In Buddhism and Hinduism there's always been a big debate about whether the life of the renuniciate or the householder is a surer road to enlightenment.
Do you find truth in a bare cave or a richly furnished living room?
After the past month of remodeling our bathroom and, now, kitchen, I can testify that the Buddha would have been a lot better off staying home with his wife rather than sitting under the Bodhi Tree.
Sooner rather than later, Mrs. Buddha would have talked him into redoing their home. And that, for sure, would have provided him with all the raw experience he needed to realize some noble (or, as it seems today, ignoble) truths.
Life is change. Last summer we endured weeks of banging from hammers, nail guns, compressors, and such as our kitchen was fully remodeled. And now…it's back! After numerous attempts to fix the floor grout and tiles, the contractor said, "let's start over."
So up comes the almost-new Duraceramic tile, and down goes replacement tile, over what hopefully is a firmer underlayment. But who knows? Our kitchen died, was reborn, is now being killed again, and soon will have a fresh reincarnation.
Birth, death, rebirth. Such is the eternal wheel of remodeling.
Life is suffering. This afternoon I had to attempt my habitual afternoon nap while all the banging was going on. I'd doze off, then be startled back to wakefulness by a particularly loud boom!
Earlier, I wasn't able to get into the kitchen after cooking a vegi-burger on our auxiliary stovetop. I had to eat it without salt. Just ketchup and a bun.
Of such trials are saints made. I've been looking in the mirror to see if my martyrdom halo is showing yet. I might have caught a glimpse of it.
Detachment breeds contentment. We were told that the workmen would be doing their thing today and tomorrow. A little while ago one of the guys gave us an update on their progress. Extrapolating what's been done to what remains, Laurel said, "There's no way you're going to be finished by tomorrow, is there?"
"Nope." "So our kitchen floor is going to be torn up all weekend, right?" "Yes."
I visualized the Great God of Remodeling bringing us precisely what is needful at exactly the right moment in accord with the Tao of Construction. I took deep breaths, inhaling the blissful odor of sawdust – which has permeated the whole house, notwithstanding the plastic sheets put up in the kitchen.
Then I made a mental note to make sure we had enough wine to get me through this affront to my pleasantly retired napping and blogging life.
I'll also meditate some extra minutes tomorrow morning. But Pinot Noir seems to produce more detachment than a mantra these days.