Those people are illusions, but their mothers weep

P,
I’m playing loud guitar music through tiny plastic speakers. An epic angelic chorus kind of thing, you know, at the end of the album and they want you to remember the good times you had with them for the last forty minutes and feel like they really took you someplace. I just got done with internet window shopping for the last hour or so, at first looking for music equipment that I was curious about, then for any music equipment at all, then for just anything. I started looking at the parts of Craigslist that I never look at, like “electronics.” There was a PS3 for sale and I didn’t know how the hell I’d ended up someplace where a PS3 even existed. I usually don’t see PSanythings, anywhere. I was on eBay and thinking about trap music, and I almost typed in the name of trap producer Zaytoven, as if I could buy him. It wasn’t a joke, or a statement, I just had the search bar and a desire to consume Zaytoven.
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I only started saying I was “an artist” a few years ago. At first it was a secret, even though I’d been focused on writing and music for years (really my entire life) and had never been shy about the fact that those were my noble goals. It was easy to hide when I didn’t know any other creative people, though, except for one or two along the way. Now all of my friends are self-proclaimed artists, and even though I’d probably be doing the same things if I’d never met them, I now wonder if I’m just forging identity through association.
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I don’t know how to not forge identity through association. There’s a monk who comes into my job, and the other day I asked him “how has your practice affected the way that you experience friendship and fit it into your life?”
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He gave some vague answers for a while (I don’t even know why he ever responds to me within an hour, because his answer will not come for at least that long), and then said “You ever wake up next to someone you’ve been with for a while, and you look at them, and you’re like ‘nope, I can’t do it anymore’? It’s like that, but with samsara.
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At first you think you can just kind of block it out and focus and meditate, but you realize that not only do you still have to break up with samsara, but suddenly every day is Valentine’s Day. She says ‘oh, honey, I’m going to put on my nicest things’ and you swallow what you have to say and play along for a bit. ‘Sweetie, we’re going to go out and have an amazing dinner tonight, I’m so lucky to have you, we’re so lucky to have each other,’ and everybody’s so happy that they got chocolates even though it’ll rot their teeth, and that they got a car even though they’re just worrying about somebody scratching the car, so they double park. You start trying to get into fights with her just to see if you can push the limits, or get out without having to admit it’s what you really want to do, but that never works and it makes things a little worse for a while but then samsara puts on all of its prettiest things again and you try to tell yourself ‘it’s not so bad, she looks really nice, she’s not really that boring I guess,’ but you still know you’re done. You finally do it and it’s like ‘Sweetie, what am I going to tell my friends when they ask where you are?’ and if you’re like me you kind of back out a bit at first and go ‘well, maybe don’t TOTALLY get out of my life, maybe we can work SOMETHING out,’ but it’s too late. Now I walk around and see how people react to things, show off the shiny piece of samsara that they just got or made, and they’re so proud but that thing they’re proud of isn’t going to help, either.”
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Keeping in mind that I see this monk eating candy all the time, so the bit about the dangers of chocolate is questionable.
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Anyway, identity through association. Yes, this world is illusory. Samsara’s still everywhere. It’s pretty gorgeous. Some days the scenery can just about make you cry. Other days I feel like I’m straining to understand what the big fucking deal is about hillsides, fog, the Sun, etcetera. It’s just a buncha phenomena. People? Human connections? You mean random dead psychic magnetism? Is it alive? I don’t think I will ever, ever know. The doubt is strong with this one.
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I made a dharma girlfriend a couple of months ago. We met each other and went “you will teach me!” “you will teach me!” “we will have perfect love!” “we will travel to Bali!” “I am yours, exclusively, to be owned and operated!” “I am prepared to give my all!” and we fell in love on day one and traded house keys on day two and took them back on day four because we honestly hated each other’s guts and there was no respect or friendship that could make it through the fog of our volatile mixed anger.
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“You wake up one day, and look at it and go ‘nah, I just can’t'”
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Okay so when I meet a person who believes in falling in love with me instantly, we can do it whether it’s good or sensible or not. When I meet somebody who believes in the power of music, we can make it whether it’s good or sensible or not. When I meet somebody who wants me to understand how silly it all is and give it up for Buddha, I can have my core shaken by him whether he’s good or sensible or not.
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To renounce or not to renounce. The world is choking on garbage. Books and records are made of the blood of the Earth. Books don’t necessarily pull kids off of the street away from guns. Guns are samsara. But no, they’re real. They’re really shooting people. But those people are illusions. But their mothers weep. But emotion is attachment.
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Hinduism was altered by the leaders in the region so as to create the caste system and deliberately subjugate portions of the population. The same was done with many attributes of many religions. I often wonder if Buddhism’s anti-ambition and anti-materialism messages are just control systems. Buddha gave up the palace, eh? Sounds like a stooge. An actor. He had great PR, right? The crown sacrifices one son to some stage asceticism and carefully planned words of renunciation, and then generations of people will fight for their right to be poor and unthreatening.
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But it still makes sense.
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Am I living for the body of the populace? My flesh will die but flesh will live. There is no immortality but to massage the sides of the Human Time Anaconda as it slithers down the big shiny blackness. (The Doctrine of Reincarnation is Literal/It Is Metaphorical/They Don’t Know/They Know)
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((I realize that to anyone who considers themselves well-versed in Buddhism or “certainly better-versed than THIS asshole” this all seems dumb, but trust me: I’m better-versed than I am. This is an emotional thing, it’s not about your cold logical Bodh-splaining machospiritual act, buddy))
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Do I want the world to be filled with more garbage? With more chapbooks and cassette tapes and memories of an artform that swallowed itself so hard that it couldn’t touch people anymore? I get hella rashes thinking about art about art about visions that compete with past art to make new visions that explain the importance of art visions. To quote the ’80s, “ew, like, gag me with a spoon.”
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I fell in love with art because I was alone and it didn’t take anyone else. Art is a surrogate person through whom you learn. But I put so much value on it that I will set people aside because I suspect that the growth of my art will do more than my time with them. I knew a guy who said “art is the only thing that makes life worth living” and when I protested, he was like “what else would?” and I said “people” and he said “oh, yeah, I guess,” as if the folks by river basins in 500 BC who only occasionally ever got to hear a song were having it so, so hard because there were no amazing postmodern graphic sci-fi novels yet. Which is all to say that my own creative insularity sickens me, half of the time (Gemini power).
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How to get involved with people.
Challenge yourself?
Do I want to farm?
Yeah, I want to farm. How the fuck do you farm? Where?
A farm?
Is this journaling? Is it whining?
Why am I self-conscious about that prospect?
Because I’ve seen people make fun of journaling, and not couching things in metaphor.
Those people were grad students.
Students of creativity.
God is the only creator, everybody else is just reconstituting supplies.
If I went on a boat across the Atlantic, it would be interesting, and then when I was done with it I would say “it was pretty tiresome, too. You just spend a lot of time on a boat, totally bored.”
And if I farmed………….
“Trauma art is stupid”
“Art about yourself is stupid”
“Write about that stop sign”
“Write about space”
“Space is cliche, now- write about what you know”
“But act like you don’t know yourself”
“You don’t know yourself but your intuition is absolute”
“Your intuition is questionable- in order to hear it properly, you first must know yourself”
“It’s very important that you go through the difficult work of painfully learning who you are. I am very upset by the sound of creaking doors, and everybody in my family knows not to use doors around me. Getting over your bullshit is so difficult, and most people can’t really see clearly enough to get down to the level of their bullshit and start facing it. I don’t like it when people take a long time in line at the gas station.”
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God damn Jesus fuck.
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Signed, Lovingly,
P
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