I am no spring chicken. Come this February I will be 64 years old, two years shy of my planned retirement. Retirement. A very scary word and a very scary new world. I am having a very difficult time planning what to do with myself when the time comes that I no longer need jump out of bed every work day at 6 am. Oh sure, I will enjoy being able to roll over and snooze on for another hour or so, but that still leaves the rest of the day to be filled. I hate doing household chores, something that I should have considered before I decided to become a home owner.
And the house needs a lot of maintenance, upkeep, repairs, general cleaning, constant pruning. The house is the most demanding and unforgiving mistress that I have ever had. Car ownership is a close second. At present I do not own a car and I do not miss it. Whenever happen to need a car these days I simply just rent one. I also belong to a car sharing co-op here in Philadelpia called Phillycarshare.com. Then there is also a rival company called Zip Car. Same general idea. Just rent a car for a short period of time to handle shopping chores, medical appointments, etc. Then drop the car off and you are done with it. No headaches. No worries about storage, insurance, maintenace, upkeep, finding a place to park etc. It makes sense since I live in a city that has an excellent public transit system for commuting back and forth to work. I have cut down my carbon foot print considerably and I feel better about that as well. Two pats on the back for self-congratulation.
I have spent a good deal of time in the course of my life trying to improve myself both spiritually and physically with varying degrees of success. When I was a practicing yoga enthusiast studying Hatha Yoga under a wonderful teacher named Swami Bua I succeeded in regaining physical fitness, health and a certain degree of spiritual enlightenment. When you've done it, it isn't bragging. Just a statement of fact. However, I was under the delusion that there were higher states of conciousness that I was not yet privy to. So I undertook transcendental meditation (much harder than it looks to the casual observer). I practiced various breathing techniques, a strict vegan diet, chanting, meditation, sufi dancing, etc.
Did I ever attain Buddha like enlightenment? The short answer is no, I don't think so. Did I succeed in ostracizing myself from the general society around me, including family and friends? Again the short answer is yes. I am very grateful to Swami Bua for taking me aside one day to share this tidbit of information: he said that there was no such thing as finding higher and higher states of consciousness or awareness. It was all a lot of hooey. No one knows what happens to our souls after we die, he said. Whatever happens, if anything is an unknowable mystery and it will always be so. I was very grateful for this advice. It saved me years and years of fruitless searching. I pass along this information in the hope that you too, dear reader, will benefit from Swami Bua's advice. Perhaps you too are searching and searching for cosmic answers to every philosophical question under the sun. I wish you all good luck in this endeavor however long it may take to discover, find, achieve whatever ultimate knowledge that you seek. As for me, these days watching a good baseball game on TV and rooting for the home team to win a pennant is about as much meditation as I can muster. As I have said, once upon a time I used to be different, but now, for better or worse, I am mostly the same.