A Virtual Religion of Triviality and Mindlessness

“We venerate, not sages or men of wisdom, but pop, TV and sports stars, people whose job it is — and a very well-paid job too — to divert us from, rather than alert us to the realities of our predicament. We’ve made a virtual religion of triviality. And yet we wonder why a gnawing sense of unease haunts our days and nights, and why our children, complaining of boredom, rebel.”  Dark Side of Life, by John Snelling http://buddhismnow.com/2014/12/31/dark-side-of-life-by-john-snelling/

This quote is by John Snelling from buddhismnow.com. Now that I actually have a real computer (as opposed to a tablet), I can write documents and do all sorts of things. However, to get to this point, I had to start crawling out of the emotional pit I had fallen into, without even realizing it.

Buddhismnow did a whole series under the heading of “tolerance.” I have come to the conclusion that tolerance is not the solution, but rather the fundamental problem. People (I am totally included in this category) learn to tolerate pretty much anything with the false idea that, “Well, that’s just the way life is.” No, honey, it’s not.

You never get out of life one iota more than you are willing to settle for. Period. You will never get paid what you deserve if you passively accept minimum wage for a paycheck. It comes down to what skills you bring to the table and what employers in your area are willing to pay for said skills. If they do not pay a living wage, move. Can’t afford to move? Split the expenses with others who are mobile. Get creative.

I feel like I am surrounded by two types of people: people making the effort to improve their lots in life and those who make excuses as to why they can’t do so. I manage to belong to both categories, sometimes simultaneously.

Leave it to me to find a way to use mindfulness and “present moment living” to avoid reality. I managed to abuse the concept of “intimacy with the moment and all things” into justification for not taking steps forward.

All I knew was that I felt overwhelmed. I can’t fix Barry’s health. The weather is downright arctic. The word “stuck” is inadequate to describe how I was feeling.

What if Barry lives another couple years? I couldn’t handle the idea of, essentially, waiting for him to die to move forward in my life. I was praying that God, if such a being exists, would off one of us and I reached a point where I did not care which one of us died, just so I could be out of this never-ending, mind-numbing caretaking. That is one serious low point. And it came upon me so slowly that I didn’t even recognize it.

I will have to make all the preparations to move. It will  be neither quick nor easy, but I already do everything now without assistance. This is something that will benefit me. In Barry’s mind, there will never be a good time to move. For me, staying put long-term is suicidal-tendency inducing. Place matters, I have come to realize. Lansing has the stink of desperation. People have resigned themselves to the current reality. People with educations and options are still fleeing. Many of the remaining people simply declare bankruptcy every seven years because, that way, “at least we can keep the house.” Poverty and resignation go hand-in-hand.

Part of what drives me crazy is the superficiality and triviality of TV. TV and religion truly are the “opiates of the people.” Karl Marx really hit the nail on the head with that one. He was so correct, it is scary. They are diversions to ensure that people are sufficiently pacified that they never question (let alone alter) the way things are. I’ve understood this about Christianity for a few years, but I really hope that I have deeply misunderstood the Buddha’s message. So far, I have managed to take Buddhism and use it as an excuse for a lack of self-development (and bored myself silly in the process). Boredom is that gap between what one is capable of versus the activities one is engaged in. Any young person not rebelling is either overly-medicated or mentally handicapped. No kidding.

I don’t want to be intimate with stuckness. Stuckness is a red flag, meant not to be embraced but heeded. I’ve started my Rosetta Stone program.

Many, many things have stopped mattering to me: how many people “like” me, what’s on TV, the opinions of religious leaders, Barry’s wanting to stay in Michigan, etc. I have put my life on hold for years. I would rather move him unhappily with me to Virginia than stay here in Siberia and wish one or both of us dead. Yes, it really has come down to that. And I didn’t even know it until last week.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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