Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Zen of Easter

Today is the first Easter since I was a kid that I even give a damn. Easter is usually just another Sunday, with lamb. We have a fat leg roasting in the oven right now. Plus a cabbage from our garden. Today I look forward to Easter because I'll be riding on a float in the Gay Easter Parade, which winds thru the French Quarter. There are neighborhood parades all over New Orleans today. I may stop off at another parade on my way to the one I'm in! New Orleanians sure like to parade.

It's gorgeous here today. In the 70s, sunny with a mild breeze from the Mississippi River. I hope a couple cute guys I like show. Or I meet someone new. That would be good for me, because I'm hung up on someone I can't have. I hate that tension, that disconnection between the mind and the emotions. Everything I know tells me to get the frack away from this younger man. He's not available to me. Which, of course, makes him ideal. What? You're married with kids in another state? You're perfect for me! Emotionally crippled and a liar? That rings my bell! Sure wish I could figure out this dysfunction and fix it at the core.

I've been here before. In fact, exactly here before, hung up on a younger guy who gives me mixed messages, plays cat-and-mouse, treats me like his boyfriend except in bed. When it suits him, he reminds me we're not boyfriends by hurting my feelings, then turns around and coaxes me back out of the shell I retreat into. Aye. The last time I was here culminated in drunken tears (God that was embarassing!) and the loss of a friendship.

Yes, we did talk. A couple weeks ago we had the all-important "what are we doing?" conversation. We (he) decided that we're not dating, which makes complete sense intellectually. Just wish my heart would catch up. Eventually, soon probably, he'll introduce me to a new boyfriend, or some guy will hit on him in front of me and they'll go home together. When that time comes, I sure pray I've got someone else in my life, or I'm just in a better place emotionally.

This time I'm trying to learn. Just trying to pay attention to what I'm doing, to notice how I react. Pretty much I've been walking around since New Years with a heavy heart, wincing at rejections, biting my tongue. I don't want to be hurt, angry, reactive guy. I hate being that guy. But the best I can manage is to realize that I *am* that guy sometimes. I watch it happen, and try to observe the mental construction. Zazen training comes in handy.

There's a Buddhist story about a monk who was attacked by a tiger. As the tiger ate the monk, he realized he could not escape, that he was about to die, and that he felt great suffering. He saw this experience as a gateway to Enlightenment. As his body died in the jaws of the tiger, he observed himself, observed his experience and reactions. His deeper mind saw the mental construction as independent from his true self. He saw the truth of No Self, and gave himself to the universe. He died, but did not die at all. Isn't that the point of Easter?

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