June 20, 2012

I am not a monk.

As a wedding gift, Alex’s close family friend sent us a six-foot tall gold encrusted Buddha. Because I’m a spiritual materialist (meaning I want to buy all things that serve as a reminder that I don’t need to buy all things), I was giddy when Buddha arrived, squealing as I ripped through six inches of saran wrap encasing.

After discussing whether Alex should move in with his brother so that the Buddha and I would fit more comfortably in the bedroom, it was decided that the Buddha should remain in the living room, staring at all who enter.

Like most people who display religious or cultural artifacts, I had high hopes that the Buddha would serve as a constant reminder of simplicity, peace, and love. Instead, the Buddha serves as a constant reminder that . . . I am not a monk.

Well, this is obvious. Let’s just say they don’t call it “Bu-DUH!!” for nothing. (That was a terrible pun, but I’m not sorry for it). But in case you had any doubts, I am not a monk because (1) I do not renounce anything, (2) I don't think I'm a Buddhist, and (3) I look terrible in orange and therefore could never don the robes.

Because of the Buddha’s prime location in our living room, he is privy to all my fallibilities. He notices when I steal a piece of pork to gnaw on from Alex’s plate. He greets me when I walk through the door holding 4 large Bed Bath and Beyond bags filled with kitchen stuff that I don’t actually need. He overhears when I vent to my mom on the phone about people who drive me crazy. He observes when I try to sit for my mindfulness practice, and then sneakily check my phone when a text message beeps in. He sees me run back and forth from my bathroom to my bedroom in multiple different outfits because I can’t decide which article of clothing looks best. He looks over my shoulder when I’m trying so hard to mono-task on The Mindful Mentors, but then seek distraction by checking whether the Huffington Post has any new juicy liberal sensationalism.

In sum, the Buddha sees all my flaws that arise in our tiny NYC apartment. Lucky for me, he never says a word of judgment to make me feel bad. (I’m not sure whether any one sells a “talking elmo” version of the Buddha, but if they do, I don’t want it). Rather, the Buddha’s presence alone brings attention to the fact that I still have much to learn.

Because I can't lug this shiny gold statute around to keep me on track, I'm trying to learn how to be my own buddha, bringing a nonjudgmental awareness to my flaws with the hope that the recognition leads to positive change. Then, maybe one day, I'll look better in orange.


  1. An excellent reminder Kerr. I think we need a little golden Buddha for our house too.

  2. Ker -- amazing post! You're humility and self awareness is absolutely delightful!!!

  3. LOVE the Bu-DUH! Seems like he's going to make a great business partner; wise but silent.

  4. Thanks friends!

    J-you'll definitely need a little gold Buddha, maybe it will ward off the monkeys?