Friday, March 5, 2010
I often think about Siddhartha and his decision to jump over the palace wall, leaving Yashodhara his wife, his son Rahula, and all of his responsibilities, the palace- the good with the bad. I wonder how long he stared at that wall.
Today, I'm writing while in the problem. Most of the time I avoid my blog while I'm in "the problem" and come later with the solution, so I can show how resilient I can be. I'm coming today while still in the problem, to write about it now in a vulnerable way.
I'm pretty sure my last post was about how great I was I doing. Zen every morning, yoga every night, success in the classroom, and having enough energy to get it all done. Well, Wednesday came, and I couldn't do it, again. I couldn't go to work. Thursday was worse and today is better, but I'm at home, trying to settle.
This spell may have come as early as 3am on Monday, when I awoke with thoughts racing through my head. It was noise. There were messages. Nothing to vile, nothing too negative. Big questions, really.
Tuesday, again, I was up well before my alarm with a couple hours of sleep. Went to the temple, went to work, went to yoga.
Wednesday and thoughts had transformed into pain-in the chest, in the stomach- and into fatigue. On Thursday, I called my therapist, and he saw me right away.
He said he wasn't surprised. That when you're a recovering alcoholic and from an addicted family, I can find a lot of "triggers" in a 10 hour work day.
And all the while I'm being diagnosed and talked to, I'm thinking this is bullshit, evident and clear, and I know what I should do. I should leave all this behind, leave the psychoanalysis in that office, my job, my life, and go attain suchness without delay.
That I'm not crazy, this damn world is crazy, and I know where to go.
So why don't I do it when I know the Buddha did it? Because, the Buddha wasn't the Buddha yet. He was a way-seeker named Gautama and he went through a lot of extremes before finding the middle way. And I believe he did that for us, so we don't have to jump the wall; we actually have to do something harder.
What's harder than staring at the wall? We can't stare at our teacher, we can't stare at the Buddha, because these things are outside ourselves. Our teacher's support only helps so much- at some point, and the earlier the better, we have to find contentment in just the practice- not the place, not the names, not the different colored kesa and rakusu draped on human shoulders.
The only shoulders we need worry about are our own, and we should make sure they're slightly back, while head presses the sky and knees press the earth. Eyes gaze at the wall, inward, and this was Buddha's final teaching.
I don't jump the wall because I know it's only my ego that wants to jump. It sounds better and more grand to become a monk than all of this: to work on yourself with a therapist, to miss work when I need to, to go to A.A meetings, to sit in a small unknown temple with questionable lineage than to accept current limitations that the body/mind are demanding I attend to.
Acceptance and surrender are going to be big part of my path. Even since the shit hit the fan, I've been more focused on being "better" than becoming better. And naively, I always assume my condition, my ancient twisted karma, is in the past, that I can "think" it away by simply believing there is no past. I may be right about that, but that doesn't excuse me from the karma. Karma can be like rust.
You can accept rust, you can drive with rust, and you can forget about when the rust encroached on the surface and interior of being. You can chug right along. But that doesn't mean we should ignore rust. Instead, maybe it's a unique opportunity to take care of something, something that's born and needs attention until it grows up.
Maybe I'm just growing up.