Monk Dreams and other things

little monks playing in the afternoon
Image by Sukanto Debnath via Flickr

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s one of the main questions we face in life, right up there with “why do we exist?” and “why can’t I ever figure out how to program two shows on my DVR while watching TV at the same time?”

When he was three, my son used to emphatically yell he wanted to be a “baby doctor and a monster truck driver!” Now he’s moved on to “a math teacher…or a scientist that discovers a new planet.” My four year old daughter usually answers with, “A pink princess ballerina cowgirl!” Same thing I want to be someday, how strange.

But, in the off chance my pink princess ballerina cowgirl dreams don’t come true, what are my alternatives? After much consideration, a few cups of coffee and some mind-sucking time spent on Facebook, my career path has reached the only occupation that rings true for this middle-aged housewife: I want to be a monk when I grow up.

After all, I love the Dalai Lama. (Holla, your Holiness! Text me! We can compare notes on what is wrong with humanity these days, it’ll be fun.) I’ve read countless books by him and about Buddhism in general over the years. I just finished another Thich Nhat Hanh book on prayer this past week. Pema Chodren’s book, When Things Fall Apart, is on tap for next week. I have the utmost respect for these people, their lives and their teachings. They seem to have a handle on this existing business. I read their words and take them to heart and I know they speak the truth. I am living a lie.

My daily life is so caught up in technology and useless information. My brain is on overdrive.  I want to be free. Free from Twitter, Netflix, email and an overflowing DVR cache of unwatched shameless reality TV shows. I want to give up my cell, throw my GPS in the trash and delete my Facebook account forever. I’m sure I can live without knowing I have to turn left at 1.3 miles. Maybe I can manage existing without the urge to let my “friends” know in my status that I had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.

I want to live in the moment. I want the power of Now. I want to know the Secret. Don’t tell me it’s not possible in this hyper, short-attention span world, Oprah says it is! I want to shed all of my wants and desires. I want to live a simple life. I want to spend my days meandering around some ancient forest, wearing nothing but a frock and Birkenstocks and owning nothing more than a bowl and a spoon. I want to be one with nature and connect with the universe.

But how does one go about this sudden career change? Is there a University of Phoenix online course? Can I catch a how-to video on youtube? Maybe there’s a secret monk society that meets once a week at my local rec center, right after the Tuesday night Zumba class?

And what exactly does a monk do all day? Chant? Think? Eat? Pray? Love? If this is what a monk’s life is all about, then this woman is ALL over that. Just please leave Julia Roberts and her giant toothy smile out of it for the love of God/Buddha/Oprah.

Even if I woke up one morning and informed my husband and family that Mommy was going off to “find herself” and become a monk, what would be the reaction? These days I can barely take a trip to Wal-Mart by myself without huge amounts of guilt and an unshakable feeling the world will fall apart without me.

No worries. As long as there’s an article on how to become a monk on the eHow website, I can take comfort in knowing my dreams won’t die. (Even in spite of the fact that the article tells me it will be “Moderately Challenging”.)

No doubt years from now, when I’m old and gray and the kids have long since moved out, these dreams will still be there, gently whispering to me, taunting, “Darla, you are not living your life yet.” “Darla, stop surfing the net for iPad deals on amazon.com, it won’t fulfill you.” “Darla, stop updating your Facebook status, no one cares.” “Darla, let it go. Let it ALL go.”

Meanwhile, I suppose I can always be a monk in my mind. Sure! I can meditate and Zen out with the best of them. Or just catch the TV show Monk in reruns. Good show! OCD is hilarious! I can SO relate! Yeah, I think I have a few dozen episodes on my DVR right now…Peace out.

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24 thoughts on “Monk Dreams and other things

  1. I second Mellssasmeanderings sentiment – there is peace knowing eHow can show us the way. Though I must disagree with regards to Netflix … I find a wonderful escape via that jewel of the ‘internets’. Have you tried searching the Meditation & Relaxation genre? “Chill Out with Vision: Aqua.” I kid you not – though I could only stomach about 5 minutes of it.

    I’ve given up FB and Twitter for Lent. The shakes have already started….

