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.
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.
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 Middle East is deep fried, oily and pissed off, frustratingly angered but that’s just a thought.
Anyway the point I am trying to draw here is that though we are made up of the different shit we eat, eventually we all meet in some huge melting (nice and stunk) tank (a shit’s Shitdom). I even like what we’ve named the container, the ‘septic tank’! You could only call this a septic tank when you damn well know what a skeptical bastard you’ve been and still are. A septic tank full of skeptic shit, everything in life fits, and the path of everything is the path of least resistance, no matter what the individual and collective states. That’s what I think as I walk in and out of the loo, and as I sit and as I piss, fart and shit. That done, the flushing knob takes on this magical significance, the very symbol of “letting go”. You push, pull or wind that thing depending on what’s provided. The sound of that water flushing away your leftovers unto a journey down a mysterious hole to a pipe is something we don’t often think about. Personally I prefer the old fashioned rusted hanging dangling chain. Pulling that lever like chain has a powerful feel about it; you are unleashing the power of cleaning and cleansing, of fresh starters and new beginnings. The positive byproduct of your action’s also the good fortune of the next visitor. He comes in and finds a decent pot of thought. I forgot we all do wipe our arses; I’d like to think, and wash our hands when done.
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.
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’.
‘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’.
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!
Shiiit! JC Talisman
Good Friday, April 2004, Amsterdam