In Which our Hero does not look very Good
Well, I was going to suppress this post. Or really, to be more precise, I wrote it with the clear intention of not posting it. But I think maybe it would be better for me to do so, although (because) it certainly doesn't show me at my best. It's in response to some of the comments from last Tuesday's post. I wrote it a day or two afterwards.
I don't know if you know the sensation of being kicked in the kidney. A weird numbness, from the thighs to the middle back; and especially at the lips. Then a little lambent runner of pain on the surface, and then a sharp nausea, which vomiting doesn't help.
I hate him. God help me, I hate him. I wouldn't hate him if everyone came to my defense, like they did to Lorianne. But not a single one has posted a single thing. Presumably, they think as he does.
He's right, of course. I have no business mouthing words about a life of the spirit. My practice is dry as summer dust. Infantile doodling. And I talk on and on and on, as if that was going to do anything for me, instead of practicing. So that a little snot-nosed prig who thinks he's terribly spiritually advanced, because he once read a book and looked at the sky and had, like, a rush, man, can shit on me and walk away. And I, knowing I'm no different from him, am reduced to silence.
And no one comes.
Worse than that. They come and read, and then they silently walk away.
And every moment of anger and pain demonstrates nothing but that he's right. And now I know why I write about a life of the spirit: because without writing about it, I have nothing at all. That's what's kept this sputtering little flame from going completely out.
And now it is out. So fuck you, Mr Hari Prasad, wherever you came from. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. I may have no dharma in me, but if you think I can't pitch you into a hell-realm easy as winking, you don't know fucking much. Which was, of course, obvious from the start.
You think you can dabble in mysticism, and swagger about blaspheming other's people's paths, and pay nothing for it? We'll see. I call down the curse. May you
I rose to it once, to generating love for him. I can do it again. And he did set me free, in a sense. We are told to regard everyone as our teacher, especially the people who piss us off. And here's the lesson: more practice, less talk.
I could, if anyone -- anyone -- would rise to defend me. But I feel that he's not only broken me; he's drawn a circle around me. That no friend will ever enter that circle again. Utterly alone, from now until forever.
I could if my head didn't ache, and my eyes weren't swollen.
I could if my project design hadn't been revealed as impossible to implement, this morning.
But I come to this place, this place of utter misery. So alone. And so childish, peeved and petulant. I have only to reach out, in order not be alone. And it's only pride holding me back. That, I guess, and that if I have to ask for reassurance, it's not real reassurance. Not authentic. So I wait.
Why, though? Why doesn't anyone post anything? All I get are these smug self-righteous idiots eager to teach their grandmother to suck eggs. Have I actually offended everybody, somehow? Or just confused them? Or did they really never mean any of those great effusive protestations of affection?
So that's what I wrote. The most interesting places are where the truth bends. When I start claiming the ability to curse someone -- where the hell did that come from? Presumably, from reading the life of Milarepa. If you had asked me last week whether I practiced a spiritual path partly in order to acquire power, I would have said "Of course not" and taken you for a bit weak in the head. But I think we have here convincing evidence for it.
Another bend: notice how I invent a whole history and a set of evil intentions for the man who's angered me. I know nothing whatever about his history, or how seriously he's practiced, or what insights he may or may not have attained. Sure, he said something kind of silly implying that he comprehended the heart teachings of half a dozen religious traditions, but that's nothing that I might not say, in one of my less brilliant moments.
Now that I'm calm I look back and think that his first comment, before I insulted him, was probably well-meant, if a trifle condescending. But I was, for the space of writing my diatribe, utterly incapable of imagining that. I was trying, and I couldn't do it. My invented prig was rock-solid real to me.
Last bend, and the most telling one, I think: my interpretation of the fact that no one rushed to my defense. First of all, why should anyone have? My responses were confusing; it was hard to tell how I was taking it or what I thought it meant. Second, so who keeps on reading comment threads the day after the post? Generally, only the people who commented. But after having invented a malicious prig as my adversary, I populated my entire blog world with his supporters. This is seriously delusional -- and yet it is I think it's a standard move of the angry mind. Quite "normal," in the sense of "common." Having created my nemesis, I go on to endow him with a army of simulacra who are just like him. I see this in political rants all the time.
We are told to hold everyone -- especially our enemies -- to be our teachers. They will reveal to us what our friends never will. The fact is that this man had hold of a truth that I needed to hear: that I was turning writing about not making progress with the Dharma into a diverting pasttime. The stakes -- as Michael said last night -- are way too high for that. Way too high.
I can be happy that I managed eventually to take this as a teaching, to have it inspire practice. I can still see that the way I'm taking it as a teaching is not entirely open. I'm pearling it, secreting a nice nacreous insulation around it so as to render it comfortable. Even this post is partly that.
But to be able to see it, albeit unsteadly and unwhole, is something. And the thing has driven me to practice. Just about anything that gets me to the cushion is a good thing.