Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How am I supposed to be Zen when a mysterious poo is sitting in my garden of enlightenment?

I cannot take credit for the subject title, it's a line uttered by Eddie Izzard in his role as a psychology professor on the now-cancelled United States of Tara.  (By the way, good one to catch...only lasted 3 seasons but it was amusing.)

In the show, Eddie the professor has a little zen garden on his desk, similar to the one pictured right.

He's not able to listen to or concentrate on Tara (played by the remarkable Toni Colette, with whom I've been enamored since her Muriel's Wedding days), as she's explaining why she needs an extension on her exam.  All because of a poo nugget that has mysteriously appeared in his zen garden (aka garden of enlightenment).  

So he storms around, trying to figure out how the culprit got away with the heinous crime.  And he belligerently asks "How am I supposed to be Zen when a mysterious poo is sitting in my Garden of Enlightenment?"

Now, the scene is hilarious in and of itself, not the least due in part to the genius of Eddie Izzard and his classic timing.  His natural British accent gives the essence of posh while the subject matter is definitely not.  (Try it yourself...find a Brit or someone who can do the accent and have them say "poo".  I don't usually respond to scat humor but it's pretty dang funny.)

The scene and the comedy aside, however, and the underlying (obvious?) message resonated quite strongly with me.  How many times have I tried to get myself to a certain place mentally or physically and found that something not only stops me, but causes me to focus on that rather than the people and things around me that need attention.  Or in a broader sense, how many times do we as "enlightened" creatures bog ourselves down in trivialities that really don't matter in the big scheme (garden) of things.  And we use so much time and energy either managing around or raging against the object of our hostility that we burn out before we can achieve our goal.  It's a source of constant amazement to me when people around me get so wrapped up in negative behaviours that thwart their own purpose.

But I don't linger too much on them, for the simple reason that I can find many more examples of negative responses in my own patterns that need my attention.   I have many goals that I'd love to reach, tons of projects that I'd like to finish.  And yet I too get overwhelmed by the little things - things that should just be ignored for the most part.  And yet, I don't.  Too much focus on "poo" rather than pouring my resources into my own personal enlightenment.

And that's not really acceptable.  I like to think of myself as a person who is conscious of the potential in myself and not afraid to work through the tough stuff to achieve it.  (Geez, I've dealt with plenty of crap [sic] in my time and I know my own strength.)  So why is it so easy to get distracted from the goal line?  

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