Monday, April 5, 2010
today is my last day before going to antaiji. ive had a taste of kyoto/osaka - japan - for the last week or so and its really left an impression and has taught me many things about myself, the world... and things like that.
first of all, and i feel like im starting to sound like a broken record cause i keep saying this, but it really makes me appreciate my time in dharmshala. all my friends there, and all their kindness. also, being in japan it becomes painfully obvious how busy people are. and then i remember when i first came here 3 years ago thinking how mild it was compared to the europe and the usa, go figure! what it seems to do is really make people closed off to the outside world. they isolate themselves from strangers and build their own little worlds. sure, theres lots of people in the cities, but what do they do? they converge in shopping malls and buy things. food, clothing. and then they eat it at their own little private table - facing a wall or surrounded by a few empty chairs. and when someone else comes in they head for their own private table, as well! not to say folks dont do this in india, but theres no hellos. just plastic formalities. "welcome, sir" "please have a seat, sir" "what would you like to have, sir?".
now dont get me wrong, im not mad or angry or even apprehensive about this. if anything, it makes me compassionate. people just must be so lonely inside. no wonder depression rates are so high in all these developed countries. people are starved for attention - some real connection. because i do notice that whenever you actually make an effort to make some genuine communication with someone, exchange some real smiles, their face just lights up and you can tell youve made their day. so tell me, what is everyone fighting for? they work their ass off for big paychecks, just so they can eat it all up at the end of the month. buying fancy clothing, nice food. but often its not enough, so people go in debt to get even nicer things. and then they just end up working because theyve become a slave to their posessions. now they have to work to earn nice things, AND work to pay off the old nice things, which they dont really use anymore! in india, you'd meet someone and within 10 minutes you'd be somewhere drinking tea, laughing and having a good time.
now, theres many things that aint so right in india, either. mainly the fact that its just a filthy country. im sorry, but people really dont take care of their environment very well their. dirty water, plastic everywhere, exhaust fumes, the whole nine. but still in a lot of ways its a lot richer than a lot of these other countries, where we have all that, but we cant just meet someone and have a cup of tea and a few laughs! people seem to be in such a hurry, even when you ARE talking to them, and have a good time! "im sorry, this is really nice, but i have to go home now. ive been working all day and i need some time for myself" - now isnt that ironic? cause then they go home and have some time for themselves. but when they have this time for themselves, they just feel lonely and depressed and wish they'd have more friends!
i know, thankfully, its not like its like this for everyone. there's many people treading the fine line very well. but its just seems to me, being in a city like osaka or kyoto, seeing the television, watching and talking to the people, that there's something fundamentally not right for a lot of people. a lot of people say theyre happy, they look like theyre happy, but there seems to be something neurotic about this happyness. what i mean by this is that is seems to be dependant on a lot of things. if you take them out of their comfortzone, this would immedeatly fall apart.
anyway, enough of that! theres plenty of things to be stoked about - im in japan, first of all! being able to take a clean, hot bath every day is a godsent. then there's the fact that internet actually works, and its fast. the trains and busses all run on time. things in general are just really efficient, clean. i can actually breath the air without coughing up black stuff every day. there's something to be said for all of that! the parks are beautiful. there's no trash on the street.
im wouldnt be surprised if a lot of folks would take this message the wrong way, as somehow being a little negative. just in case they do, i'll let them in on a secret: i dont really care! by that i mean, is that although i do say all these things, its not in any way affecting my happiness - im actually quite amused! i know this is just the way things is, and i totally accept that - it'd be silly to get all worked up over it! im simply sharing something that really struck me; the irony of coming from a "poor, developing" country like india to a "rich, prosperous" country like japan - and finding more poverty here than in india!
which reminds me of a funny story i read by osho. people came to him complaining, saying he was rich man's guru. and he told them: "yes, youre absolutely right! i am a rich man's guru! the poor person is still under the illusion that money is somehow going to make him happy and solve all his problems. so what use has he for spirituality? he wants money! but the rich man realises that money is not the answer, that there is something more to life. so he wants spirituality. that's why so many rich people come to me, thats why i'm a rich man's guru!"
its good being able to be serious, but its good to be able to laugh about things as well, and see the ultimate humor in every situation. in that regard, the past week has been great! i saw some live music yesterday in osaka park. bands jamming outside with a generator. it gave me goosebumps - that was the first live music i'd heard since september last year! something about the power of electrified music - you can actually FEEL it with your body, instead of just hearing it with your ears. the first band i saw was actually really good, too. i dont remember their name, but they had a girl playing bass and she was pretty much carrying the whole band! she had a very good bass sound, too. playing an old, beat-up fender jazz. it once again drove home the point that the bass player and the drummer are pretty much the two most important people in the band. theyre highly underrated, but actually quite noble positions - bass and drums. cause they make the other folks look good! without a solid rythm section, there really aint no music!
...and on that note ill end it. until next time!