Went to High Street Kensington to look for the classroom I will be teaching in on Monday. For a large part of the time I was frustrated with all the activity. The rush of shoppers and thrill seekers. Every little bit of pleasure somehow felt frustrating. We went to Whole Foods and looked around. Somehow life felt unfair. So many of us (including myself) can’t afford what is that shop. All the fresh organic food (some of it a gimmick of course). But life is unfair. Or is it fair? What is fair and unfair?
The amount of suffering seems to differ. A lot of those wealthy people walking around High Street Kensington seem to live in a different London and a different world. Ditto all the rich visiting Americans. Do they suffer less than those of us who worry about the next paycheck or having enough money to go to the doctors?
How can we measure suffering? How can use a scale to say who suffers more? How many kinds of suffering are there?
I walked past some beer. India Pale Ale. And it reminded me of last Christmas with Aaron. And the Christmas before that. Especially Christmas in 2009 in Utah. He was full of life. We laughed a lot. We got a few bottles of India Pale Ale. We shared an amazing time. And it almost made me break down in Whole Foods. Seeing those bottles of IPA. And then the coffee reminded me of Aaron as well. And I felt frustrated Aaron was not among all these people walking around seemingly carefree and enjoying themselves.
But on the tube ride back to Wood Green I was reading some Dogen. About duality and non-duality. How these terms do not exist in a hierarchal relationship. The non-duality encompasses the duality.
So how does this apply to all those wealthy people? All those people who seem to suffer less intensely?
Well I cannot know their suffering! How an I know how much they suffer or how?
These things I think are true universally:
1) Everything changes and nothing stays the same
2) There is no such thing as “self”and that there is no immortal soul
3) We all suffer
4) There is a way to end suffering
There is no “self” in the western sense because everything depends on something else and we are constantly changing. It seems crazy and delusional to think otherwise.
The book I was reading about Dogen helped. For a while.
I must continue to practice. To see things as they really are.