photo courtesy of barackobuddha.com
What would Sid do?
Before Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment at age 35 he was a
confused twenty and thirty-something looking to learn how to live a
spiritual life. He had an overbearing dad, expectations for what he was
supposed to do
with his life, drinks were flowing, lutes were playing, and the
women were all about him. Some called him L.L. Cool S. I imagine
close friends just referred to him as Sid.
Many people look to Siddhartha as an example of someone who attained nirvana, a buddha. But here we look at a younger Sid
as a confused guy struggling with his daily life. What would he do as a
young person trying to find love, cheap drinks, and fun in a city like
New York? How would he combine Buddhism and dating? We all make mistakes on our spiritual journey; here is where
Each week I’ll take on a new question and
give some advice based on what I think Sid, a confused guy working on
his spiritual life in a world of major distraction, would do. Because
let’s face it, you and I are Sid.
Have a question for this weekly column? E-mail it here and I’ll probably get to it!
Q: I’m a Buddhist and a pretty liberal guy. I hooked up with someone the other night and it turns out she voted for McCain. McCain! So my question is, “Would Sid f-ck a Republican?” – I.P.
Even when the Buddha was Sid he was motivated on his spiritual journey to benefit all beings and alleviate their suffering. He offered his life to be of use to beings in whatever way possible. As a result of his discipline and meditation practice he attained enlightenment. Here’s the catch: according to Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, “Enlightenment is things as they are before we color them with our projections.” In other words he could not have attained enlightenment and been of
benefit to so many if he had remained stuck in dualistic thought patterns.
If we too are out to alleviate suffering and be of benefit it seems foolish to draw lines in the sand about who we can or cannot date (or f-ck). We’re labeling other people in a certain way with certain projections. It’s counter-productive to our spiritual journey to do that and thus formulate solidified notions of “us” and “them.” That level of dualism is what both physical and emotional wars are fought over.
I think that all too often we’re set on finding the perfect mate who shares all of our opinions and gets all of our jokes and has the same religious or, in your case, political views as us. We get stuck on trying to find a perfect compliment to “me.”
Here’s the first problem with that: “me” doesn’t exist like we think it does. As kid cudi so aptly put it, we’re all “complex like the magazine.” We are not the same person as we were ten years ago and we won’t be the same in another ten. We won’t like all the same music, we may be wiser (or not) and even our
political views may shift in relation to the changes occurring around us. To solidify who we think we are stunts our growth as human beings.
The second problem with that is that there is no one who can serve as a perfect compliment to you considering you’re such a slippery fellow. Even if you could sit down and write everything you think you are and try and hold yourself to that list you would be hard-pressed to find someone who embodies even half those qualities (sorry to blow up your spot eHarmony).
In other words, why not get involved with a Republican? What’s wrong with it? Clearly there is something about this individual that you were drawn to. Why not explore that a bit? Without an agenda of trying to change them to be more liberally-minded please.
I think if Sid were to date he would definitely consider dating a Republican. Heck, maybe one of the ladies in his royal palace pre-escape/spiritual journey was a Palin-supporter (or whoever the Palin of the day and age was). As was discussed in last week’s post I think Sid would be open to finding romance wherever it presented itself so long as it was genuine.
Besides, if your motivation is like Sid’s and you want to be of benefit to others in whatever way possible then maybe being intimate with someone with differing views would be good for you. You can learn from one another. So remember, while there may be no perfect compliment to “me” there are always perfect opportunities to grow when we open our heart to others. Good luck!