I had never been very good at being real, not until i was moving out of my twenties and into my thirties anyway. This is actually why most people that “knew” me then are confused by who I am now, expecting me to suddenly come to my senses one day and regress into the indulgences of another life ago. We spend so much energy resisting change that when we witness someone actually do it – or give in to it – it’s totally alien and can even appear like a charade of some kind. The inability to be real followed by the sudden shift into self knowledge leads to a great deal of embarrassment and all sorts of unfortunate self modifying reflections. On the other hand, change insists on healing, which is a damn good thing for all of us.
The endless quest to be real is just as inspiring and gratifying as it is painful and riddled with deep wells of loneliness. Not everyone’s path and experience of this sort of task will be the same of course. But reality has a way of being brutally honest, which is why we so often choose to turn away from it. When we don’t turn away, and stare that fucker down cold with a big toothy smile and indestructible heart, all the weight we’ve carried, stories we’ve struggled to maintain, and bullshit we’ve tried to tell ourselves and everyone around us, just utterly vanishes. None of it is real. Surrendering to that took me a lot of practice, and still does.
I’ve looked back over this blog, which is essentially my document and account of what is referred to as the process of awakening, and I see an unbelievably rich volume of bullshit stretched out behind me. It all seemed pretty real at the time, these insights and lessons. All the crap I’ve shared with whoever would read this shit. I’m a firm believer in wise remorse at this point so I’m not gonna beat myself up about it, but I’m also not gonna go on doing it. This blog is officially coming to a close. The grand quest of one Duane Eugene Miller to be an Enlightened Buddhist is strolling off into the sunset, where it can stay.
A new quest begins, to just simply be as real as possible.
Take care and be kind to yourselves, and may some of this crap be for the benefit of living beings.
The Clever Bastard always finds a way to slip past the guard and take credit for the work I’ve done and experiences that have been. He parades around in front of my family, friends and peers, showing off his wonderful trophies as if he is the special one, who had actually collected them, or as if they actually existed at all. Clever and tricky he is, but ultimately foolish, as those trinkets only exist because he props them up. It’s all about the delivery and presentation. It’s all about appearances. It’s all about attention that props up his assumed existence. Somehow The Clever Bastard knows none of this is real, the grasping, the drama, the desire, the stories, all for the benefit of an imaginary me. Illusions propped up by illusions. Yet on he goes about his power play, scheming from the back of the mind, watching and waiting for each opportunity to craftily manipulate the experience of others into the belief of his existence. All kindness and compassion turned into a strategic maneuver. All selflessness and giving twisted into an image more likeable, more acceptable, more consumable. In selflessness, The Clever Bastard seeks gratitude. In humility, The Clever Bastard seeks recognition. Even in the admission of his existence is the urge of the trick, to use that admission as another trophy. Hopefully one day we can be friends. But for now, he is a misguided child who must be reminded someone is watching. The Clever Bastard must be loved and cared for, but not allowed to run amuck. Because left to his own devices, he is insane, plotting, and sly. Very, very sly.
I want to say a lot about my experience with this life, the changes I’ve gone through and how the world I perceived was not truly the world that is. I want to go on and on about how simple it all actually is, how easy. Just breathe. Just smile. Just allow. Just open. But if it were that easy I’d have not gone through a childhood of confusion, an adolescence of angst, and a young adulthood of shameless indulgence. In retrospect, it may have all been exactly what I was supposed to be doing. Although it was a long road, it led me directly to my heart, to the truth about my view of the world and the ego that was living for me, an insatiable beast that fed and fed but could never truly rest. If I just have this one more thing, I can be happy. If my situation were just a little more like this, I can relax. Endlessly grasping in a self-imposed prison of oppression and terror, greed and want.
It would appear from this current point of view that there is little use in “spreading the word”. From my own experience, it is (at the very least) a lifelong process of committing to pain until that pain becomes so utterly unbearable one has no other choice but to seek another road. So, what can I say that has not already been said? Nothing, other than to repeat the teachings that have been taught, encourage those who seek, and assure all inquiries that it really is just so simple. You are so beautiful. You really are, even if you don’t know it. For you in pain, I hope for you, I hurt for you, I smile for you. And I thank you, because I have you to care for now, instead of “me”. Thank you for helping me grow. I cannot describe how delightful it is to smile without a guard. Take care and be kind to yourselves.
One of the more difficult challenges in life for me is that I am a fairly agitated and grumpy person as far as my baseline is concerned. I am of course, through much practice, finding it easier to be jovial, smile and genuinely enjoy living. But I am still, regardless of my efforts, a selfish bastard much of the time. The things I wish to do and the things that I should do seldom line up, which is probably the situation many people find themselves in, but that also happens to be an excellent place to look when trying to decide how to improve one’s experience and minimize suffering. One of the many interesting things about experience is, unless you are totally not paying attention, or flat out ignoring what’s going on, which requires a great deal of effort, life usually makes it pretty clear what sorts of skills one needs to work on to arrive at a higher level of harmony. For example, if The Real Housewives of Atlanta totally pisses you off and you find yourself judging the validity of their experience against yours as if you clearly have a wiser and all together “better” understanding of the world, it may be a good time to take a step back and get some humility. If you find yourself annoyed because the kids didn’t clean up after themselves it may be a good moment to find patience and be with your memories as a child. Did you always do the right thing? Have you always been a “good” person? Have you always understood what you now understand about the world, the universe and its delightful inhabitants? Absolutely not, so now is a really excellent time to take a step or two back down off that little tower of better than everyone else and remember to be a human being. And by the way, I promise I’m not preaching at you. I’m preaching at myself. It is one of the worst feelings in the world to go spiraling off on a rant about how dumb this group is or how another is clearly confused, and then suddenly have the utter recognition that you are spewing feces out of your pie hole and have just come off like a giant jack ass. What’s worse is at that moment the tendency it seems is to lock onto that position because we wouldn’t want to have to admit to ourselves we’re a raving lunatic who doesn’t know the first damn thing about being a genuine human being? Of all the weird shit I’ve learned and come across on this little path of mine , one concept, one understanding, one lesson has been the most essential to embrace, and that is very simply to suck it up, let it go and be honest. The amount of suffering that that little bit of insight manages to step around is profoundly enormous. Making the choice to simply be honest about how I’m feeling and what’s actually going on has saved my wife, my kids, myself and everyone around me an immense amount of trouble and confusion. It is astounding how transforming the repetition of that practice is. Talk about fuel for the fire of awakening. Honesty, get some.