I’m in a bit of a quandary.

That's an understatement.

That’s an understatement.

I’m more mixed up than a peanut butter and bacon milk shake.

And it’s all because I’m trying to be a a halfway descent Buddhist in this crazified world.

Here’s my problem in a nut shell.

WARNING: It's a pretty big nutshell.

WARNING: It’s a pretty big nutshell.

Buddha had lots of suggestions, not commandments, so you’ve got to get real comfortable in the gray areas. But some of his suggestions seem pretty important to his teachings.

The one that’s been hanging me up is being non-judgmental.

His whole deal was that he came right out and said that “There is suffering.” No avoiding it, People. But he also was nice enough to give us plenty of guidelines to live by so that we don’t add to the suffering that life invariably brings (sickness, aging, death, confusing and long blogs…).

Back to not judging… This means not judging situations, other people, and yourself.

Mirror, Mirror on the table, I won't judge me, what's up with Mabel?

Mirror, Mirror on the table, I won’t judge me, but what’s up with Mabel?

Tall order, huh?

I ran head first into judging because of two very popular TV shows: Dexter and Breaking Bad.

My Mom's hero...

My Mom’s hero…

How many Buddhists watched this series? Can I see a show of hands?

How many Buddhists watched this series? Can I see a show of hands?

Without watching either show, but knowing what each was about (a psychopathic serial killer who was everyone’s favorite blood-splatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department and cleaner-upper of “bad guys”; and a chemistry teacher ostensibly trying to provide for his family after he learns of his stage 4 lung cancer by cooking and selling “blue meth” and becoming Phoenix’s most feared and revered drug lord), I judged these shows as “unwholesome.”

Babu and I know without knowing that some things are just wrong.

Babu and I know without knowing that some things are just wrong.

I also judged my eighty-year old Mom, who is in love with Dexter, as being slightly off balance. I blamed the growing meth problems in America on Breaking Bad, thinking it glamorized drugs. Forget Judge Judy; I was Judge Lorna.

Buddhism also teaches its students to be mindful, open-minded, and curious. Shizzle.

I was making all these judgments without watching a single episode of either Emmy-award-winning program.

Shouldn't I inform myself before I get all preachy and judgy? That would be a first!

Shouldn’t I inform myself before I get all preachy and judgy? That would be a first!

Remember, my goal is to minimize suffering. Mine preferably.

After the season finales of both of these shows, I began watching.

Talk about unwholesome! The Buddha has an eight-fold path to help us avoid unnecessary suffering. I think just about all eight were blown away: wholesome speech (Debra and Jesse had mega-ca-ca mouths), wholesome livelihood (violence and causing harm were major plot lines), wholesome intention (sure, Dex had a code, but he played fast and loose with it; and Walt liked the power more than the money for his family’s future). I could go on, but you get the picture…

But another problem developed. Especially with Breaking Bad.

The acting. The writing. Can it get any better? Yes! Every episode it does!

The acting. The writing. Can it get any better? Yes! Every episode it does! Get ready for some whining when this series ends…

I loved the show. I didn’t love the topic, but the acting and writing was the finest in a TV series I’d ever watched. The darned thing spoiled me for any other series (except maybe some BBC series, which are smartly acted and written).

So, guess what? I started judging myself. What the heck kind of Buddhist binge watches Breaking Bad?

Not your typical image of a Buddhist, eh?

Not your typical image of a Buddhist, eh?

If Buddhists had confession, I would go. But they don’t. All we have is meditation and you know how well that works. I keep falling asleep while I’m supposed to be focusing on my breath.

So what’s a dizzy blonde Buddhist to do?

I could just stop watching TV I suppose, but avoiding life’s challenges is not what Buddhists do. We face them. We embrace them. We notice how we feel and explore. Then we do the best we can to follow the path toward less suffering, whatever that happens to be for us at the time.

Like I said, you have to be comfortable in the gray areas.

I stopped judging my mom about Dexter being her hero. She’s eighty. She can have any hero she likes. After watching these shows, I don’t believe that they encourage pathological killing (it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of plastic) or are responsible for the methamphetamine problem we have in society (it’s more complicated than watching a really go show). Quite the opposite. Many of the story lines showed the complications and negative ramifications of such unwholesome behaviors (although not in their full context).

And I’ve stopped judging myself for admiring the writing and acting of Breaking Bad. It was those elements that kept me watching the show–not wanting to learn how to make or distribute “blue meth.”

So I guess maybe I’m not such a messed up Buddhist after all. But I do have to work on that mediation thing…

This happens to me a lot when I'm reading in bed, too.

This happens to me a lot while I’m reading in bed, too.