Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dinosaurs and Zen Buddhism

Yesterday afternoon, I went to play with Gil, my 3 year old grandson. We played a weird and hilarious game we concocted together. He wanted to have his dinosaurs dancing round his plastic volcano to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. So I supplied a doctored version of the song, and we danced the dinosaurs round. Then he pressed a switch, which made the volcano erupt and throw off rocks, and this knocked over and injured several dinosaurs (though none fatally, I'm happy to say.) So then we had to get the dinosaur ambulance and wheelchairs and stretchers and take them to the dinosaur hospital. When the patients were settled on makeshift beds, we left the doctor examining them, and started the whole process again with more dinosaurs. It was completely absorbing, and wildly funny.

Later on, at teatime with my friends, we ate sausage and mash, and talked about a variety of things - astrology; the latest Marilyn Robinson book and whether narrative drive is essential to one’s enjoyment of a novel; a daughter’s recent childbirth experience; whether or not if you say that someone looks after their own needs in a relationship it therefore means they are selfish; Zen Buddhism; the slowness of the Co-op check-out staff; Taoism; and how vital it is at our age not to put down a novel you are reading, because if you do, you forget what has happened and have to go back to the the beginning and start again.

When I look back on these evenings, I always remember the laughing and the jokes and the way we tease each other, and yet I always come away with a lot to think about…Zen Buddhism, for example. Living in the moment is a very appealing notion. Driving home, I realised that when I am playing with Gil, or laughing with my friends, I cannot think of anything else. I am utterly absorbed. I am living in the moment. I am completely happy.

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