As I study the teachings of Buddha and enjoy the parables that are infused thoughout the text I know he just wants us all to avoid suffering. The stories tell of people who made the wrong choices and the consequences were dire. If only they had not been greedy, angry or ignorant and choosen instead the right path they would be walking the earth as enlightened beings who are happy.
I imagine the same message is in the bible too. It is for our own good that we are told these rules of living so that we do not suffer. No one wants to suffer and people want to know where they go when they die so religion has it all covered for you if you follow the path to the light and not to the dark. Apparently the dark side holds horrors that the senses provide and if we indulge in them we pay.
I am paying now as I get older and feel the tide coming in on my life. As I look back on 68 long years I can see where I took a path of pleasure that was greedy and indulgent. I should have been more temperant in my decisions and not tasted life quite so robustly. I had been warned. My mother tried to tell me what good girls were like and my Dad thought he was some kind of Buddhist and loved the middle way. They were beautiful people but I didn't see too much happiness and fun. There seemed to be lots of fear about all those sensual, greedy, ignorant choices that were everywhere just waiting to trip us up.
So I ate too much. As a teenager I was bulimic and indulged in that sick behavior for quite a few years. I think I was rebelling against control. Maybe I was just being piggy and trying to get a free ride for all the excess food I ate that I knew I shouldn't have eaten. It was a vicious cycle and I broke it when I went to college and just decided to eat what I wanted. I got bigger but so what? There are many kinds of suffering. Maybe Buddha and Christ needed to be more clear about what kind of suffering they are talking about. The little death of an orgasm is something to be cherished, not avoided.
There is the ache of a full stomach, the regret of an illicit affair and the angst of a poor score on a test. The anxiety of failing is excrutiating. No success like failure and failure is no success at all. The law of karma seems to be the only thing that really makes sense to me. There are consequences. If you want to avoid them don't do the stupid stuff to begin with. Why is that so difficult?
Because the stupid stuff is fun. I love fun. I miss fun with someone else but I still know how to have fun by myself. I am amused by life. There are so many different patterns to this existence and I like how the Buddhists explain the universe as a blank slate. What you write is what will be, so be aware and careful. If you think you are hot stuff someone will come along and mess with your vibrations and throw you for a loop. So be prepared to fail. Just don't expect not to be happy. Humans deserve a little fun. I think religions should stop trying to protect us from suffering and encourage us to take a few chances and enjoy life's ups as well as the downs. Riding the waves can be fun.
Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. Rest and relax so you can enjoy each new day.