    1. ha! I haven’t searched netflix for that genre yet…hmm…I’ll have to check it out. I was toying with the idea of giving up facebook (not just for Lent but in general) and I think I might be able to cut down. At the very least I should TRY to not check FB every single day. *shivers* Maybe once a week? (gulp!) Sure, I could do that..right?! Someday?

  2. LOL. A monk. Not what I would have thought of, but strangely a calming idea. I tried life without all the technology- I mean FB of course- I couldn’t live more than a month. I suffered severe withdrawal and could not hold it out much longer. It got easier but still I would drool at computer screens and if i needed a recipe or did not know how to clean a stain, my brain started short circuiting searching for eHow in my head. It is scary. If you can make it- let us know. 🙂

    1. ha! Yeah, I think putting into actual practice might be a lot tougher than I think. Especially Facebook. I check it every single morning like a ritual…get my coffee, check FB. Gonna be hard to break that habit. I’ll try to cut down a little…

  3. So glad you added a Share button. I can’t read your blog without feeling the urge to share it with someone. You are very clever! By the way, I am a Mainer (well, only for 4 years and not currently). But I will be again by the time school starts in the fall. Where do you live in Maine? I love meeting other bloggers in person. It would be fun to have a meetup sometime. Thanks again for another insightful post!

    Jen

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I grew up in Freeport (right next to L.L. Beans) now I live closer to Lewiston. Still, not too far from the coast, which is always nice. Hope you continue to drop by my blog! 🙂

  4. I like to joke that I want to pack up the family and move to a compound somewhere is=n a remote location and live off the land. As tempting as it is to live w/out technology, I’d be dead in a week with out facebook to keep me in “adult” company during the days in the mommy trenches…sigh

  5. You know, there are all kinds of experiential vacations now. You can spend a week on a working farm or an archeological dig. Maybe there are monastery getaways. In fact, I’d be surprised if there aren’t. It might be fun. Or really, really boring.

    Great post Maineiac, as always.

  6. Reminds me of how nice it is to lose power once in a while. (Where we live, we lose power probably up to a half dozen times a year). We reconnect, live in peace and quiet, and plug in the old corded phone- at least for several hours. I think the trick is learning how to enter into this state of mind whenever we need it. You hit it when you said that you want to live in the moment. That’s the challenge.

    1. When we lose power, it is such a nice break from all the technology. (after the kids stop asking me to turn on the TV/DVR/CD/computer over and over again!) It’s great to actually just “be” with each other, talking and playing board games…like the “old days” when they didn’t have a choice. LOL And to have peace and quiet is such a luxury in this day and age. I crave it all the time. This is why I’m anxious for warmer weather so I can start going for long walks again.

  7. I love the Dalai Lama, he seems so happy. I’ve read a few of his books and really enjoy learning about their philosophy of life. I was raised without religion & spent many years looking for my own–and I dig what he’s to say.

    By the way, I love your banner–Nice shot!

    1. He does seem to have a handle on things (except, he’s probably a bit stressed with naming a successor and all lately!) I was raised to discover religion and spirituality on my own and was led to Buddhism in college. It’s always appealed to me, though I can’t seem to put it into practice these days…I’m working on it.

      Thanks for the comment on the picture–this is the view from my backyard. 🙂

  8. Mary the OINKteller

    If Oprah says we can, we can! 🙂 I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but am glad you do. This is the problem with the half-empty approach: I have a long list of what I don’t want to do (grocery store bagger, housekeeper, and chauffeur are among those professions I’d eschew if I had the chance). On the other side of the paper, there’s a big ? mark. Must. Meditate….

    1. Oprah knows all! Yeah, in my 40 years I’ve finally figured out the things I DON’T want to be when I grow up. It was a long haul but I’m narrowing it down. Better late than never I suppose… 😉

  9. Thanks for making me laugh out loud after a long, tiring day at work! (Hope the kids didn’t hear me and wake up)! There actually are “monk courses” that you can take in Buddhist countries – Thailand, for example. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? Well, I should be tuning out right now instead of blog surfing 🙂

    1. You are very welcome! Always good to laugh these days. And I seriously wondered how one trains to become a monk, how long it takes, who is eligible…I figured there HAD to be a course out there. 🙂

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