” so much (although that’s important, too), but as is pay excruciatingly close attention to every moment, thought, feeling, behavior. Don’t judge any of it. Just notice all of it.

Every single moment. Every single thing. You're just supposed to say "Wow! Look at that. I just did that or I I just felt that." Now would someone please change my diapers?

Every single moment. Every single thing. You’re just supposed to say “Wow! Look at that. I just did that or I I just felt that.” Now would someone please change my diapers?

Do you see the problem with this? First you’re supposed to put yourself under a microscope and then you’re not supposed to have any judgments about the crap-basket of crazy that you discover. And this is supposed to bring an end to suffering? Buddha…Old Buddy…Bubala. Did you really mean for this to end suffering?

You know I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t find something disturbing in my relentless self-observation. The fact that I’m disturbed means I’ve already failed at the non-judging part, but since I noticed this, I must be doing something Buddhist-ish. This is a very flexible and forgiving practice, as long as you pay attention to how you’re violating its principles.

He or she could be violating any number of Buddhist principles. If I knew most of them, I could tell you which ones.

He /she is probably violating some important Buddhist principles. If I knew most of them, I could tell you which ones. Suffice it to say that if he/she is human at least a few dozen Buddhist principle are being violated , saffron robe or not.

Anyway this is about me, not some random he/she-Buddhist chilling out on a mountain top.

I live in the real world. Okay, I live in the world where I’m retired and get to do pretty much what I want, but it’s still no mountain top, People.

Here’s what I noticed about me: I am mentally ill.

Oh, I’m sure you’re thinking that I’m just over-reacting, being melodramatic, or looking for a laugh. Well,  all of those motives are part of my illness. I’ve been watching me a long time, so I’m pretty sure I’m the better judge of me than you (even though I shouldn’t be judging me–that part always trips me up).

I'm telling you. That no judging part is next to impossible.

I’m telling you. That no-judging part is next to impossible. Especially when you look in the mirror and see what I get to see every day.

Do non-mentally ill people:

  • obsess about their dog’s bowel movements? It would be worse if I didn’t have a dog, but I do, so don’t call the Psycho Squad yet. But whether Scrappy poops on his walk either makes or breaks my day. His, too.
  • feel compelled to top off their Brita Water filter containers every time they use them? Mine has to be filled to the top. Always. If it isn’t full, I get edgy.
  • only feel happy when their gas tank is over-filled with gas? When the gauge moves off from the “full” mark, I have a compelling need to top it off, just like my water filter.
  • make their bed the moment they get up and check to make sure the bed sheets and blankets are perfectly straight and symmetrical? What am I? A reincarnated chamber maid?
  • have at least three back-ups of canned or dried goods in case of an emergency, like I get the urge to become domestic and actually use these items purchased in 1999 (in preparation for Y2K and the end of the world because computer programs only had two digits for the year–yeah, that had me worried.)

To my credit, I don’t compulsively wash my hands, check my door locks, or check repeatedly to see if I turned off my stove (in the rare even that I actually cooked something), but I know there’s lots of somethings wrong with me. Probably it’s that I don’t wash my hands enough, check to make sure my doors are locked and I am playing with fire when it comes to the burners on my stove. But still, I need help.

What's that you say? You poured water for tea and didn't refill the Brita filter. Are you trying to drive me insane?

What’s that you say? You poured water for tea and didn’t refill the Brita filter. Are you trying to drive me insane?

What do you think?

~ by Lorna's Voice on May 23, 2013.

32 Responses to “The Problem With Buddhism is…”

  1. All great suggestions. The art of letting is what you’re talking about and that’s what I need to learn! Thanks! And thanks for stopping in and commenting, too! 🙂

  2. I think most people do have some form of OCD, its just a habit,you sound totally normal to me…. I have been trying to teach resltess teenagers abou meditation, and they did seem to benefit from it for about 10 minutes… so why not make a change. How about not using a water filter, let your dog off the lead somewhere safe, take the bus instead of using the car and go and help some homeless people or volunteer at an animal shelter. ?

  3. Good advice–thanks! 🙂

  4. Its like playing a shooter game, but you shouldn’t shoot anyone for a better ending. Its like living a life without actually do what an alive person should do. well, if you keep doing this, you will messed up your mind far worse 🙂 . just enjoy living, and do things that makes you happy.

