27 January, 2004

Stoicism: Tantric Philosophy, pt 1

Ever hear the Jimmy Buffet song, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. It is quite a happy song, I think. I personally like the verse, “making the best of every virtue and vice”. This is the heart of tantric thought.
The Tao of Tantra is simple, and it matches what most of you already understand, because the Tao of Tantra is used throughout life, whether you know it or not. I think that we are happiest when we follow it.
In the mess hall when I was a private, there was a sign posted that said, “Take all you want, but eat all you take.” Quite reasonable, if you ask me. Don’t sacrifice, and don’t waste.
The Tao of Tantra is merely the Law of Conservation of Energy, as applied to Life.
I started studying theology and philosophy rather young, due in part to my mothers search for the Truth and her willingness to let me read her books. I continue to search for Truth wherever I can, because there is some Truth in all things, and some lesson in all obstacles. Kant and Dante as well as Heinlein and Rand influenced my though processes through literature, Bruce Lee and Steven Spielberg inspired me to learn more about what they portrayed in their movies. And Rush introduced me to my first Deity archetype that I could embrace fully, Syrnx, the God of music and the arts. They also introduced me to my current god of choice, Cygnus. Cygnus is the God of Balance.
I studied a bit of Buddhism, just enough to let me discuss the finer points, but I have always been more interested in the other forms of Eastern thought and practices. Tai chi, yoga, Zen Buddhism; these were more to my liking. Chi gung allowed me an even better way to learn how to manipulate energy; this is important, because I in no way consider myself a gifted practitioner of the Arts. I am a scholar. I have to puzzle my way through what others seem to take so easy to. That is why I love the Tao so much. It helps me simplify things into processes, so I don’t have to keep making the wheel, grok?
Paganism allowed me an avenue to worship the duality of Nature in the form of Male-Female Deity archetypes. But it is the balance of these two energy aspects, Force and Form, which is the true ruler of what I perceive to be Reality. Balance is the best way, yes? Paganism and Magick melded all of what I had learned into a more complete thought process, and so I was very happy, for a time. But nature abhors a vacuum, and I try to live by the Tao of Nature, because Mother is the best teacher, I think. And Father will kick my ass hard if I don’t pay attention to what Mother is telling me.
Tantra did for me what Wicca did. It fits all of the Truths into it that I have found, but it is a bigger wineskin, grok? It teaches me more than I thought I could learn. The first thing I learned was how insignificant my desires were, how insignificant to the greater scheme of things my petty unhappiness, or indeed, my greatest joy. I thought I was happy because I live my life in balance, and so the gods reward me. I was mistaken.
Balance is not only the best way. There is no reward for living my life in balance other than my happiness. Balance is the only way. It might seem that life is out of balance, but that is because we are looking at the leaf instead of the tree. If we back up to look at the whole forest, we see that nature can be no other way but in balance. My unhappiness won’t throw things out of wack for Mother Nature for more than a flew blips on her radar screen. And if I make a pest of myself with my chaotic energies, won’t put up with me for long.
So here I am, half way to the end of what will be a long life if I am only half way, and I find out that my gods don’t care if I am happy or not. Well, fuck, I am thinking, ain’t this just a peach. But then it dawns on me that just because they don’t care if I am happy, doesn’t mean they don’t WANT me to be. And I gotta be honest, most of the time I have been unhappy, it was because I was not using the tools at my disposal.
So, I realize with some degree of shame, I was born with the tools I need to be happy, I can learn to use them, and if I am unhappy, I shouldn’t go blaming the gods. But, before I use a tool, I should learn how to use it, and as someone kindly pointed out, if I do not know where I am going, I will never get there, except through blind luck. I don’t believe in blind luck. I prefer chess to cards, but if I do play cards, I ALWAYS cut them. Of course the game is rigged, but you can’t win if you don’t bet.
So what is the definition of happiness? It is mercurial, it seems,everyone will tell you his or her version of happiness, but it never QUITE fits the listener. I will share with you my definition in part 2.

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