I realize that all sorts of horrifying things are happening in our world right now, and there are people far more qualified than I to expound on these important world events.
So I'd like to talk about something smaller in scale, but still insidiously evil: the proposed tenth season of Friends.
Now, I understand that the post-9/11 season eight brought comfort to a lot of people. And one could argue that the world needed season nine to continue the narrative trajectory of season eight and provide some sense of conclusion for a bunch of characters with whom many people identified.
But the only possible reason why season ten will exist is pure greed--on behalf of the producers, the actors, and the 170 remaining viewers who can't let go of these imaginary people. If you were one of the actors on this show, wouldn't you feel a little embarrassed to come back? If you were one of the writers, wouldn’t you feel like you were no longer serving the characters, or the sacred realm of sitcom fiction, but exploiting them?
OK, that leads us to the discussion of our next yama, aparigraha, or non-greed.
Aparigraha suggests that hoarding, taking more than our share, is a barrier to enlightenment. The anxiety of grasping and demanding (not just material things but also things like other people’s time and attention) takes us out of the moment and belies our true nature, which is unlimited and non-material. Thus, the antidote to aparigraha is to give freely (not at the expense of our own well-being), to share the wealth (cuz it’s an illusion anyway) and to trust that what we need will come to us.
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