Some time in the last century a friend of mine offered me some of her avocado.
No, thanks, I said. I don’t really like them.
Her eyes grew wide. How can that be? she asked. They’re so good.
I don’t get why people make such a big deal about them, I said. They’re bland. They don’t taste like anything. There’s nothing special about them.
But how can you not love that light, creamy, green taste? she pressed. It’s so rich and delicate at the same time.
She handed me the avocado and a spoon. Go ahead, she said. Try it again.
I didn’t hate avocados. They didn’t disgust me. And she seemed really sincere. So I thought, What the hell? And tried it.
And the windows were opened and the light came in.
Of course there was a light rich, creamy flavor somehow deep and delicate at the same time. But it wasn’t new. It had always been there.
It makes some people nuts when you say they’re perfect as they are. They feel pretty shitty a lot of the time, and they’re 20 pounds overweight, or they can’t stop smoking, or they’ll never finish that novel, or whatever the fuck it is. They can’t get their shit together. So when you tell them they’re perfect it seems idiotic, it sounds like bullshit.
And Death is so scary! It’s awful. Death is Darth Vader. Death destroys worlds. Everything frightening is frightening because it threatens us with death, even when we don’t see it that way. Even if we say we’re afraid of losing our job, or losing our wife, or losing our minds, it’s all death. It’s the loss of ourselves.
Because everything threatens us. Life is a stranger’s sojourn, and we’re never at rest. To be alive is to be uncomfortable, and to be imperilled. When we’re lonely we long for love, and if we find love we’re afraid to lose it. And often we do lose it, despite our best efforts or, worse, as a result of our best efforts, because our best efforts were not what the beloved wanted.
And other people are always happier than we are, or better looking, or they have more money.
So, you know, when you tell some people they’re perfect the way they are, they just think you’re mocking them, or that you’re full of shit.
The problem is that our consciousness, the faculty that makes us so successful, that thrust us into unfettered dominion over the beasts of the earth and the fish of the sea, and endowed us with the vision and the tools to create the Alphabet, the Electric Light, and Two and a Half Men, has brought with it this illusion of a Self that is separate from the rest of the universe, that travels through it and is threatened by it.
But it never ends. It’s never good enough. It can never be good enough. And we see everything from the inside, from the ghost’s point of view, from the grave.
And the world doesn’t care, and it doesn’t help us. It doesn’t take us seriously. It keeps throwing shit at us, and taking our stuff away. We can’t keep anything, and nothing works for long. To protect ourselves we have to fix everything. If we can just organize our shit we’ll be okay.
Because we’re never satisfied, the world is wrong. We need to fix it, to fix it, to fix it.
Take a second, right now. Just stop, and take a breath, and feel the breath within your body. Cool through your nostrils and throat, gently swelling through your torso, warm and full in your belly.
You will have felt some part of that. Even if you are racked by suffering and sorrow, there is some part within you that is at peace.
How can you reach it?
You can breathe again, and watch the breath, and feel it spread through your body.
You can rest for a moment, for the span of a breath, just a few seconds. Feel the tingling in your toes or the top of your head, feel the warm luxuriant suchness of your torso, your belly, your chest. It’s just there – it just is. Feel how you are. Don’t back away.
You can let the pain go – there will be time for it later.
Don’t neglect the simple pleasure of being, the simple peace of being. Don’t neglect the miraculous fact that you are here, and that the time is now.
Do you see? It’s right here in front of you. Everything you’re looking for.
Do you see?