15. The Dude - Why Are We Here, Man?
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So, why are we here man? And what the heck does this have to do with Dudeism?
Plenty, that's what...
Whatever anyone thinks of the Divine, whether they visit the holy bowling alley at the weekend and don't give it much thought, or they sit in a saintly cathedral in a state of bliss, most of us wouldn't deny the incredible beauty of nature.
And whatever we might think, nature is the expression of creation and of course, we are nature too, and we are, therefore, also an expression of its creation.
Life, whether here on earth, or stuff that's playing around in the vast universe, is a mass of creative energy; an outburst of vitality in a sea of stillness. And whatever we might think, life goes on, man.
So, do we have a purpose in the middle of all this?
For a moment, if we can forget the "why?" we might get to the answer.
We are a Continuation of Life Rolling On
As part of the energy of creation, we are also an extension of that energy. We create children, art, music, singing, playing, building, and so on. The energy of life pours through us as a flow of inspiration and inventiveness, and through us, it goes on. We cannot help ourselves.
If we go to church, say our peace, listen to a sermon, then go back to life pretty much unaffected by that, just doing our normal stuff, being busy, being generally uptight about everything and leaving our mellowness at the church door, then we have missed the point.
Before I get to that point, here's a little story:
Advice from a Forest Monk
A friend once told me that he went to see some Burmese forest monks giving a talk. Now Buddhism has a long history of monks dwelling in the forest. And in this particular case Buddhism experienced a torrid time in Burma last century and some of the monks left their temples to seek refuge in the forests. As a consequence of this, their practice and how they learned to express that became very rural and agricultural.
During a talk about meditation, a woman from the audience put her hand up to ask a question. She said, "I'd love to have the time to meditate but I am busy reciting the scriptures and trying to understand them. How do you find time to meditate?" And the teacher asked, "So, how much time do you actually spend in meditation?" And she replied, "none".
The monk said, "Lady, you are like a person who goes into the hen hut for eggs, but instead of getting the eggs, you come out with the shit."
So, the Point is...
...to understand what is the shit, and what is the egg.
If we cut away all the crap about this religion and that method, we get to the basic fact that we are part of creation, and from where that creation comes doesn't really matter, because in seeing the beauty of it, we are by default, in wonder at the greatness of the creator. We don't need to go to a church, or live in a temple, we simply need to be in the middle of life, and of course, that's where we are anyway.
This is what life is about; being an outlet for the energy of creation, and being in awe at the beauty of its expression, of life before us.
It's not about being dude-like. That comes as a consequence of being in awe of life. Monks who seal themselves away in a temple to study scripture and meditate in the dark, or priests who memorise holy books to tell folk how they should live, are missing the damn obvious. Life, the Pure Land (Buddhism), the Kingdom of the Father (Christianity) is right before our eyes. We are swimming in the middle of it.
And the wonderful thing about Dudeism is that through its three central tenets: taking it easy, having a limber mind, and abiding, it is easier to not get lost in all the shit, and it's easier to notice the eggs.
When we take time to witness nature, we become aware of its openness, and its endlessness. And this serves to empty our minds, and to widen our perspective, which helps to make problems seem a whole lot smaller than we thought that they were.
By taking it easy, and having time to enjoy the beauty of trees, to stare up in wonder at the starlit sky, or to get down to flower level and see the smallness of life and how it is also immersed in infinite space, this affords us the opportunity to be more open, to have a free mind, and to naturally abide with the flow of events. Why? Because we see the bigger picture, and because we are in wonder of it all.
And here lies the magic.
When we breathe in life through our lungs and our eyes it becomes even more awe-inspiring. It fills with a richness. It seems that the beauty we see is magnified by the very fact of our noticing it.
And Here is the Dude
Picture the Dude; reclining back against a tree, gazing up at clouds, quietly in awe of the wonder of life, and at peace with it. Rich with the abundance of life. Noticing how it flows perfectly well without mankind's interfering hand.
Does such a person find it easier to remain calm, to be a little more playful and a whole lot less tense? Sure.
There's your answer.
Go have some fun.
The Reverend Thomo