I woke with a tension headache, around 4am. For migraines, I need to stay horizontal. When I wake with the tension headaches, there’s nothing to do but get up, sit at the table and try not to move. I crawled into the shower first, trying to loosen the muscles of my neck with heat, and then I drank a bunch of water just in case, and then I sat and was quiet.
My plan for today was a trip to the bookstore, to see what they had, to buy some books. Not an obscene amount, mind. Just, a book or two or three. I went with an idea of some I wanted, but I also went with the idea to browse. I had to drop packages in the mail for Beth, and the bookstore is literally right across the street from that post office.
I should not have gone. I should not have decided that I would browse. I don’t browse, I overwhelm myself. On good days, I really can’t browse a bookstore the way I used to be able to. Today wasn’t a good day. Today was a bad head day.
The fiction books I wanted (The Name of the Wind, the next in the Jemisin series I’m reading, maybe some C.E. Murphy) their either did not have, or only had new and I didn’t want to pay new book prices, even for a paperback. There were, though, a few other books I saw that I considered. I can’t find any of them online to share, and of course I didn’t take note of authors because headache. One was a book on Hindu deities, and it was a nice size, with very little text and pictures on the facing pages, and the pictures weren’t even half the size of the page, but I still liked thema (there was a Matsya!) nd I wanted it. I carried this book around with me while I browsed.
One was a commentary on Radha and Krishna, and I’m vaguely interested in them enough, and it was a small book, and not expensive at all, and so maybe. Except Krishna (the topic of) makes me angry, and I was already angry, and so I decided no.
I was angry, because there was one that had a promising title that I can’t remember except it made me think: Vishnu and compassion, cool! And instead it was a Krishna Consciousness book (or it was a Krishna Consciousnessesque book) and it just . . . Blargh.
I say it’s irrational anger, but it’s not. It’s not. I can follow it’s trail back to the various roots. I have an outsider’s understanding of Krishna, but I can’t deny the joy of existence that touches Him. I have an immediate disinterest in the human incarnations of Vishnu, and Krishna is by far the most popular of these. He’s The Cool Kid. He’s found in a throng of humanity. I can’t imagine finding any common ground, and I’m just not interested. I don’t like the monotheistic tones. I don’t like the party and the dance and the fun and the crowds, oh the crowds. I find that the feeling is not far from resentment, and that’s likely not fair. I’m not sure what to do about it. Mostly I’m just holding it.
But it’s also – and possibly more? – things like: I don’t want to challenge my ideas of what constitutes compassion. The book spoke of how the way to show compassion was in preaching, and that was extremely off-putting. It touched upon another bit that I find distasteful of this/these paths, and that’s the veneration of elders, of gurus . . . and this brings to mind something I heard the other day that isn’t truly related, but sort of fits?
So, I’ve been watching various interviews on Youtube with Reza Aslan, because he’s a funny, funny guy. In this particular talk, he was discussing American religion, or whether or not there was something unique about the various religions in America (or rather, if there was something “American” about them) and he spoke of our individualism, and how what Christianity or Judaism or Islam or what-have-you in other countries, wherein there is an emphasis on community, looks different than how these religions look in America.
I think about this a lot, really, because I think that at a certain point our individualism works against our ability to build community. At the same time, I think community above the individual can also be undesirable. What if you don’t fit the community you find yourself in? I’m just . . . not interested in anything that gets between me and my relationships with the Powers.
I don’t want to have to even consider looking at different ways of understanding compassion. And that alone has me thinking I need to buy the book. So, we’ll see.
I bought none, and I came home, and I’m agitated and angry and restless and on the verge of saying, fuck it.
All this without even touching the whole white woman browsing the Hinduism section at the bookstore. “No, it’s not what you think.”
I’ll be in my bed, with the blankets pulled up. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll go book shopping.
(edited to add: this was written yesterday. The bookstore might happen today, woohoo!!)