Early mornings are great in Seoul. The problem is that on the weekends, I don't really want to know what it's like at 5:00am. I'm not a late-sleeper--never have been--but waking up before the sun comes up isn't fun. Luckily, Koreans are sleepers. It's not that they sleep a lot though. It's more that when they have a chance to nod-off or sleep-in, they take it. This means that even my neighborhood (population 1.6 million) has a few moments to breathe.
My wife and I decided to head to a coffee shop at about 8:00am this morning. I can't really enjoy it all too much though. I don't drink coffee. Teaching and drinking coffee go hand in hand and since Koreans are big on coffee and gifting teachers, this month has been a struggle. I get coffee from students all the time and while I'm appreciative as possible, it gets a little old. Either way, my wife and I were drinking coffee and water (I refuse to pay five bucks for tea) and glaring out the large window onto the streets of Gangnam.
Across the street from us was a drunk man peacefully passed out on the sidewalk. A few years ago I would have guessed that he was homeless, but Gangnam does a good job of keeping skid row north of the river. He was just drunk. Unsurprisingly, the police were called and they chatted him up for a bit. The police in Korea spend roughly 70% dealing with drunks. Most of the time they give them the "be on your way" directive and that's about that. This case was no different. They sat him up, gave him a warning and were on their way.
The man, however, was not on his way. He sat right back down and proceeded to fade in and out of consciousness, pee on the wall and have a battle with his belt-less pants that refused to stay up. After an hour-long struggle to regain enough sense to stand, he was finally victorious and went on his way.
I watched this entire episode. It was entertaining. I've been in his position before and now, after a booze-less month, I'm starting to see how unfortunate it actually is. I used to do that in the name of fun?
By now, you've gotten figured out the format of this project. I live my life according to the rules of my chosen religion and observe the world through those eyes. I'm essentially just filtering my life through a religious screen and whatever is left on top, I examine and toss out. The bit that does filter through is presumably a jumbled mess of outdated rules and timeless advice. I try to sort that as well.
If you remember The Middle Way (which is essentially the Buddhist concept of moderation), Buddha made it very clear that extremes in either direction create suffering. I'm prone to go to extremes.
So, I will end today's short post with a question that I will answer tomorrow.
Am I actually making myself more addicted to extremities by quitting things cold turkey or starting things full-throttle?
I ask this because I have long adhered to line from a Dead song that stated "Too much of everything is just enough." Does Buddhism has an answer for me?