In every culture in the world there are questions, curiosities and concerns that preoccupy the mind. Although they are different in each locale, they all relate to placing ourselves in a cultural context. They allow for a classification and reassure the questioner that their world view is correct and that others fit within it. This maintains our illusions of order and keeps the chaos at bay. It is one of the ways we make sense of the world, and reinforce and comfort ourselves that our particular conception of the world makes sense and that we have our place within it.
In India, one of the first questions I was asked wherever I went was “Are you married?”
In Bali, it was invariably “Where are you going?”
In Mexico, almost always “Where are you from?” or “Where do you live?”
And here in the US, it is almost always “What do you do?” or “What are you going to do?”
Today is my last day in LA for awhile. Tomorrow I will board a bus (yes, a bus) for San Francisco, where I will be for about a week before entering a Zen farm in the Bay Area for a while to practice zazen. After that I will go back to visit my family for a couple of weeks and after that I think I will spend a couple of weeks in NYC.
And after that? Who knows?