Saturday, February 02, 2013

It's a jungle out there

(Source Derek Poff)

I've been watching Monk, and the theme song has kind of gotten under my skin:

It's a jungle out there
Disorder and confusion everywhere
No one seems to care
Well I do
Hey, who's in charge here?
It's a jungle out there
Poison in the very air we breathe
Do you know what's in the water that you drink?
Well I do, and it's amazing
People think I'm crazy, 'cause I worry all the time
If you paid attention, you'd be worried too
You better pay attention
Or this world we love so much might just kill you
I could be wrong now, but I don't think so
It's a jungle out there

The phrase "Hey, who's in charge here," is pregnant with meaning. Is it failure of leadership? Is it a reference to the death of theism? Is it an object relation statement--what's the internalized authority figure doing?

I was reading an essay (The Best Buddhist Writing 2012) by Bhikkhu Bodhi, in which he says we're destroying things, and that the solution is to take a larger view of things. I get that same feeling from the song by Randy Newman.

Paying attention is a kind of way of saying mindfulness. Monk has a kind of attention to detail. This stands out because one assistant is played in a not so smart way.

There are often Buddha statues in the background and his therapist gets Buddhist pillows, so there are oblique visual references to Buddhism. It is after all, set on the west coast where Buddhism has a greater influence.

The best way I know how to improve your capacity to pay attention is through meditation. That and developing the intention to be mindful, which is easily forgotten when you're flooded with emotion.

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