When I was in high school, there was this song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that could be heard everywhere, all the time: on the radio (remember that?), in the local stores and pizza shop, even on the MTV culture which was then being birthed. The song was titled “Refugee,” and its refrain was omnipresent: “You don’t~ have~ to live like a refugee.” Even though I never really liked his music, that song got beaten into my consciousness like a hammer. It still sometimes comes up into view for no reason, like, for example, almost any time there is an issue with refugees on the news. That song and those words just dress up the concept in my mind — the guitar riffs, too.
Yet that song has more truth to it and depth than met my jaded teenage eye (or, ear): How much of our time in this world is spent endlessly wandering and floundering among the endless, unquenchable waves of mere phenomenal existence? How much of our existence is endured as wanders and exiles in our own abode?
Here is a talk which I delivered a few days ago during the Kyol Che here at Zen Center Regensburg.