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Morning Meditation - An Instructive Image

Image result for saving private ryan capt. john miller
This morning as I was meditating I suddenly found myself thinking of this scene from Steven Spielberg's masterpiece, Saving Private Ryan:

Tom Hanks's character, Captain John Miller, has just survived storming the beach at Normandy on D-Day. Now he's visiting battalion headquarters to report to his commanding officer. As he waits, he can't help but notice the soldiers around him, all clerks, enjoying hot shaves, hot coffee, and roast beef sandwiches. He's been cold and wet and surviving on C rations for days. Can you blame him for being a little envious of the pogues? He's the one risking his life in combat, he's the one swimming high seas of terror and horror in order to accomplish his mission, but there are no comforts provided for him. Only yet another mission.

It doesn't seem fair, does it? He's earned those small luxuries a hundred times over. Compared to him, a commander of an elite platoon of infantry, these men hardly rate as soldiers.

But he doesn't waste time with resentment. Part of what makes him special is his ability to do without those things. To complain that he wants his fair share would be to dishonor himself. More importantly, indulging that discontent would degrade his ability to carry out the orders he's given.  

Whinging makes you combat ineffective. Which is what my unconscious mind was reminding me by summoning this image. Yes, I'm lonely. Yes, I have all kinds of great qualities, and I deserve some love and affection and a home. Sometimes when I see happy couples, young families, I think, God, I want that so fucking bad.

But the nature of my work--exploring phonomancy, teaching others how to do what I do, through method and disciplined effort--means that I can't have those things. If I want to do my part to save the world, I'll have to do without them. So I tell myself, Some day, and then get on with it.

I do that knowing that "some day" might actually mean "next lifetime." That's where belief and faith come into play. Swallowed by maya, it's very difficult to believe that there will be a next life, let alone that my efforts now will pay dividends then. That's something else that makes me the best me I can be: knowing how unlikely it is, but choosing to believe anyway.

Like any effort, this costs energy. It causes strain. But the point of spiritual training is to become strong enough so that one can bear a burden for as long as is necessary. That's how one becomes beautiful in the eyes of the Goddess. Can you hear me, Harrison Bergeron?

It's not enough to endure privation stoically, either. What I'm really being tasked with is enduring with grace and good humor. This does not come all that naturally to me. Inculcating those qualities is part of my process of self-actualization. And now I've got an image for the man I want to be: Capt. John Miller, Company C, 2nd Ranger Battalion, 29th Infantry Division.


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