I'm not a big fan of rigid commandments.
So when I came across "Ten Things that are Bad for Us that Can be Good for You if Practiced Mindfully," I figured it would fit with my loose moral inclinations. I was right. Nothing astounding here; just a good reminder that Buddha got it right about that "middle way" stuff.
Here's what the author, Waylon Lewis, said about mindfulness itself:
Spirituality and religion can help us to be kind, and patient, to learn, to connect with community—or they can become fixed, dividing, materialistic dogma. Mindfulness itself can be meditation, at its root—training us to connect with our own basically good human nature—or it can be a spiritual shawl, self-serious religious veil we draw around us to look and pretend and busy ourselves with the act of “being spiritual.” The difference?
Mindfulness, at its root, is meditation: in Buddhism, it’s called a self-burning flame. Or a self-cutting sword. So remember: we’re doing all this not to look or act serious and cool. But to lighten up, ground down, stand tall and smile sadly—acknowledging the sadness and weight of the suffering and confusion of this world, and at the same time appreciating the elegance, joy, compassion and fun that is our human birthright, if only we choose to claim it.
So meditate. Don’t do it as a religious act, but as a practical one—like brushing your teeth, you can do it twice a day, just after we wake, and when we prepare to go to bed.
I wasn't aware of the Elephant Journal before reading this post. There's a lot to peruse on the site, which is focused on mindful organic non-religious Buddhist'y spirituality -- or something like that.
Browsing around a bit, naturally I had to click on "10 Signs you're a true Hipster." Given my age, 64, I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to qualify as one. But I did OK, scoring nicely on...
2. You read labels. Your eyes dilate when you see an organic certification, and narrow when you see “all natural!”
3. You don’t count calories. You count how many days a week you work out. And by working out, you mean “climbing” or “yoga” or “mountain biking” or “road biking” or “hiking”* or “kayaking” or “snowshoeing” or “skiing” or “snowboarding” or something human-powered, generally. You don’t like plugging in your bicycle and walking in the same place in sweatified, toxic, un-cocooned air.
5. You drink coffee. You drink more coffee. You drink more coffee. You drink tea. You drink pu-erh. You don’t drink mate anymore. You don’t drink kombucha anymore. You don’t drink bubble tea. You do drink smoothies, and instagram them.
9. You rescue dogs and cats and are vegan or vegetarian... [rest of this item didn't fit very well, but, hey, my wife is a volunteer at the local Humane Society and we're both ardent vegetarians].
So I'm 4/10 of a perfect hipster. Cool! But I don't really consider myself a hipster.
10. You deny being a hipster.
Which gets me to 5/10. Halfway. 50 percento. Super cool!!!
Shifting gears, but still sticking with the mindful moral theme, I re-read Alan Watts' "Creative Morality" chapter in his The Wisdom of Insecurity this morning. Good stuff. Here's some quotes:
The urge is ever to make "I" amount to something. I must be right, good, a real person, heroic, loving, self-effacing. I efface myself in order to assert myself, and give myself away in order to keep myself. The whole thing is a contradiction.
...The would-be saint walks straight into the meshes of this web because he would become a saint. His "I" finds the deepest security in a satisfaction which is the more intense for being so cleverly hidden -- the satisfaction of being contrite for his sins, and contrite for taking pride in his contrition. In such an involved vicious circle the masks behind masks are infinite.
...Released from the circle of attempted self-love, the mind of man draws the whole universe into its own unity as a single dewdrop seems to contain the entire sky. This, rather than any mere emotion, is the power and principle of free action and creative morality.
...Its interest is not in itself, but in the people and problems of which it is aware; these are "itself." It acts, not according to the rules, but according to the circumstances of the moment, and the "well" it wishes to others is not security but liberty.
...Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. This conviction will not come about through condemnations, through hating himself, through calling self-love all the bad names in the universe.
It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love.