  5. Thanks! 🙂

  6. Sent you an e-mail. Don’t want to hijack your blog site. Feel free to translate to here if you’d like. xoxo 🙂

  7. Aw. Thanks so much. I know some Buddhists take their practice very seriously. I suppose I do, too, in that I try to follow the principles to the best of my ability. But any person who “lords” their faith over another as “the way” has, again, in my humble opinion, lost “the way.”

  8. I’d love to hear about that first-hand knowledge!

  9. I suppose a few passengers along for my ride may get frustrated with me, but a slower journey isn’t always a bad thing! 😉

  10. I do believe noticing everything without judging is a beautiful idea, and so is not being not too hard on yourself, given that you are not a jaw foaming mass- murderer but the foibles you mention mark you out as fashionably eccentric and nothing more. We all get a bit obsessive, especially as our sense of controlling the universe declines but you are a good and caring person which is all I care about. How you make you bed or fill up your car would not affect my opinion of you either way, although it might make your journey slower if you have to re-fill at every gas station.

  11. P.S. you think the Dalai Lama is mindful all the time? If you think yes, phone me… I have first hand knowledge. 🙂

  12. I’m adding this to your list: Lorna is like all the rest of us…one shade or a nutter. Offering no solutions/advise, just like I wouldn’t to my conditioned dog. But honey bunny I love you still, even more. 🙂

  13. I wish there were more Buddhists like you around. Would make the world smile more.:-)

  14. There are two of us on this planet!? Yikes. Lots of insight tucked in this post. I embrace aspects of Buddhism but really need to cling to the hope that there’s someone/something beyond this world. Have to settle on living in mystery.

  15. Some of us have things we consider important …. so it’s a little too important. Wasn’t your grandmother jewish?? It must be guilt. hahaha
    Didn’t you attend catholic school??? There’s another guilt issue … AND … confusion. LOL
    We all have obsessions … you don’t want to know mine. Although, that bed fixing – shhhh – don’t tell anyone … mine too. ~~~~~ : – )

  16. I wanted to vote All of the above. As for the mindfulness problems, I wouldn’t pay it any mind.

  17. Give Scrappy and that guy in your life some extra TLC. What comes back to you in turn should keep you happy and occupied–Buddhist or not. That will surely increase your mindfulness. 🙂

  18. If one is obsessive about being obsessive, what does that make us..What ever it is it can be fun.. so I am told 😉 nice one,..

  19. Yeah! I like that one, too! Thanks for stopping by and commenting (and voting, too). I really appreciate it! 🙂

  20. Yeah, we talk about clinging in our Buddhist Meditation group. As humans, it’s our natural inclination to cling to everything–even that blissful feeling of non-clinging! Oh, how I love that irony! 😉

  21. Comforting in that odd kind of way…thanks. 🙂

  22. You are just a wealth of info! But if you think you’re going to let the facts confuse me, think again! 😉

  23. Yes. I must be channeling someone who lived through the Great Depression… 😐

  24. I vote for “Lorna is human and we all carry around weirdness.” It does sound like your mini-obsessions have a common theme of fear of being without, of having less than you need of something. (thank you, Dr. Peg-o-leg)

  25. Hey you need to experience the thrill of having the low fuel light go on. You will never know the satisfaction of making it to the station before you need a tow.
    You also need to NOT make your bed. I read, recently, that bed bugs are less likely to survive in the open air, AKA, rumpled sheets. To your health-cheers. 🙂

  26. No Lorna… you’re normal… just like the rest of us that are half insane…

  27. I voted that your eccentricities got nuthin’ on me. I actually had a mild case of OCD growing up. I’ve grown out of it but I still get freaked if my gas tank is below the halfway line and I like to have my bed made properly. I think that stuff if pretty normal.

    As for mindfulness? Still working on it. A few times I’ve reached a blissful state of just ‘being’ when meditating and it felt damn good. Too bad I couldn’t feel that way all day long.

  28. I voted for mild OCD and you have to chill with a handsome man, ~(^__^~)

  29. That is totally in the “danger zone” Elyse! 😉 Actually I screwed up my car’s gas consumption computer because I kept “topping it off.” Now I have to let it go down to life half a tank before I fill up. It’s murder, I’m telling you. Murder!

  30. Definitely quirky! 🙂

  31. I wouldn’t say mentally ill. I would say quirky! Quirky sounds a lot more fun than mentally ill!

  32. It’s the crazy in you that I like so much! Would you mind keeping track of my gas too. It got way close to 3/4 ths yesterday.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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