Tuesday, January 31, 2012

About Vipassana (part 2)

It's turning out to be a sunny day in Oakland. About ten thirty. I don't teach until Thursday (Friday Saturday) but volunteered to sub for a class this afternoon. I'm waiting to hear back. It will be good to go back to work, as yesterday was a tough transition from the meditation course. After two weeks of a very controlled schedule it was difficult to have a full day at home with nobody to tell me what to do. Um, did this then did that, then did this, etc. As a result, when dinner time came I wanted to eat something big and cheesy because it felt like I had earned it. Which is a kind of preview into how the cleanliness of the ten days unspools: reacting to vague and broad feelings (in this case, a generalized anxiety about time and work and things to do) instead of hanging out with them. Instead of sitting across from them, chatting and listening and maintaining one's own autonomy. Our constantly troubled friends driving us to drink.

But oh well. Kitchens eventually get dirty, and one the first things I did on Sunday was to eat a chicken burrito, thereby cracking the delicate shell covering my "sila" (morality): not killing, stealing, lying, sexing, sexting, sensual entertainments, or anything that would rev up my juices. Since it was going to end anyway, I thought I might as well get the pursuit of perfection out of the way. In the past, coming back from a course I haven't written much about the actual experiences of being there, a little embarassed of if being a mediator meant being religious or a "buddhist", and as I was sitting, wandering away, I thought that I'd write in detail in this blog about that. But those thoughts were early on in the course and I don't remember exactly what it was that was that I wanted to communicate that was so important.

So here I am trying to write about the past. In the future, I have twenty minutes to finish before I need to put some shoes on for basketball. I heard back from the ESL people and they don't need me to sub. Maybe get back to 1Q84, the new Haruki Murakami book (it's great!). Since I haven't looked at a newspaper yet (avoiding it) I have no stories to report though I will ease myself back into the habit soon. I thought about so many things up there but they come and go, like clouds, one day something seems so important, and you're sitting there, paying attention in a particular way, and then somewhere somehow this thing that was generating so much trouble and stress is no longer there. And eventually something else comes up and the same thing happens. It's like cleaning out an attic, you have to get through the stuff on top before you can get to the really old stuff. Kind of like writing, writing, writing, writing to remember why we started writing in the first place.