Shifting gears a little in the tone of my (sporadic) blogging, I’m going to write a little less about what little I think I know about Zen/Buddhism/meditation/whatever because, frankly, the more I read by people who seem to have a far greater understanding than I, the less I’m able to communicate about it with any confidence. I’m not a monk, or studying to be one; I meditate almost every morning but get the sense that sometimes I’m just sitting there doing nothing. I like wine, I have a potty mouth and I definitely don’t have a quiet mind most of the time.
Most of the time I’m bored, disappointed and numb.
I’m currently reading Brad Warner’s “Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate“ after enjoying and having been introduced to Dogen in Warner’s “Sit Down and Shut Up“. “Zen Wrapped…” is a highly personal account of some chaotic times in the author’s life and I find his honesty refreshing, especially in a time of I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours-but-don’t-post-it-on-Facebook circus of online socializing.
I’m still reading it but I think that Warner makes Zen more embraceable by us “regular” folks because he’s a Zen master living like most of us do – working a job, paying the bills, having relationship trouble and dealing with aging parents. His style has been influential for me to go back to blogging the way I used to before blogging became all about SEO and ROI.
In the year or so I’ve been posting about the touchy-feely stuff that just about everyone else posts about meditation and Zen I had left out the part about how, looking back, I had really cracked up. I mean really… as in I am fairly sure I had an honest-to-goodness breakdown, or something very, very close to it.
Thinking about it (as I do, everyday) it seems like it was inevitable. I was anxious, unmotivated, frustrated and slowly going broke. If you’ve read my extremely abridged timeline here, I’ve mentioned a few key turning points in the plot so far. Prior to the move, I could only think about all the problems I thought I’d be leaving behind… but I hadn’t really factored in culture shock and the aftermath of realizing that, Holy shit!, I am really fucking far from home! – a theme some of you regulars (and you know who you are… all 4 of you) can easily recognize as one that flows through about 90% of my posts so far.
I can tell you that I remember exactly where I was (sitting on a park bench) when everything just crashed down on me like a ton of bricks; I can also admit that what precipitated it was created entirely in my mind with zero relation to my (then) current reality. What it boiled down to was this: The aftershocks of the events during the previous 4 years just all came to a head in that one moment and I lost whatever tenuous grip I had left on any sense that things were going to be OK.
At this point I have very, very few flesh-and-blood people that I interact with; at the same time (and somewhat ironically) I’ve become more withdrawn from the empty mental calories of online life (if you can call it that). Perhaps that a good thing if I really want to be serious about liberating myself from the suffering of craving… in the long run.