Saturday, March 17, 2012

"So what do you do for fun?"

I've heard this several times across the dinner table here at Green Gulch and I had to really let that sink in. What do I do for fun...

It seems at some point I did fun things- Jiu-jitsu, writing, Dungeons and Dragons, movies, video games, punk rock, go out dancing, go out-

Back then, Zen practice, running, reading- these were things I did, not for fun, but because I had a lot of time to do a lot of things.

But when I started teaching, my life was pared down. Pretty much everything except Zen practice was cut off. This wasn't hard and fast, but my compass always pointed to practice, as I think I was baring witness to great suffering in the inner city of New Orleans.

Inner city- what a term! Means so much, and seems so appropriate. My students were going without, their parents were a mess, one was shot, and in the witnessing I didn't feel quite valid in saying, "Hey, I'm suffering, too!" I was seeking the inner-city in the inner-city.

That edge is a scary one- when it's time to recognize, acknowledge, and touch your own suffering.

So, my vacations, my free time, everything went to practice. Now I live in the place I used to spend vacations in. So what do I do for fun!?

Well, I'm joining a fiction writer's work shop. I hike every weekend. I sit in the sauna and listen to dharma talks. I never miss a workout. I go on dates with my wife (which might mean going to her parents house and watching our secret The Mighty Boosh DVDs!).

I do cross fit with a friend, but that doesn't feel so fun, I'm pretty sure that's just taking care of this body. That might be more suffering, actually!

Right now, I'm pretty deep into my study of the Lankavatara, but when the class I'm taking is over, I think I'll get one of those old fantasy fiction novels I used to love so much and just read it.

Oh, and there's a Tai Chi class down at the beach, 3 times a week, only 21$ a month. I'm pretty sure I'm going to give that a try.

Fun is important. I have a new whole hearted approach to it. I'll keep you updated.


  1. This question -- "What do you do for fun?" - is one that I always ask my patients. Frequently, the answer is "nothing." I explain to them that this is problematic. Everyone needs to experience pleasure in life; everyone needs to have fun from time to time.

  2. Fiction writers workshop? Sounds great!