Thoughts on passion and Shangri-La

“Passionate people create too many problems: They are reckless. They endanger others in their pursuit of fetishes and infatuations. And they self-agitate when it is better to simply relax and let matters be. That is the reason some believe Shangri-La is so important as the antidote. It is the mindset for the masses–one might bottle it as Sublime Indifference, a potion that induces some people to follow the safest route, which is, of course, the status quo, anesthesia for the soul. Throughout the world you can find many Shangri-Las. I have lived in my share of them. Plenty of dictators have used them as a means to quell the populace–be quiet or be killed. But in art, lovely, subversive art, you see what breaks through in spite of restraint, or even because of it.”
Amy Tan in Saving Fish From Drowning

Over the weekend, we met a woman in Houston who is a Zen Buddhist. We discussed Buddhism in the briefest sense, of it being a state of non-agitation, free from the impulses and labels that draw humans away from their connectedness to the Universe.

Though I see merit in the state of objectivity that comes with Buddhist meditation, I have yet to fully embrace it because I find I’m rather drawn to the messy chaos of passion. I feel that there is a time for introspection and a time for action. Right now, this is a time for action.

Today, I’m thinking on the value of art, and how it can bring truth to the surface even when may people might seek to silence a voice that makes them feel uncomfortable.

In this way, passion and art might be seen as the same thing. Passion challenges the status quo. It pushes boundaries. It challenges us to move beyond preconceived ideas to learn and adapt. Art lends us the eyes of another, so that we might see the beauty and pain we disdain in ourselves.

That’s what I’m thinking about today… I’m making the conscious choice not to be passive or blind or indifferent. I will watch with clear eyes and try to speak the truth of what I see.

My intent in all things is to lead with love and be kindness minded.

Tell me, what are your passions?