Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The wisdom of Buddy

Hi, my name's Buddy. I'll be your spiritual guide for a while. There's a lot I have to teach you before you'll become enlightened, but the journey's part of the learning process and trust me, it's going to be fun. But before we start, I want to tell you a parable.

Years ago, when I worked in an office for a while, I was stood outside a meeting room telling a group of colleagues how I'd managed to clinch a business deal the day before with an inspired use of judo when one of my colleagues, a tall man with a saturnine aspect, said distinctly, "I hate you, Buddy."

"Do you?" I replied. "Do you really hate me? Do you wake in the morning fresh from dreams of burying me alive in an unmarked grave in Epping Forest? Does your breakfast have an iron tang to it, because you know in your heart of hearts that it should be seasoned with my freshly spilled blood? Do you drive to work focused intently on the road ahead, hoping that I'll appear at the roadside so that you can veer to the left and run me down? Is your day spent planning in meticulous detail how to get me to electrocute myself in the washroom?"

"Or is your hatred of me the weak, insipid kind that etiolates your spirit, drags your mood down with your low-level revulsion, not only of me, but also of yourself for your inability to do anything about it? Do you earn yourself an ulcer for never releasing your rage? Do you deprive yourself of happiness, hoping that some spiritual voodoo will transfer it over to me, and that karma will kill me for you?"

"Where is your passion in your hatred? When I hate, I hate intensely, like the bright light of a supernova, and just like the supernova, my hatred explodes outwards in wonderful, fantastic luminence, slaughtering everything in its path."

"I don't hate you that much," said the tall man looking sulky and disappointed. He shuffled his feet and frowned.

"Do you hate like that all the time?" asked another colleague.

"Of course not," I responded. "But I carry my passion throughout everything I do. In the absence of hatred, other emotions may take the stage. When I love, I love so thoroughly that everything else ceases to matter. I never have to ask if the earth moved because if you'd even noticed the earth, then it wasn't me loving you. And when I set out to make a deal, I make my deal and the handshake that seals it is like the sonorous ringing of the judgement bell for all concerned."

We dispersed at that point and went back to our desks. The tall man continued to hate me in his small, mean way for another two days, after which time he unaccountably opened a window and stuck his head out while the trees outside were being pollarded. The chainsaw sliced messily through his neck, and I looked up just as his head fell past the window, and I know I saw recognition in his eyes.

The moral of this parable is, of course, that tall men can always be cut down to size.

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