“I was waiting on a moment
but the moment never came.
All the billion other moments
were just wasting all away.
I must have been dreaming.”
— The Flaming Lips
I love this song and its title, “Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell.” Ego tripping by arrogantly rejecting the actual moment for an idea (usually flawed) of a moment that would be better, if only it were real. Better for whom? What’s the calculus for the moment we have in mind? Anytime we deny or dismiss what’s occurring, we escort ourselves to the gates of hell. We can’t love everything that happens, but we have to respect its reality. Embracing the real is the condition for living in this world rather than an idea of it, the prerequisite for both cherishing and transforming it.
oh…I just saw this wonderful reply. Good point…I guess it could be
“grasping” happiness that’s the issue. It’s like the eating chocolate- the joy
only lasts for a few minutes if you include the endorphin rush that follows. But whether or not you struggle with the next piece or even listen to your inner addict and drive to the store to get the second whole bar you will eventually
have to transition to the memory of pleasurable experience that can’t last forever.
Yes, it’s dumb thing to do. Wish you could turn those emotions off like
a switch. What about upbeat and happy emotions? Are they also taking us to the gates…..?
I’ve wished that too, about a million times, even though I don’t think it’s a wish worth making (or granting). That’s an excellent question, about whether happy emotions lead us to the fire and brimstone. I think the traditional Buddhist answer to that would be a resounding Yes. But I’m not so sure. For one thing, I resist the demonizing of emotion, since it’s one of our most human experiences. So I’m going to qualify the traditional answer and say pleasurable emotions will lead you to the gates of Hades if: 1) They’re based on one or more delusions from which you’re likely to awaken and THEN be miserable or 2) You implicitly expect the joy to last forever, which nothing can. In both cases, it’s not the happy that’s the problem; it’s where you take it next. Which is equally true of painful emotions — in themselves, they’re not a problem. What we do with them can be. What do you think?