My philosophy of life is somewhere in between Buddhist compassion and metaphorical face punching. Not actually hitting someone in the face, mind you. I’m non-violent by nature, and more importantly, I’m only like 5’2” and 105 lbs, so punching anyone is not in my best advantage. I’m talking about proverbial face punching. As I make my way through my clearly conflicted and murky spiritual journey, I do find that I desperately want to choose compassion and love for my fellow human, but sometimes, when someone is being a real asshole, I just want to punch them in the face.
I don’t think I’m unique in this. I think most of us are really trying to be good people and then you meet that person, usually a customer service representative from a large cable company, or a representative from your insurance company that seems to want you dead because they won’t pay for your follow-up mammogram, that makes you think, you know what? I just want to tighten up a fist and pop them one. Metaphorically.When I go to meditation I struggle with my desire to figuratively face punch people. As the bright light of the Universe is enveloping my calm, placid soul, I can’t help but go off on a revenge scenario tangent in my brain for someone who totally deserves to be taken down. I take a deep breath. I snap myself out of it and return to the bathing light of acceptance and try to believe my mediation guide as he tells me that I’m okay and my thoughts are okay. Seriously? They are? Maybe he just doesn’t know how dark they are. But, okay…I’m going with it.
He also keeps telling me I’m not alone and that I have spirit guides. I want to raise my hand and say, “Hey, guy. Can I get new spirit guides? Like ones who are literary agents? Or swap a few out for better ones, like letter tiles in Words with Friends?” But I don’t. I’m meditating, for the love of all that’s holy.The meditation continues and I leave the revenge thoughts behind, assure my spirit guides I was totally joking, and suddenly I’m in a deeply meditative state, well, for me, anyway. My meditation guide, let’s just call him Don, since that’s his name. Don, is talking about all kinds of good stuff, like the power in us to have the things we want and desire. He gets us to visualize that. I do. I’m shocked because I know exactly what I want. And turns out it’s not to punch someone in the face. It’s something specific. Giddy from the simple joy of knowing what I want, I almost miss the best part. Don tells us that all that we want and desire already is. Through meditation I have come to love all sentences that end with the word “is.” It’s a whole thing. Anyway, I raise one eyebrow, which I can’t do except when I’m writing about myself in a meditative state where, I guess I assume all things are possible. All I want and desire already is? I think, “Can this be true?”
As if Don hears my question, he asks us to listen to our inner voice, which makes me think Don doesn’t really have any answers. I can’t blame him. I have no answers either. So, I give it a try. No surprise, I’ve never had much luck listening to my inner voice. I instantly braced myself for meditation failure, when, and I can’t believe this happened, it said something! A year and a half of meditating and wouldn’t you know that I finally shut up long enough to hear my inner voice. It said, “You should punch people in the face.” I’m totally kidding. That would have been a much better story. But, it said, “It will happen. Make it happen.” And knowing me well, my inner voice repeated those two things over and over again until I was like, “Okay, okay I got it. Geesh.”
There aren’t many things in life that are aptly named, but “spiritual journey” sort of sums it up. No one is anywhere in this life with their spiritual journey but on an overgrown path trying to navigate to the summit with worn out markers that point ambiguously to either direction. We all struggle to do the right thing. Trying to figure out how to be a good person when you also want to punch people in the face can be challenging. Knowing what you want and how to manifest that in the complex, fast-paced, self-defeating filled universe is also tough. But here’s what I learn from meditation. Maybe I’m okay. Maybe I’m just human. Which makes me wonder who else is human. Like maybe the Dalai Lama meets someone and as he’s walking away mutters to himself, “What an asshole.” Or maybe Malala Yousafzai sometimes has a bad day at school and say, “I can’t believe I got shot in the head for this bullshit. I hate school.” And maybe even Mother Teresa, one time, before getting into bed, screamed at the top of her lungs, “I want a half day at the spa, dammit.”Being human is not for the weak. Trying to be compassionate when you are hurt, broken and feeling defeated is almost as hard as hearing your inner voice through your busy mind. But I’m trying, dammit. I’m listening. And if everything I want and desire already is. Well, hell it’s up to me to make it happen. I’m going to trust my inner voice and if it’s lying, I’m going to punch it in the face, metaphorically speaking, of course.