Thursday, July 29, 2010

Derivations on a Theme - Numbers One and Two

Hand it to Ta Wan on his blog, Pyjama Dharma, to post a lyrical ode to the water closet! He dares to explore, albeit briefly, that magical activity that most beings engage in on a daily basis: relieving ourselves!
Crazy day at work; starting one task, a list to do after, boss shouting new instructions for even more, machines misbehaving, raining outside, tired from the night before, walked upstairs, sat on the crapper, stared at the dirty wall and thought - "This, is incredible! My universe, magical - I was almost convinced for a moment there that it was real." Stared at the spiders web above as I dropped yesterdays food below, and was blown away by the magic.
We're taught at a young age that talking about such necessary bodily functions is a social taboo. How many parents become aghast when they shuttle out little Billy or Melinda to sing or dance for assembled guests and the little tyke proudly announces, "I poohed my pants" or, even worse, begins to regale others with their artistic expressions in dung!

Why is this routine topic considered so off limits? In the cinema and on TV, we can watch people make love, shoot up drugs and viciously maim and kill each other, but how often are urination and defecation integral parts of a story told? In all the years Ozzie & Harriet were on the telly (14 years), no one in their household EVER went to the bathroom!

I don't know about you, but that's a damn long time to hold it.

Let's face it. Bathroom duties are an important part of life. We routinely need to cast off that which we no longer need in order to make room for that we do. People who do not see to this need in the regular course of each day tend to get sick because maintaining waste generates internal stress and this tension impacts the rest of the body.

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the phrase, "He/she is full of shit." Generally, this comment is not meant literally as in full of bodily waste, though it may actually be true of some people. What most people mean by this common phrase is that the person's mind is full of excrement!

From a Taoist perspective, it is important not to allow ourselves to become filled up with waste -- physical, mental or otherwise. When our bodies and minds become filled with useless garbage, we tend to become bloated. A filled receptacle -- the bladder, intestine or mind -- is not in a position to be filled with the essence of Tao; too much other stuff is blocking the channel.

It would do us each a lot of good to remember to cast off that which is no longer necessary...oh, and don't forget to flush!


  1. I often have zen moments while doing the doo. Maybe the relaxation, the answering of "nature's call" and reaquainting oneself with basic functions (like breathing, maybe?), or maybe just the little time-out from life, like in your quoted blog. Probably all of those things. I do find it helps to stay regular; when I'm not, and miss a day, I really do find myself stressed, "anal" and full of shit, socially speaking. It always helps to take the time out.

    As far as it being off limits and taboo, I think it goes back to the early Christians (and others back then, like the Manicheans) who were sort of anti-body. The were turning against the contemporary (to them, degenerate and corrupt) Roman way, and so turning against the body's functions like sex, defecation, etc. A swing of the pendulum, you might say (probably too far).

    Can you imagine seeing someone on TV or a movie actually taking a dump, though? That'd be really weird to see.

  2. Yes, it would be quite weird! :-D

    On the other hand, it could easily be part of a compelling story. Because of a variety of ailments, conditions and diseases, some people -- me included -- have difficulty with doing #2. People inflicted with Crohn's Disease have a tendency towards diarrhea. People with fibro -- again moi -- either have continued trouble with chronic diarrhea or constipation.

    It might make for an interesting and courageous flick to show how this normally routine function can and does interfere with the stream (oh, a pun) of life.


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