By Louis De Lauro
So, The Tattooed Buddha gave me a once a month column to try out.
My simple words will be aimed at people who are new to Buddhism and people who have trouble practicing Buddhism. My writing offers nothing for actual Buddhists and people smarter than me.
This month, I have three goals in mind.
1. I am going to make you feel better even if just for a few seconds.
2. I am going to remind you I am from New Jersey in my monthly column and I am going to remind you that Jersey people have a strong mindset that conflicts with Buddhism, yet embraces Buddhism too.
3. I am going to keep these entries short, because Jersey people are direct. We get to the point quickly and we slap you in the face with it. Sometimes we punch you in the gut. We are honest. Blunt. And willing to confront you.
Wow. I took care of #2 by writing #3. Feeling proud that I mentioned New Jersey already. Okay, let me get to #1 and #3. I want to make you feel better and keep this short.
I don’t want to be grumpy.
I want to believe in happy endings.
I want to believe in something greater than Buddhism. Like a God. Like an afterlife. Like a reason for being.
And I want this damn pandemic to end.
I don’t know. As much as I want to be a happy old man who fully embraces life and lives to 100, and dies during a mid-afternoon nap, I am pretty sure Buddhism is about losing my wants. I need to stop wanting so much and just start doing.
This pandemic doesn’t care what I want.
I want to hug my mom and dad. I haven’t hugged them since February. I miss my parents’ hugs. They are getting older. I am getting older. Every hug is a gift. Will I ever hug them again?
I want to see my friends. I haven’t seen them in person since March and phone calls have been infrequent. I miss them. I miss the laughter. The storytelling and the small talk.
I want to wake up in the morning and be excited about my day. I am waking up grumpy. Sometimes I wake up miserable.
Right now, I am not excited about my day because I have too many wants. So what am I going to do?
I am going to call my mom and dad and tell them I miss their hugs. Then later this week I will drive over to see them and sit outside with them six feet apart. There will be no hugs, but I will use the kindest words. My words will hug them. And their words will hug me back.
I will also drive to see a friend or two this week. And I will sit outside with them six feet apart and I will try to make them laugh or feel better or maybe I’ll just listen to them. I will tell them I miss them. I will tell them I miss their stories and small talk.
And I will wake up tomorrow, and choose to be excited about my day.
In actuality, I will wake up grumpy again. I will embrace being grumpy for a few minutes. Then I will recognize I am grumpy or miserable or angry or sad or confused. Then I will redirect my thoughts into positive actions or neutral actions. I will decide what my day will be like. And my day will be okay.
I will stop wanting. And I will start doing.
And so will you!
Sure this column is about me, but it’s also about you.
I hope I accomplished #1, #2, and #3.
But #4 is up to you! Wait, what was #4?
4. I will get you, the reader, to respond to my blunt Jersey Buddhist challenge. Stop wanting and start doing! So get to it! Go!
I love pizza, pork roll, and you. I am The Jersey Buddhist.
Thanks for reading.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Dana Gornall
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