Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fantasy....The New Reality

Buddhists tell us that we must stay in the moment, in the present, to understand "mindfulness" and the peace that comes with the practice. Meditation is based in learning "mindfulness" in the simplicity of things, being aware of every minute, every breath, every sweep of the broom. Buddhists say that all our Western Angst comes from dreaming about things we cannot have, cannot do or cannot be. With mindfulness, we are present in all things and savoring each moment. The result is a peaceful and settled heart.

And I'll share with you the most incredible thing I've ever heard on the planet Earth: When the Dalai Lama was asked if he ever experienced "low self esteem", he had no clue what that was. NO CLUE. There is no term or expression or explanation for low self esteem in Tibet (which may be why there are no psychologists either). As all living things are equal, no one feels less than any other creature.

This is amazing. Truly.

And it's fine in theory. But coming from the West, giving up my angst would result in an enormous black hole in my psyche. My deepest, darkest pain and guilt give rise to my smart ass sense of humor. What would I do without that??? I mean, what would I be doing right now? And if I wasn't doing this right now, what would you be reading? And even more importantly, how could my psychologist afford her catnip?

Yes, I'd probably be doing something more valuable than reading this, but....why? I think I've figured it out....fantasy is my reality. Now I'm not talking "The Three Faces of Eve" or "Sybil" or thinking I am the Queen of England in my one room studio apartment illuminated by a single 40 watt light bulb, but fantasy is what keeps me sane. Fantasy is fun. Fantasy is my savior when I'm matching up the damn socks from the laundry. Fantasy is my savior when I'm cleaning the litter pans....or mowing the lawn or waiting for the oil to be changed in my car or 1/4 the time I'm at work. These are the times my mind wanders and the result is usually something.....well, like this.

Fantasy gives rise to creativity, at least in my otherwise sane world. Frankly, due to my fairly healthy fantasy life, I am thusly still alive. Without fantasy carrying me to different worlds and different situations, I would have been dead in the water during an abusive marriage. And yes, I know I'm lucky that fantasy hasn't carried me to a long term inpatient psychiatric hospital. But I think fantasy is linked to hope in my brain circuitry and not to running away or escaping.

So when I'm trying to meditate and I start thinking about whether they are going to do a Pirates of the Caribbean IV with Johnny Depp and Keith Richards, or whether Barry Manilow needs my advice about possibly doing a Greatest Hits of the 80's CD, or if I should really start a novel with the Classic Star Trek characters so I can have a secret affair with Captain Kirk, I'm going to embrace it. I'm going to thank the Lord for my wild imagination, for my rich and full fantasy life.

And then I'll go back to counting my breaths.

No comments: