Sunday, February 05, 2012

About Vipassana (part 5)

It's Sunday night and I just watched the last five minutes of the Super Bowl. I didn't really care who won but I always like to watch people celebrate sports championships. The crazy high of all that work, maybe a life's work, must be something else. They're so happy! A couple years ago I made some recordings from the internet (before homeland security blocked most of the illegal streaming sites) of the press conferences after the Lakers won their last one and made it into a really depressing song. You can listen to it here. But speaking of a crazy high, it's been a week since I got back from the meditation course and even though I wasn't exactly "high" I felt pretty good last Sunday. Very clean and clear headed, at a distance from wanting the usual things. Over the course of the week, as stressed piled up from the new semester and as I fell off the schedule of evening sits, I'm remembering what real life is actually like.

This has been the big question upon my return: how far do I want to go with the practice? It's one thing to know how to meditate and use it to reduce stress, have a little more patience, and be a little kinder, or whatever, but it's another to make spiritual teaching the center of a life. What's different this time, is that this far into it, I feel like I can see where all this is leading, and I'm not sure I want to go there at this point in my life. Thus I rebel. So far this week I've been eating meat, having sex, and lying (though I don't know exactly how I've lied, I just figure it comes with the territory of talking), which leaves only stealing and intoxicants before I'm back to where I started. That is to say, it's really difficult to keep it clean. More importantly, I love my friends, and I feel like I would have to get new ones if I were really wanted to commit myself to living a righteous life.

Is there a compromise? I don't know. They don't teach that at the course, so I guess I'll have to figure that out on my own. Morning sits and trying to keep my mind open is the best I can offer. Asides from that I'm not going to make any commitments other than those I've already made to teaching and writing. Maybe when I actually accomplish something in the secular world there will be time to pursue meditation with the commitment it requires. That said, Vipassana has pretty much changed the way I see the world in some fundamental ways. Ways that I believe have allowed me to live a much richer and fuller and in the world kind of life. There is so much to learn by turning one's attention's inward in a trained way, and really, I'm lucky to have a job where I can get away for weeks at a time to study. No ending or conclusion. I'm going to get into bed and read a book. In the morning I'll sit and start my day.