Sunday, April 3, 2011

These subjects shouldn't be discussed at garden parties or other social events in polite society... good thing I don't go to garden parties...

Today is Day 19 on the 30 day meme and it's a doozy. Today I'm supposed to talk about politics and/or religion. Two subjects I've been told never to talk about.

And that's good advice, really, because these conversations never really lead anywhere good. Unless you're with like minded people, in which case what's the point?

But for the sake of not being a quitter, I'm in!

As for politics, I tend to lean libertarian. I hesitate to lock myself in there, but I definitely lean there. I believe in free enterprise and small government. I think people should be free to make their own decisions as long as those decisions don't harm others or prevent others from making their own decisions. I worry about anyone leaning too far to the left or too far to the right. Bumper stickers stating political opinions irritate me. Sometimes they even ignite a private little rage within me.

Today I saw one that said "Remember 9-11-01. Because the Democrats have already forgotten." On the same car was another sticker that said "Does my American flag offend you? Call 1-800-LEAVE-THE-USA" And it sort of made me want to smash in their windows. Not that the idea behind either of those stickers was so offensive... but the manner in which the message is delivered is. It was parked in a handicapped spot. I was tempted to wait and see if the driver came out and was actually handicapped. Then I realized I would have been disappointed if they were handicapped, so I went on with my life.

As for religion, I've cause many a loved one much agony over this. I was raised in a non-practicing Catholic household and religion was never forced down my throat. The story of Jesus and the Virgin Mary is beautiful and the promises Christianity make are truly amazing.

But I will never be a Christian.

Do I believe in God? I haven't decided.

I study Buddhism and I try to follow the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. It's a path that I will continue to walk for the rest of my life. And whether I am reborn into a new life when this one is over and get to go further in my quest for enlightenment is not something I dwell on. Maybe that's what happens and maybe we are all reunited with our loved ones in heaven. It's not for me to know or pretend to know.

What I do know is that I can continue to live my life as close to the Eightfold Path and the Middle Way as I possibly can. I can bring myself back to center when I stray, and I can truly live the most honest and noble life I am capable of.

And if that lands me reborn or in heaven or just recycled into the earth to feed plants and worms, that's just fine with me.