Recently I have developed an obsession with watching Criminal Minds. I have a habit of bouncing from one show to another at times depending on if I have the ability to continue watching the series. I wanted to take a break from watching through House since I only have the final season to watch so I started Criminal Minds season 1. It hooked me from the first episode. It helps that we get amazing performances by Mandy Patinkin, Matthew Gray Gubler, Shemar Moore, Thomas Gibson, and Kirsten Vangsness. As a writer, I find the premise of the show focusing on the profilers of the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) fascinating. I even enjoy the quotes that are read to us by random members of the cast during some of the transition scenes. I have even garnered some invaluable inspiration from some of the episodes that are helping me with my current detective story. The motive aspect of the human condition is something that has always interested me. I like investigating what makes people tick and how certain personas differ from one another. Imagine my excitement when I discovered that there is a tie-in book out that focuses on the criminal minds among us. I look forward to adding it to my collection.
In exploring what makes other people tick, I am inevitably discovering new things about what makes me tick as well. Last week I finished reading a book that I had started a while back but hadn’t got around to finishing yet. It is part of a reading challenge I am doing. The book was If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him by Sheldon B. Kopp. I had not heard of the book until I was watching Fringe and Peter gave the book to Olivia as a gift. It has helped to enlighten me on the subject of life. Many of us at some point in time start to question the meaning of life; sometimes this leads to an existential crisis. The thing to keep in mind is that we are all on a pilgrimage of sorts on this spinning rock in the universe. The majority of us get tied up in dwelling on the past or focusing on the future that we forget that we are living in the present. This is not to say that reflecting or planning is wrong. Reflection and planning are both important tools that are valuable to us. But it is just that, a tool to be wielded in your hands to shape yourself. The past and future aren’t meant to be a prison that holds us frozen in time. I am no stranger to panic attacks and I can vouch that negative reflection or presumptions are not helpful to anyone unless it is an attempt to unearth the root of a current problem that one is attempting to understand. There is a time for reflection or meditation in moderation. In my experience it also helps to be able to reflect or plan objectively.
Here are some excerpts from If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him that I found particularly enlightening:
The Zen Master warns: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” This admonition points up that no meaning that comes from outside ourselves is real. The Buddhahood of each of us has already been obtained. We need only recognize it. Philosophy, religion, patriotism, all are empty idols. The only meaning in our lives is what we each bring them. Killing the Buddha on the road means destroying the hope that anything outside of ourselves can be our master. No one is any bigger than anyone else. There are no mothers or fathers for grown-ups, only sisters and brothers.
The Zen way to see the truth is through your everyday eyes. It is only the heartless questioning of life as-it-is that ties a man in knots. A man does not need an answer in order to find peace. He needs only to surrender to his existence, to cease the needless, empty questioning. The secret of enlightenment is when you are hungry, eat; and when you are tired, sleep.
It seems to me that the greater problem belongs to those who turn away, who will not look unblinkingly into the darkness of their own hearts. Inhuman catastrophes such as the Holocaust, the Nazi extermination of the Jews, come about not because of the immense evil of one man-beast, such as the unbelievable monstrosity of Adolf Hitler. Such horrors are not possible because of the evil of one man, but because of the folly of the many. Because so many men will not face the darkness of their own hearts, a few can wreak havoc on the rest of us.
Enlightenment and the freedom it brings are always imminent but our very efforts to catch hold of what we are seeking may prevent us from discovering what is already there. There is the image of the man who imagines himself to be a prisoner in a cell. He stands at one end of this small, dark, barren room, on his toes, with arms stretched upward, hands grasping for support onto a small, barred window, the room’s only apparent source of light. If he holds on tight, straining toward the window, turning his head just so, he can see a bit of bright sunlight barely visible between the uppermost bars. This light is his only hope. He will not risk losing it. And so he continues to strain toward that bit of light, holding tightly to the bars. So committed is his effort not to lose sight of that glimmer of life-giving light, that it never occurs to him to let go and explore the darkness of the rest of the cell. So it is that he never discovers that the door at the other end of the cell is open, that he is free. He has always been free to walk out into the brightness of the day, if only he would let go.
An Eschatological Laundry List:
1. This is it!
2. There are no hidden meanings.
3. You can’t get there from here, and besides there’s no place else to go.
4. We are already dying, and we will be dead for a long time.
5. Nothing lasts.
6. There is no way of getting all you want.
7. You can’t have anything unless you let go of it.
8. You only get to keep what you give away.
9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.
11. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You don’t really control anything.
14. You can’t make anyone love you.
15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
16. Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable.
17. There are no great men.
18. If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.
19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends (yes, you too, and most certainly I myself).
20. All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation.
21. All of you is worth something, if you will only own it.
22. Progress is an illusion.
23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems.
24. Yet it is necessary to keep on struggling toward solution.
25. Childhood is a nightmare.
26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown-up.
27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
28. The most important things, each man must do for himself.
29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that’s all there is.
31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge.
33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
35. No excuses will be accepted.
36. You can run, but you can’t hide.
37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
39. The only victory lies in surrender to oneself.
40. All of the significant battles are waged within the self.
41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.
42. What do you know…for sure…anyway?
43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again…
End of excerpts. I urge you to check out the full book.
I’m a collector of many things such as Movies, Books, Comics, Figures, Posters, Art, Swords, and Knives. My taste is quite eclectic. Lately I have cut back and even cleared out some things that I have either lost interest in or has become too expensive to keep up with. I struggle with the impulse to buy certain items. Luckily, I have the ability to use restraint when it comes to choosing whether or not to buy items for my collections or pay bills. Soon I will be moving to a new house. The fewer things I have to move with me the better. I plan on going through my things and seeing if there are any more things I can part with. I do not want to become a clinical hoarder. However, there is one thing (or two) that I have always wanted to own that I have never had the room or the money for. At the moment, I still don’t have the money for but maybe one day. That thing is a pinball machine. I have my eye on a couple that already have the spouse seal of approval. Pictures are below!