Now appearing around my right wrist:
More of my kinda *bling!*
As I’ve previously related here, I couldn’t care less about jewelry-as-wealth/investment or as status symbol, or in fads or “fashion trends” in clothing or personal adornment. But I do like items that, for whatever reasons, have personal significance and/or are viewed in ancient spiritual traditions as having special benefit or importance. And of course I like items that have some practical utility &/or aesthetic value according to individual taste and regardless of monetary value.
So here is another example of some of these kinds of my idea of “bling”:
my sturdy, ten-year-old, $10 Timex. I’ve worn wristwatches since I was a child. I’ve never cared to spend much on them. They don’t have to be particularly beautiful. Most costly watches and virtually all super-expensive men’s watches look rather ugly to me. To each their own—beauty is in the watchful eye of the one who beholds time flying by. Tempus fugit. But for my very basic purposes a watch does have to work well, and be easy to read, or what’s the point? I would be very unlikely to wear a non-functional watch simply as adornment/jewelry, unless perhaps it was just really beautiful looking (to me)…or was a personal/ family heirloom, or something like that, and then, maybe, sure. Ars longa, vita brevis.
Cheap Timexes tend to function very well for me but usually only for three or four years. This one has worked perfectly for over ten years. At ten dollars, how much does that work out to per year, per day, per hour? Not too much to pay to know what time it is at a glance.
I’ve seen watches, mostly in glossy magazine ads, that cost more than the price of a high quality new car, even more that the price of a good three-bedroom house in a big American city. Ridiculous. Obscene. I have no particular need for extra dials, dial faces, features and functions. I might, if I was a f—ing jet bomber pilot, or on some other imperialist military murder expedition, something insanely awful like that. If I did need a fancy chronometrical instrument, for some benign reason, then I guess I would have to spend lots more money, of course. But otherwise, I wouldn’t want to wear all that heavy metal hardware or spend a ton of coin on it, unless I needed it for some unimaginable technical reason. D—n honking bigass heavy clunky chunks of f—ing metal. Don’t need em. OK, in the case of actual, benign, deep-scene gearheard type guys, sure, I can see how they might find such gizmos beautiful and intriguing. But wouldn’t they rather put all that big money into owning a home in Pacific Heights, with cash left over for buying an even bigger chunk of techno metal, like maybe a new car?
Funny anecdotes shared with me on three separate occasions by three different women in their 20s, each in her own words, to this approximately same effect: “A lot of guys my age wear those big clunky watches with all the goofy dials, but only as fashion items, status statements. No one ever wears other kinds of watches any more. When I’ve asked a guy what time it is, instead of glancing at his big fat watch right there under his gaze, he reaches into his back pocket, pulls out his phone, brings up the screen, and says, ‘It’s 3:20.’ Silly isn’t it? They never once glance at their watches. I’m not sure they even know how to tell time by reading a watch dial.”
I’ve had a couple of young lawyers, one doctor, and a couple of Whole Foods cashiers, all males, ask me appreciatively where I got my watch: “Hey, I like your watch, it’s so classic, looks vintage! Where’d you find it?”
Watch band (wrist strap):
This was a replacement at probably $2 when the original strap frayed. It’s some woven synthetic fiber—though I wish it were organic!—and it’s actually a nice shade of purple, but photographed dark brown in this shot. I love the purple accent, but various other colors would do. I don’t like articulated metal watch-bands and I would never wear a leather one. I try never to wear any leather/dead animal skin. Hey, I’m a lifelong ethical vegetarian. Though regrettably, I sometimes do cave-in these days for sturdy footwear, dag-nabbit, but for decades the only shoes I wore were always strictly veggie.
The nesting gold finger rings slung onto the watchband are my wedding band and that of my late wife. Hers fits inside mine just right. After she passed on, I did not want to continue wearing my ring on my ring finger, that wonderful chapter in my life was ended—No need to give anyone the wrong idea about my current availability status! But I couldn’t bear not to continue to always see and feel our rings. I didn’t want to just put them away in a box inside a drawer somewhere. Interestingly, since wearing them this way they have been noticed and commented upon a few times by women who have found my explanation rather moving. Points scored toward my wife’s admonition that I be immediately open to meeting new friends and eventually a new partner.
