the other morning in St Kilda, after the St Kilda night markets, I was talking to a friend about the generic buddhist caution against attachments in the form of craving and fear. For some reason and I suspect it is due to my way of expressing myself emotionally in general, conversations like this usually evoke the same response from people who are not familiar with buddhist meditation. Their response often goes along the lines that the process of freeing oneself from craving and fear makes the person unemotional and cold. Partly this could also be because I often like using the term “unattached emotion” which can quite easily be heard as “detached”.
Anyway, my friend had a similar response, part fascination, part grudging respect, part horror.
“I dont know how you do this,” she said, “I’m a black and white person, I either like something or I dont like it whereas you seem to chose the grey areas. Wouldnt living in the grey just be boring?”
“I dont see it that way,” I said, “I think that when I am free seeing things in black and white, when I am free from craving and fear, only then do I truly see the world of colours. Only then does the world actually become beautiful.”
She threw her arms up in exasperation.
“The way you twist away from a concrete statement is exactly the kind of thing I mean.”
She didnt really say much more about it after that so I guess I got my point across. But the reason why I’m writing this blog is because I quite liked that image I came up with in response to her. That when the mind is calm and free from the distorting effects of attached fear and craving, the subtleties of beauty both in other people and in the world emerges.
The middle path is the path of colours.
The other thing that strikes me as I write this blog is the reaction of some people to me when I talk about it. I dont think I come across as being an evangelical buddhist, at least I hope not as I do not actually identify as a buddhist, more as an intermittent practitioner of buddhist meditation. But I’ve noticed anyway that those people whom I know and would say have more attached craving and fear reactions in general are also those who are most defensive when I talk about the effects of buddhist meditation. It is almost like they cannot believe that it is possible or that the alternative of a peaceful mind must have a negative side to it.