Saturday, February 14, 2015


One time on retreat, a woman suggested that sport talk radio was escapism. I was surprised at how quick the denial came out of my mouth, and I say today that sports fandom is escapism. As a person working hard to squeeze out the most meaningful life, I ended up in social work, and this has been a challenge because I can be a sensitive person. Even worse, now I'm in child welfare, which is for the thickest of the skins. No Rogerian unconditional positive regard. There are systems of condescension and blame. I thought I heard the worst stories of abuse in the female prison I worked in. Well, child welfare has them too. The secondary trauma of listening to trauma is perhaps what the social worker hopes to master as the wounded healer.

I sat down to read a book about one my new escapist subjects (How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization ), soccer, and walked into grim descriptions of hooliganism in Serbia and Croatia. At least I had been warned the book started out negative and then got progressively more positive as it went along.

And then there's the entitlement of compensatory indulgences, the feeling that I dislike being put upon so much to work, that I have the right to gork out on light ensemble friendship sitcoms while playing video games.

And then there's the pure laziness, the immaturity of only wanting to do what I want to do. There are times when I subjugate myself so much for others, that I go on strike. I actually love giving to others, but sometimes I feel needy.

My flawed human approach to Buddhism was a reflection of my own personality and sometimes what I presented gave people the impression of escapism. That should have been a sign. Life teaches you the same lessons over and over until you get it. Don't imagine my escapism tinged Buddhism is the real Buddhism, I think it's counter to that actually. Meditation is about facing your experience, instead of running after the various escapist sticks, turning to the stick thrower. Engaged Buddhism is about facing problems in society and yourself. Not escapist at all.

So like this family the father sees his face in everyone, I see myself in my escapism. It is everywhere.



Justin Stoker said...

Ok, I have to ask: what's the point of my pic at the end of this post?

I reverse-googled it to see where it's gotten since I posted it on reddit, and found it here.
I don't mind, though! I like that people like it, but its relevance here piques my curiosity :P

Stephen Bell said...

I was writing about how sometimes you, me, anyone brings their personality and whatnot to the study of the Dharma, and that influences what you see in the Dharma.

Your picture of everyone having the same face sort of conveyed that idea visually, you see yourself in everyone in the family.

Thank you for letting me use it.