In Ayurvedic medical wisdom (etc), it’s good to wear gold in contact with the skin. The ring finger is actually one of the best places to wear gold (and certain gems) for subtle health benefits (a major subtle nerve-channel runs from ring finger to heart), but the wrist is fine, also. I love wearing our two nested rings where I can feel and see them all the time. Basically I pretty much always wear this watch-with-rings except to sleep and bathe and a few other situations. So I do pretty much always have these beloved mementos right where I can see and feel them against my skin. They make me feel good—a most significant personal keepsake. In terms of money, the gold is worth only a modest amount, I’m guessing. The rings were given to us as wedding shower gifts from a dear friend and former housemate. The engagement ring that I had presented when I proposed was one I braided from bamboo leaf strands while we were on vacation in Hawai’i. It eventually disintegrated years ago.
These are sacred blessing cords from both Buddhist and Vedic/Hindu yoga traditions, worn till they fall off. The one made of multicolor braided threads is a gift from a friend. We met on the eve of her first visit to Rishikesh, India and Kathmandu, Nepal to attend yoga camp. She asked about the sacred cords I wore and I explained what they were. When she returned from her travels, she tied this cord which she had brought as a gift, blessed and knotted with mantra prayers by the head lamas officiating at the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu.
For many years, one of my important beloved teachers, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, had his residence and headquarters at the temple at Boudhanath Stupa. And when my principle teacher, His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, was invited to teach at Kathmandu, he also resided at Boudhanath while giving initiation to thousands of people. Maharishi also established a national television station for his free educational network at the stupa—the first television station in Nepal. So Boudhanath is very special to me in many ways. One wears blessing cords until they fall off—when the blessing is said to have been fully absorbed. This one, doubling as a friendship bracelet, has remained on my wrist for about three years now, since my friend brought it home for me and tied it on.
Some of the other protection cords I am wearing are also Buddhist, but most are Vedic. In Tibetan they are named tsengdu; in Sanskrit & Hindi, they are known variously as rakhi (or raksha) bandha, kalava, mauli sutra, charadu (all mean basically the same thing as tsengdu). Protection/blessing cords, strings, or threads like these, usually red, sometimes red with gold stripes, sometimes white, saffron, or multicolored, are worn also in other Indic traditions—Jain, Sikh, Baul, Sufi, etc. and in Taoist and other indigenous traditions throughout most of Asia, and even in Jewish Kabbalah traditions.
These I’m wearing are mainly from various particular Vedic yagyas and pujas (blessing and thanksgiving ceremonies) I’ve attended over recent years, performed mostly by Maharishi Vedic Pundits. These pundits are hereditary traditional experts in ancient Vedic recitation and ceremonial procedures trained by His Holiness Maharishi to perform special ancient blessing rituals for world peace and all sorts of other collective and personal benefits. The officiating pundits knot the cords with special Vedic prayers and mantras according to the particular blessings and will either tie them on or give them to be tied on by one’s teacher or other holy person or by one’s parent or other elder, sibling, spouse, friend, etc.
There is a particularly rich annual holiday tradition among Hindus involving exchanges of cords between a sister and a brother. Every year my sisters and I exchange such blessing cords, worn as symbols of mutual love, caring, and respect. My wife and I also regularly exchanged cords several times a year at various yagyas and pujas. Four years later, I’m still wearing one remaining cord tied on by my wife. The others have eventually fallen off.
My wife and I also wore a number of cords knotted and tied on as part of various initiations given to us by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other lamas with whom we studied.
It’s traditional practice to wear protection/blessing cords around the neck as well as around the wrist. I have a friend who wears one or two around her ankles. That may not be a common traditional practice, but I love her style.
When the cords fall off, if you save them, it’s traditional to tie them onto consecrated statues of Lord Buddha, of deities, your teachers, and other saints and wisdom beings, or onto the branches of sacred trees. Or to place them in rivers, streams, or oceans along with blessed flowers, fruits, and other organic offering items left over from ceremonies.
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