I have been reading, on blogs and bulletin boards, about killing Mara, committing one’s self to rigorous discipline, changing our lives, etc. – but rarely in reference to the Goal. The glory of the means is so much praised, I often don’t hear about the cherished end.
A controlled life, where all evil is exterminated, where Mara is gone, where nothing untoward ever happens again: it sounds like a fight against evil, more than a lust for good. At the end, do people really want such an antiseptic existence? A place of all white, with singing angels and always perfect food; a place without hunger, where I would never again feel the bliss of breaking fast?
I fight for the path of love, but seem unable to describe it. It boils down to this: I want life to be as it is. I want the heartache, the pain, the hardship. I want my Tourette’s Syndrome, which makes my body a pain to carry around. I want discomfort, and hunger, and worrying about my bank account. Because all of these things give me access to what living is really about: appreciation, love, a breath-taking admiration at the end of a very long climb.
And so, even as I work to combat evil and falsehood – which I am the victim of from time to time – I thank evil for the chance it gives me to champion good. How could I ever show good my willingness to arise in its Cause, if it were not for evil?
I am finding, gradually, that I love the lot of it, the whole system. It seems so perfectly constructed: so rich, and dirty, and gritty – and real. It makes even simple things, like sincerity, seem beautiful. At least I have a friend in this regard in Herman Hesse, in his wonderful little book Siddhartha:
During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman. Therefore, it seems to me that everything that exists is good – death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly. Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me. I learned through my body and soul that it was necessary for me to sin, that I needed lust, that I had to strive for property and experience nausea and the depths of despair in order to learn not to resist them, in order to learn to love the world, and no longer compare it with some kind of desired imaginary world, some imaginary vision of perfection, but to leave it as it is, to love it and be glad to belong to it.