"Thirsty? Drink water."
Today I did a little promotional appearance for The Board over at Marta's blog. I think the topic connects with the story of my life and practice that I've been telling in this blog. At the end of my last installment, I'm just about to be introduced to the teachings of Zen Master Seung Sahn. I intend to write the next installment of my story next week as usual, but for the moment, here's what I posted to Marta's blog today:
Stuart, your posts can be absolutely bracing in the am. Like a glass of grapefruit juice, unsweetened. [snip] Go easy on those who like a little sugar with their grapefruit. ;-)
Big thanks, MC. It's cool that you use this metaphor. My teacher said that good teaching is like water. Plain water with nothing in it.
Water doesn't have an especially good taste; it tastes like nothing. Likewise it lacks any interesting color like wine, aroma like coffee, or effect like beer. Most people don't like water so much, preferring those more interesting beverages.
But water's got one thing going for it. When you're thirsty, you drink it, and the thirst disappears. You can do that over and over, all the time, in every single situation you get thirsty in, and it'll be no problem. Quenching thirst with beer or soda is OK sometimes, but if you do it all the time, it makes you sick.
So maybe Siddha Yoga teaching is more like Coca Cola. It's got plenty of water in it, so it really does quench your thirst, but it also has all this other unnecessary stuff that over time may make you sick.
Politically, I'm a free-market libertarian, so I like to see everyone have all sorts of options that they can freely choose between. I'm glad people can choose Coke, lemonade, vodka, Tibetan Buddhism, Hare Krishna, Catholicism, and Siddha Yoga.
I personally don't feel the need to recommend any of these interesting choices, since there are plenty of other people trying to sell them. People can and do try whatever flavors they like. And sometimes they get sick or tired of these interesting choices, so I say it's good to remember that there's always water.