A Zen’s-Eye View: Lojong slogan 58: Don’t be frivolous

Web Lead

To work with this slogan, it is necessary to look at how you spend your physical, mental and emotional time. In short, how do you invest your life energy? It is easy to fritter time away in frivolous pursuits that are entertaining and do not infuse your life with quality. Such activities lead nowhere and are a waste of your one precious and wild life. Chasing after and indulging in mindless entertainment is like eating junk food: It is ultimately unsatisfying, and, if truth be told, ultimately harmful.

Frivolity comes across as lighthearted and innocent, but it is not. It is not real openness, but a form of aggression toward your own best self. To be frivolous is to be self-indulgently carefree, unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose, to have little or no importance, to be unworthy of careful attention. Frivolity results in a life not fully lived.

Keeping things on the surface level may help you prevent any discovery about the reality of your life, or about life in general, that might rock the boat. An unexamined life may help you feel more comfortable about floating about in the shallows of your brief existence on planet Earth, rather than assisting you to delve into the depth of reality. But since the amazing power of your true nature lies in its innate desire to realize the highest of enlightenment, suppressing that instinct by opting for frivolity, takes work and drains energy. To maintain a narrow field of self-centred comfort, you have to keep pushing down the truth of what it means to be alive in a human body in this time.

It is tricky to work with frivolity. First, it is easy to confuse it with the kind of openness, light-heartedness and playful childlike mind that is cultivated by meditative practice. We can all cite a spiritually realized teacher who displays child-like openness. It is easy to think that because the Dalai Lama laughs under all conditions he is an example that advocates frivolity. But, in truth, the Dalai Lama is a highly serious person. He’s serious about compassion, peace and about restoring political freedom to the Tibetan people. The trick is that frivolity can seem like a virtue, but it isn’t, and that true happiness can appear as mindless frivolity. The second trick of frivolity is that it is possible to overcorrect, to counter frivolity with an overblown self-righteous display of seriousness. But the mind/heart cultivated by Zen training is neither stodgy nor frivolous. True spiritual training will help to avoid both frivolity and serious self-righteousness.

One could say that the play between seriousness and frivolity is a kind of spiritual humor. The most solemn occasions often have an undercurrent of absurdity; and the silliest interactions can have an undertone of profundity.

Suggested practice: Take a census of what you think about and how you spend your time. How do you distinguish between what it frivolous and what truly takes care of your life?

This column is a long series of short essays exploring the meaning of the Lojong Slogans. It is inspired by the work of Judy Lief.

Kuya Minogue is the resident teacher at Creston’s ZenWords Zen Centre. For more information, she can be reached at 250-428-3390.

Just Posted

RDCK calls for reversal of Sinixt extinction

The board opposed a land transfer to the Westbank First Nation this week

Creston police kept busy with unwanted guest complaints

Creston RCMP responded to 59 calls for assistance

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Rural residents could face higher fire protection costs

Erickson and Arrow Creek property owners will pay more for fire protection

Brewery workers claim more job losses

Interior Brewery Workers Local 308 says that Labatt Breweries of Canada is manipulating data to justify the loss of jobs at Creston’s 50-year-old brewery.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Most Read