Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boundless Ignorance

By being truthful but skill-less I have become, I think, the cause of another train wreck in my family. There is some lesson lurking in this I can barely see. Some aspect of considering how others will react to what I say rather than just focusing on allowing I was honest. Seems so obvious in retrospect, but the real trick is how to address the "honest" reaction before it can cause harm.

With people you are close to, you communicate your honesty in the set of your face or the posture in your body. It's more than just controlling your words. It's what you communicate with your being. I suppose the only way to make your full being-reaction skillful is to practice sitting and doing careful audits on where you are in relation to the eightfold path. All aspects of the path actually do, I guess, inform your being, give rise to the set of your face or the posture of your body when confronted with adversity (or anything).

I can't just focus on words, or deeds. Its the full life, fully integrated, that does harm or not. I've got to look at it all. I've got to strive for the right action with every step but yet remain fluid.

My ignorance is indeed boundless.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mara Attacks

I had two days of very focused practice. Yesterday Mara stopped by and attacked. Now I feel shame, self-disgust, paranoia and anger. Picking up. Brushing off. Another step. Am I close to real change, or just creating drama to kid myself?

Reading about the dark night of the soul convinces me I may be near real change.

Thinking I may be near real change convinces me I'm fooling myself.

This is where a teacher/guide would be handy. Gotta find me one of those.

Bows to all you good people.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Suffering Over What is Not. Who Is Responsible.

WARNING: A bit of a ramble.

A friend of mine has trouble relating to her father. To her he seems quite lonely and shut down, focused only on a news channel all day long, and engaging in very paranoid and depressing conversations about the state of the world when she calls.

She is reluctant to freely respond to this person he is. She is in so much pain about the the father he is not.

It is so much easier to see the outlines of someone else situation than my own. In her I see she must differentiate the pain over what he is not from how she might like to be with what he is. Her fretting over what he is not, gets in the way of enjoying who he is (perhaps not "enjoying" but at least reacting honestly in the moment to who he is).

What he is not is all hers - is all her. No one can actually be *not* something. How can I blame someone for not being kind? How does one actively not be kind - not be xyz? Everyone is always not being everything and so, has no responsibility for not being any particular thing.

Sure, maybe this is just clever semantics, but I think there's a nut of importance in it.

If I think "he was mean." That's fine. Maybe I've got unrealistic perceptions, or maybe he was indeed mean. There is a chance "he" has some responsibility in that. But he has no responsibility for "he was not kind." He was also not green, not flying 20,000 miles an hour, not a woman, not singing a song. There a million things he was not. He can not actively not do something. So all my suffering over what he is not, is all my responsibility. If I was really aware of myself, I would say "I wish he were kinder." Now it is clearly all mine to deal with.

This leads to another idea. You could say "well, kindness is the opposite of meanness, so you are saying the same thing." That, I feel these days, is a huge fallacy I have been operating under all my life. There are no true opposites in these things. Opposite are a semantic and organizational convenience, not a fact. The universe is not in balance because there are equal amounts of love and hate in existence. That ying yang circle thing is not true. The biological processes and brain pathways that get exited by sensory input that bring us to feel hatred or anger are not one side of a processes that also bring us to feel love or peace. Each emotion, each judgment is its own absolute "thing." There is no collection of dipoles balancing.

What does this mean to me practically? Perhaps don't try to balance, strive to respond. When something or someone annoys, differentiate my disappointment/suffering over my unfulfilled wishes of what they are not (that is my shit) from my spontaneously arising response to what they really are. Was my shit is out of the way, I might be surprised at how appropriate that response is.