and the higher purpose of materials

May 5, 2008
By Paige Etheridge, Stony Brook, NY

I prevent myself from having too much attachment to my room and its objects for several reasons. Love of material things clouds the human mind by making it unable to see the true nature of reality. It causes human suffering, prevents Nirvana, halts reaching Buddha hood, stalls becoming one with Tao, etc. This has been enforced by various text and speakers of Hinduism, Buddhism, as well as my own religion of Taoism. Despite this I’m no saint. I’m not like the main character from Janet Tashjian’s The Gospel According to Larry who only owns 75 items. To top that, I’m no where near Job of The Bible who gave up all his worldly possessions. I have things that I do care about, but only because of their utility in helping me develop as a person. They are contained within the growing haven I call my room.

I have the most beautiful dream catcher within my dueling space. It’s hanging over the edge of my bed rather than the head, since that’s the only convenient place where I could put it (there happens to be a hook emerging in that part of ceiling and I have no other wall room). It was a gift my friend Ester gave me from Israel. I was having a series of horrific nightmares; we both thought that I was being plagued by demons. She believed this would be the best remedy. When I first hung it up, I instantly felt a change in my space’s atmosphere. It felt like there was an invisible old wise spirit connected to the catcher and he had now moved into my room. I liked this new notion of my own secret guru and protector. I sleep better now and I remind myself that there is positive energy surrounding me so I need not fear demons or dark entities.

Then there’s my Good Charlotte aka G.C. poster of Benji and Joel Madden. Its on the wall right behind the dream catcher. Before I knew my heroes such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Buddha, and Lao-tzu; I looked up to the twin punk rockers. The Madden brothers are the ones that got me through junior high as a 7th grader. At the time I was deprived of punk culture and trapped between a world of Ganster wanna-bes and Ivy league wanna-bes and when peer pressure rolled around they gave me the strength to say: “That I don't ever wanna be like you/ I don't wanna do the things you do/ I'm never gonna hear the words you say/ and I don't ever wanna/ I don't ever wanna be you/ don't wanna be just like you/ What I'm saying is this is the anthem throw all your hands up/ you/ don't wanna be you” because I knew that “...I could never live the way they want/ I'm gonna get by and just do my time/ Out of step while they all get in line/ I'm just a minor threat, so pay no mind.” G.C. was my window band to finding all of my punk rock music such as Sum 41 “I don't wanna waste my time /Become another casualty of society / I'll never fall in line/ Become another victim of your conformity And back down…”, Green Day “One nation underdog/ There of which I stand alone /A face in the crowd /Unsung against the mold /Without a doubt, singled out /The only way I know /I wanna be the minority…”and Simple Plan “Shut up shut up shut up don’t want to hear it/ Get out get out get out of my way/ Step off step off step off you’ll never stop me/ Nothing you say today is gonna bring me down. All of this music gave me the strength to remain the odd one out. I just enjoyed being myself not matter how many times I was told to change. I owe the preservation of my identity and sanity to Good Charlotte, especially Benji and Joel Madden. Even now when the pressure at Ward Melville gets intense I look up to these guys. I remind myself that I am living and setting my life up, to be exactly what I want it to be. I’m a punk at heart. I can still make that statement because of them.

Then there is my black belt in my closet with my uniform and black belt certificate above my desk. What I had to endure to get that strip of cotton with that piece of paper was incredible. I still can’t believe that I actually surpassed my black belt test. But now that I have it, I know that no one can hurt me anymore. I knew that as I was being pushed past my physical, emotion, and psychological limits during my black belt test, that I was heading for a state of mind where all of the human parasites in my life would not longer be able to touch me and that could never be taken away from me. This might be a hard thing to understand unless an individual goes through it themselves, but a black belt really does change your life. For the first time in my life I had honor because I passed that test. I finally understood what honor really meant and why the Japanese had honored it so much, it’s a powerful wonderful thing to have. I have fewer issues with my peers now because of my rank as well; everyone seems to know even though I only told a few people about it. Passing that exam and receiving the fruit of my labor was an important pinnacle in my life and when I enter my room the first thing I do is look at those two items and think of how far I’ve come, where I am now and how much farther I can go as a martial artist and as a person.

I believe that the relationship that I have with my room and the objects it contains is appropriate. The collective and its keeper all represent the struggles I’ve been through and who I am today because of my triumph over them. But as a wise teacher once told me “If your room fulfills its purpose, it was meant to be temporary. You will one day go beyond it to another place.” I apply this concept to my possessions as well. In life I will continue to grow and reach beyond. When I leave my mortal state, I will be stripped of all my possessions and be left with the inner person I have become.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Feb. 26 2010 at 11:05 pm
iMeowTao BRONZE, Paige, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To strike with the might of God is to strike with the will of God."
"I'd rather die on my feet than keep on living on my knees."
"Politics: One goes into the shower as a bar of soap and emerges as scum."

An enjoyable read... ^ ^


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