<<< do you have any more apple juice?
<<< sorry. I finished it.
<<< we'll get more.
<<< yeah. eventually.
<<< as in "the big event" of the day?
<<< maybe so.
<<< has it ever occurred to you that the confrontational nature of super rigid black and white thinking might be massively unhealthy?
<<< of course it has, phil. I was born during the day but I wasn't born yesterday.
<<< or that certain religions are biased? even my beloved taoism or your beloved buddhism?
<<< again- ain't no news flash.
<<< or that all and any forms, even the mildest, of what might be called "conspicuous consumption" are wrecking the earth? wrecking the innocence of many vulnerable sentient beings?
<<< I think the earth might be a little more resilient than you're giving it credit for.
<<< that's an optimistic position.
<<< is it?
(long pause. phil takes an energy bar out of his shoulder bag, unwraps it, and eats it.)
<<< franny posits that chanting is not more holy than the murmuring of a stream, even a polluted one, or that counting one's prayer beads is no more sacred than normal everyday breathing.
<<< she's a weird one, that franny.
<<< or that colorful religious robes and scarves are no more "spiritual" than plain civilian clothes.
<<< you can get all of that stuff at the thrift store, you know.
<<< yeah, I know.
<<< so you're sayin' that there are two approaches to authentic (and I know you hate this word) "spiritual" cultivation?
<<< I never said anything like that!
<<< but you implied it! the first was the affirmative approach which accepts and includes everything with a positive attitude. from a quote "ethical" standpoint, it means extending universal virtue to all, regardless of any external condition. isn't this different from the relative, affirmative attitude that is expounded by certain denominations or sects which include some things or people and callously exclude others?
<<< it does seem a little bit different.
<<< anyways, the second approach to this business of (sorry) quote "spiritual" growth involves the flat out denial of all things external to one's own quote "true" nature.
<<< what the fuck are you talking about?
<<< let me finish- this includes but is not limited to the denial of all creations, all individuality, and all conditions. only by telling these things to go "take a hike" can one unveil and unfold layer after layer after near-endless layer of illusion.
<<< if you say so.
<<< I say so! it may seem paradoxical, but the attitudes of affirmation and denial essentially amount to the same exact thing!
<<< sarah, hun, I'm getting a little concerned about you.
<<< no need- just let me finish- people like franny and tom and sometimes even nathalie accept all and deny all at the very same time! they say that if you deny all that is external to your true nature, you eliminate mental entanglement and contamination and thereby raise your overall awareness of the world situation to a more subtle level. but guess what? the same thing happens by accepting all things without any partiality towards one particular thing!
<<< that's impossible.
<<< agreed, but that doesn't make it any less true!
<<< ok- let me see if I'm getting this- you're saying that all of a person's viewpoints, concepts about life, self, god, science, history, politics, others, etc are more or less a bizarre tangle elicited from random events selected randomly from his or her own "personal journey"?
<<< not exactly.
<<< which implies, does it not, that if one's mind is strongly conditioned in this way, it is as if one measures everything with a crooked ruler?
<<< would you prefer a straight ruler?
<<< not sure.
<<< what about all that stuff regarding "accepting everything under the sun with open arms"?
<<< it's using "acceptance" in a very particular way.
<<< should we bust out the dictionary?
<<< no, it's more delicate than the mere definition- hey- I'm gonna run across the street and pick up a little more apple juice- you want anything?
<<< ok- be right back.