Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tears in the Universal Blanket (or Return of the Mole)

Susan (via her mother, via Mahayana Buddhism) has offered a powerful life philosophy that makes a lot of sense.

There is a universal blanket that keeps you cosmically, karmically warm and safe. I picture my blanket as the dome of the sky, but warm and full of duck down. When you hit a period of being down, there is probably a tear in your universal blanket.

The tear needs to be repaired, or you will walk through your life in a perpetual state of malaise, with a manifest variety of malaise-y symptoms (including, for different individuals, anger, bitterness, depression, toxic resentment, maliciousness, defeatism, feeling fat, perpetual dissatisfaction, feeling unattractive, feeling stupid or useless).

Tears are caused by various things, but largely have to do with imbalance--if you have lied to a friend, there is a tear. You need to repair it by apologizing and coming clean.

If a friend has betrayed you or made you angry, there is a tear. Similarly, if you have been unjustly treated by your boss, or if you have been taken advantage of in a retail or social setting. You can fix the tear by validating your emotions--Susan's mother suggests in a letter, where you clearly explain exactly how you feel about what happened and why you feel this way. Because of circumstance, you can't always mail the actual letter or have an actual rectifying conversation--although where you feasibly can, you should. But writing the letter alone is an act of respecting yourself and thereby fixing at least part of the tear.

If you ran up a credit card debt you can't afford to pay off on something frivolous, there is a tear. You can patch the tear up by being super-careful with money until you are out of the hole.

The mole, for example, has a perfect universal blanket, with no tears in it. The mole lives in harmony with his (or her) personal universe, which is why in times of stress (eg being caught in the middle of onrushing traffic) the mole is saved from precarious situations.

I think it's important when we go through difficult personal periods in our lives that we reevaluate our philosophical framework. I don't do very well with concepts of higher deities in whose hands I should place my trust in the future (and sincere apologies to all my alcoholic friends, whose higher power has saved them, and I'm not going to argue with them about it) but I DO think there's something to be said for trying to reassess one's--for lack of a better word with fewer religious implications--karma.

After some close consideration (during the editorial meeting, when I was meant to be taking notes) I came up with the following guidelines for prevention of tears in the universal blanket.

Mole Commandments

1) I will be productive

2) I will take all available opportunities to educate myself

3) I will not disclose unnecessary personal information about myself or about others

4) I will not feel entitled

5) I will be generous with my time, my energy, my affection, and my forgiveness

6) I will say only good things about other people (and if I have nothing good to say about them at that moment, I will not say anything at all, even if this means resisting the powerful urge to take part in a conversation)

7) I will seek proactive solutions to my problems

8) I will not blame others for my mistakes and shortcomings

My plan at present is to reflect upon the list at the end of each day and see how many commandements I have broken. For each one I haven't broken, I will give myself a metaphorical gold star. I might even go to CVS and get some actual gold stars.

ps I have run out of usable mole images from google image search. does anyone have any pictures of sweet moles? please no body moles, benign or malignant.


Space Alien said...

Buddhism is great.

Though I'm not sure who Susan is [well not by that name], or why you were talking to her mother about this, it sounds like a positive way of approaching the world.

Good luck, my little mole friend!

angelle said...

Buddhism is great. Karma, I believe, is real. But I sometimes think it's a macroscopic thing and not as simple as whittling it down to the small things. Although the small things, obviously, do count. I think, at the end of the day, as long as you try your best to lead a morally conscious life, things turn out okay. I really do believe in trying to find the silver lining in things. Now you know I don't believe in organized religion. But I think karma is for real. You reap what you sow, you're responsible for your deeds. I don't know about tears or whatnot, I just know that we've all got to do the best that we can to do the least amount of harm to people and the greatest amount of good. Call me idealistic.

Good for you and your decision to reassess the way you lead your life on a daily basis.

I'm very very tired.

jalexissmith said...

I am not sure I like this new Ratatat. Life's problems should be solved with chocolate cake, gin and tonics and silly emails sent from one's keitai. Just my two cents...

Crystal Posey said...

For the second you will have to weed through some odd photos, but if you keep going there are more pictures ;)

Now that I have seen mole after mole after mole, and I must know something. Is your photo a possum or a mole?

You would think it really wouldn't matter, but my curiosity constantly gets the best of me.

writermomof5 said...

I have now become a student of mole-ology. I loved this, thank you.

moonrat said...

ha! i like new comments on old posts :) thanks, guys. and i'm glad i got a chance to remember and talk about the mole.