Now here’s a phrase to think about. Just what’s so holy about that shit, one might presume? Well, assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups as Sam puts it in Pulp Fiction. I’m wondering where did the term even originate? Think about it, it’s said there’s a grain of truth in everything. Surely the shit we are talking about here didn’t just become holy one fine day in the poopers. Or maybe it’s just some subconscious thing lying dormant in the deep dungeons of the human mind. Of what may have been something truly of significance once; when people lived as nature does. Now here’s my take on the diversion and digression of the truth and where it’s landed today.
Millions of people head to the ‘Loo’ everyday, as vital, important and necessary as the very air we breathe. (The ‘loo’ is probably used as much as the word ‘Shit’). Beginning in the mornings as we rise to start yet another shitty day and on throughout the rest of our days and lives. Some days you are pissed off, other days are shitty while most days pass by as silently as a quiet fart. With some odor you might add.
But come to think about it again, where does all the shit go? There’s your comfortable little pot to sit or squat upon depending on your model and make, and you let go of everything through your two important lower emergency exits.
Recycling has never been this easier or natural. Nor as closer or similar to the Buddhist practices of detachment, mindful presence and spontaneous freedom. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m in no way belittling the great Dharma teachings and practices, but rather trying to knit what to me are common knots of seemingly mundane, even gross and crass activities such as we undertake on a daily basis; but looking deeper, beyond the conventional distaste of what comes out as unavoidable filthy refuses, one just might discover the action filled with strange resonances echoing the very Dharma! Letting go begins in the toilets more often than it does in most other human activities. Yet in our ignorance, we mess up that moment of natural detachment with comic strips, newspapers and trash prints. Anything to forget the beautiful process of letting go, hence forgetting what’s been gifted to every human being no matter how deranged minus any prejudice. Meditation is a practice and a concept sometimes easier to talk about and that much harder to practice; especially to undisciplined creatures of the physical, mental and sensual comforts.
Let me emphasize here again that the presumably lowly disgusting human need for defecation probably the one human action that comes closest to the Buddhist practice of letting go as no other involuntary action does. That’s as far as raw and crass human actions go. Bear with me here; when you take a dump, a piss or a fart, the letting go is spontaneous, and full of relief. The joy is greater when the shit has been held onto for sometime and then finally let loose. Freedom does equal such relief!
The lord works in mysterious ways, so does our bodies.
Lot of people do their reading in the toilet, or almost always carry a reading material specially when sitting upon that meditative plate of a pot. Why is that one might wonder if one’s an average philosopher with an average existential dilemma. I have no answers; I’ll just say the concentration that results in the reading comes about just so naturally. For as the process of shitting takes its own natural course, one can happily do something else, or yet better do nothing at all.
Of course things aren’t always pleasant in the letting go department. Conditions like diarrhea, constipation and other forms of disrupted and corrupted shit can take their own toll, but even these troubles are small when compared to the knowledge and wisdom that arise from these seemingly mundane carnal activities.
Yet we all have to sniff and smell the bitter stings of a constipated and an abused ass to appreciate a healthy one, whether that ass is a hole of burden or a crack of happiness. Certain lifestyles do help; a healthy drinking life makes one appreciate a good colored piss. A healthy eating habit burped with an impressive sounding fart. It’s said sometimes you are what you eat and nowhere does this ring truer than in the department of shitting, pissing and farting. Being a Bhutanese I know what a burning arse feels like and can tell a Bhutanese shit from an un-Bhutanese non-national one. I’m certain American shit contain fast food wisdom, European ones topped with continentally cultured intellectualism, sub-continental India laced with spicy philosophy and Chinese ones with just about everything dashed in. I confess I am ignorant of the African and South American variety. (They probably carry a lot of ‘samba and mamba’). Perhaps the shit in the
I hardly thought about one other important factor; one does tend to get lost in the ‘post shit periods-syndromes’. Perhaps it’s the reward of a visit to the loo that afterward you do as you been through, sitting more relaxed and calm, minus the shit in the bum or the thought in the mind. Good or bad, I do think about my shit and find myself fascinated by these mental images of my shit making this fantastic journey through the pipes in my building, meeting up with fellow neighboring pipes of shit in a local tank. Embracing each other in unison undivided by the divisions created when they were still shit to be shat out. When they were still shit in the making in bowels of people with different beliefs, opinions, professions, races, nationalities, religions and diets. From the local septic tank making the journey together to some other bigger tank to meet up with yet more shit and finally resting in some ‘utopic shit of rest and peace’.
