Bundling Up on a Burning World

Most of the problems in the world come down to people wearing too many clothes.

Problems in our personal lives, social lives, work lives, education, and even issues between religions, ethnic groups, and nations… If everyone would just let go of everything they’ve accumulated, everything that other people and experiences have forced onto them, 99.99999% of our problems would be solved instantaneously.

Awakening—nudity—isn’t just a matter of freedom from suffering anymore; it’s a matter of survival. Our ignorance is killing us, it’s destroying the world. And it’s such a simple little thing that we’re ignorant of: the unreachable, ungraspable, and unholdable nature of all things.

That’s it! Even tacking on the unity of the present moment isn’t necessary, it’s just another part of the Path; it’s there if someone’s inclined toward it. And you don’t even have to keep your clothes off once you’ve stripped down! That’s the hilarious part.

You don’t have to totally abandon everything you’ve learned, or your interests, dreams, ambitions, or opinions. It’s just that, when we do cast them aside—even if it’s just for a moment—we stumble on the ability to choose our wardrobes.

Before then, we can’t choose shit; we just bundle up under this and that tawdry rag we stitch together along the way. Sit your ass down and just take an earnest look in your mind, and ask yourself, “How much of this do I need? How many of these views, beliefs, labels, assumptions, desires, habits, opinions, or roles do I need to get by?”

You can’t start Buddha practice already feeling relatively satisfied in life or satisfied with the state of others’ lives, because then there’s no drive to practice. This is the Way for people who’ve been down and out, who’ve hit rock bottom, and realized that nothing else they’ve tried has worked.

Sure, practice helps with things like stress, depression, attention, and morale as well, but using the teachings and methods for that is kinda like taking a space shuttle to Venus just because you wanted to get out of the house for a little while.

Most people aren’t even aware that they’re miserable.

I’ve had chats with other practitioners before about whether it’s skillful or not to bum people out. I don’t generally think so, even though it would be helpful. A lot of people just, unfortunately, don’t see that craving anything is itself a type of misery because if you already feel satisfied, then you’ll be naked of craving.

It bums me out, man. Each night at work I see so many angry and unhappy people and I can’t help but think, “We’re all gonna die someday, what the hell are we doing wasting so much time?”

Death makes life an easy flow on a summer river if you really think about it. We have this practically sacred knowledge, the knowledge of our own mortality, but we don’t do anything with it; we ignore it. Instead of keeping it with us and using it to break the mold, we distract ourselves. Distractions keep us grasping; that’s why concentration is a big part of Buddha practice.

Meditation isn’t necessarily about learning to focus by looking at things, but learning to not look away, to let what we’re looking at sink down into our bones.

Meditation shows us how bundled up we are, and then we breathe deeper, and deeper sighs of relief as the layers slip off, as all the baggage we’ve collected and carried around is cast aside.

At 31, the rushing current of life becomes more and more evident with each day. There’s no time to waste on things that aren’t meaningful, on things that are petty, frivolous or that deviate from the goal of living an authentic life.

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