Thursday, September 04, 2003

I haven't posted in a long time, for two reasons. One is that my practice has gone to pieces, and it's too embarrassing, after having presented myself as the resolute practitioner, to confess how easily the prospect of lingering an extra 45 minutes over breakfast has been trumping the aspiration to free all sentient beings from suffering. The other is that Lama Michael has emphasized a couple times lately that you should keep your practice secret.

Now, it makes all the sense in the world to keep your practice secret. When you've got a huge snarl of thoughts, and you're trying to tease out the threads of ego-attachment, who in their right mind would tie extra threads to their fingers while they worked? Isn't this job hard enough already?

So I wonder if I should be making this public. But then also I don't know how public it is: no one I see daily, or even weekly, reads it, and mostly it lives in this weird half-private half-public cyberspace, where we all prance about in our underwear with paper bags over our heads, anonymous exhibitionists all. So far I don't feel any ill-effects from it. And people have said it's useful to them. I'm still baffled by the interest people have shown -- I would think that nothing, nothing could be more boring than a personal practice journal; that it would be like listening to someone's interminable recitation of last night's dreams. Though on the other hand really what I have missed most, in reading Dharma books, is the accounts of failure and jury-rigging -- of the dogged climbs back onto the bicycle, the tiptoeing around sleeping vicious dogs, the clever use of duct tape -- the struggles of ordinary people to practice in ordinary life. There are plenty of accounts of great saints, foretold for greatness, born under multiple rainbows, flowers springing up in their footprints. Those may be inspirational -- but how useful are they for those of us whose destined greatness is a few millions lives farther down the pike?

I should just ask Michael or Sarah. I originally pretended in fact that I was writing this for Sarah, but I've never had the guts to actually mention it to her, or give her the address. I have refrained from things I knew would be bad for me -- finding out how to track "hits," or adding in "comment" software, for example. But my resistance to the idea of asking Michael or Sarah should clue me in that there may be something iffy here.

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