Ready to face, embrace and transform whatever comes next. It’s not that shitty when you think about it, it’s rather humbling. I’m sure your shit would have a lot to tell you if you weren’t so shitty to begin with.
Have you ever seen anyone come out of the toilet seemingly indifferent and unaffected? Believe me, that’s gotta be an act; hidden beneath the controlled surfaces are bubbles of joy, ease, satisfaction, relief, pain, irritation, sadness etc. That toilet is one profound place! You never walk out the way you walked in!
Other people’s toilet can frighten the hell out of you, why? You realize you just stepped into ‘sanctified territory’ and wouldn’t want to pollute it with your refuse, just as you’d expect respect from people that use yours, do unto others what others do unto you. That’s all right, that’s where Mr. Knob the Flusher comes in, so that your refusals are awashed, leaving the pot as when you walked in, neat and clean. Sparkling in some cases, with no traces or stains anyone ever shat, pissed or visited the shit’s shrine.
Flatulence is another wonder deserving a book of its own, and a whole lot of praise and admiration.
Now how about those nasty stains that refuse to go away, disobedient stains that are here to stay? Well, we all carry wounded scars caused by some painful physical or emotional incident. Leaving a stain on the pot is pretty much the shits equalivant of being wounded, hurt or unhappy. Your shits trying to tell you ‘look, you gotta pay more attention; things aren’t so great down here’. (And what happens down there affects what happens up there; both are causes and effects, effects and causes). If the shit adheres to the ‘law of Karma’, we should do better.
In time though the stains do vanish, provided you take the time, patience and willingness to carefully and lovingly nurture and transform them, using all your presence of mind and wisdom.
People normally do this in other peoples toilets, maybe in their own, but ever so rarely in the most used yet so rarely respected domains of ‘public toilets’.
Public toilets are by far the most intimate private places outside ones own confines. They are like your home away from home, the one place in the threatening world where you have time to be yourself. It’s the one place nobody minds you going as they understand the significance and importance of the visit. Peacefully taking a nice quiet shit (or a noisy one), releasing a relaxing fart or a ballooned up restive pee and coming back to your-self is priceless! Except of course when you have other people sharing the holy sites with you, which can be a bit unnerving. But there’s no need to flee, the box where you are supposed to only shit can be handy in these situations. If you happen to be the shy kind, pretend you must take a good long urgent dump, as you gather your-self. People do that all the time. What am I trying to preach? It must be that shitty lunch talking. Remember, sharing is also accepting the odors of the public toilet as much as the nice dinners and wines that end up there. Once again,
‘Do unto the public toilet as you would your own’.
We are now almost onto the concluding ‘Holy Shit’ revelation. ‘If you do not respect your own little shit hole at home as a ‘Holy Shit’ shrine, you do not respect your own ‘Self’ too, if you do not learn the ‘Wisdom’ of ‘Respecting Your Own Self’, you will always have a ‘Shitty Time’ and a ‘Shitty life’.
Cultivate practicing ‘Loving Shit’ and you will love yourself, the public toilets and the world at large. I hope your next visits to the communes shall be more ‘shitative and filled with shiwareness’, with a new found love and respect to this misinterpreted word and its profound meaning. To your rectum, who’s been through so much shit, to your penis, which’s been through so much piss, just so that we could all feel better? Lastly to the rappers who’ve done so much to make ‘shit’ such a universal singsong, making millionaires out of them, know the word that’s made you so; and know that it’s not just a crap word for a hip-hop tune; it’s an expression of life itself.
As I head to the loo, I wish you all a ‘happy shitty life’ and you know by now I mean no offence when I say that. So go on and be a proud turd, respect the shit flying all ‘round you, they’ll respect you back. May the force of the holy shit always be with you!
Take Shit, JC Talisman
Good Friday, April 2004,