Anger. I always take anger as a signal that there's wickedness afoot. What it really signals is that there's something about a situation that I don't understand. I had the wherewithal this week to go someone I was angry with and try to find out what I didn't understand. Within five minutes my anger had evaporated. Sure, I still thought she had acted foolishly. She thought she had acted foolishly too. But she was deeply hurt, and (as it looked to her) hitting back -- not starting something out of the blue. I already knew that the main person she was dealing with (I was just collateral damage in this) was also feeling deeply hurt. I tried to convey some of that, but I don't know if she could hear it. I suspect there's more still that I don't understand here.
Shamatha for an hour this morning, then walking meditation for a few minutes, and half an hour more of Shamatha. It was a mistake to let Ngondro absorb all my practice time. I've been missing Shamatha.
I've put myself on a program of "Ngondro conditioning." Feels weird to apply what I've learned about aerobic conditioning to a Dharma practice, but after all, the prostrations *are* an aerobic exercize. So I have a nice little system for working up to where I want to be, with a day or two of rest each week. One thing that does is quieten the little mosquito-buzz of thoughts about how many I should do in any given day, or how many I should be doing in general, when I'm practicing. I wonder how much of the precision of ritual, at which my mind is so accustomed to scoff, is there just to shut down the static of fretting about the details of ceremony. Not that it matters where the butter lamps stand in relation to the water bowls, but that it matters if your mind fidgets with the question when you want it to be contemplating the great kindness showered upon it by the sources of refuge.