How To Slay A Zombie
There is a zombie trying to kill you.
Now...let's not flip out here. This is merely a hypothetical zombie. Either way, we need to know what we're up against here. Let's explore.
Zombie...west African origin. Circa 1871. Seems like it was some sort of a snake god. Not what I'm talking about... (For all you geeks, it could possibly be from the Kimbundu word "nzambi" meaning god.)
There's also a possible origin in Louisiana...I'll leave that one alone as well.
I'm talking the original Hollywood zombie. In true squirrel style, here's something to gawk at to prove my point.
Okay...enough beating around the bush...what does this have to do with strained mindfulness? What does this have to do with anything?
I met this zombie a couple of months ago. It's trying to kill my practice. It's trying to kill the practice that should be dear to all of us.
I have heard this discussion before. Does a daily practice really help? Allow this to be my official stance...It makes me feel terrible when I don't sustain a daily practice. I think it is EXTREMELY important. I feel like a better person...a more grounded person...well, a more mindful person.
But then there is this zombie..this slow moving imbecile within my mind that causes me to forget this importance. It causes me to let my practice fall by the wayside.
Think of the classic zombie...it can't focus on anything but what it wants the most..brains. It is the only thing it can fathom. There is nothing else. It does react to pain, but for the most part, it will still come at you, while undergoing extreme pain, in order to find its next victim. Now, rearrange things a little...what are the brains for your zombie?
Is it that extra hour of sleep? Is it the next edition of the Bachelor? What is it that you crave so much that it stands in the way of your practice?
These desires..these infatuations..the Buddha warned us against them. He knew that they could become the zombie in our minds, keeping us from our goals. What a wonderful warning! The Buddha actually summed it up quite nicely in the Padhana sutra:
"Sensual desire is your first army, the second is called discontent, the third is hunger and thirst, the fourth craving, the fifth sluggishness and laziness, the sixth fear, the seventh indecision, and the eighth disparagement of others and stubbornness: gain, fame, honor, prestige wrongly acquired and whoever praises himself and despises others — these, Namuci, are your armies, the Dark One's striking forces. A lazy, cowardly person cannot overcome them, but by conquering them one gains bliss."
These armies...Mara's playground of distractions and deterrents....they are each their own zombie..and every of them is shoved down our throats. Sensual desire - just turn on the television or open a magazine. Discontent - the constant need for everyone to look better or belittle others to gain recognition for themselves. Hunger and thirst - have you had your break today? Sluggishness and laziness - my personal favorite. Fear - what a driving force in the world.. Indecision - we'll talk about that later.
The list goes on and on...we can see all of them at work in our lives and in the lives of everyone we know. They add up. They're right here with you, infesting your life and your mind.
Everyone knows a single (slow, original horror film) zombie isn't scary... it's when they gang up on you. Zombies never come by themselves. If you don't run away now, they will all be coming for you. By that time, it's too late. You're already holed up in your house, where you thought it was safe.....Think again.
So how does one slay a zombie? Here's where the mindfulness comes along. When my alarm wakes me up in the morning, I need to be mindful enough to express to myself the importance of practice, every morning. Use the mindfulness you strive so hard to grasp. Use it to free yourself from these petty armies. Realize that there is no deterrent. There isn't even any attainment. There's nothing to work for. Just a mere realization.
Then you're there. You just have to realize that the zombies kill themselves.
That would make for one crappy movie.