Tuesday, October 21, 2003

We drove up to Multnomah Falls yesterday, Martha and I, and we had a talk that cleared my head considerably.

So many things in play here. It's become clear to me, though, that I should no longer keep a "practice journal" -- not that I mean to censor my thoughts when they tend toward practice, necessarily; but that there is a certain privacy and reserve I should keep about it. Without that reserve the practice tends to escape my ownership, to move into the space of things I ought to do. And we know what happens to those :-)

We talked about teaching Dharma. I've been watching the impulse to do that, and what I see ain't pretty. An impulse to "tag," to spray-paint my name on any available surface: except in this case the surfaces are human beings.

Then there's the impulse toward contact -- how to disentangle *that* from tagging? I don't know. Clearly I can't live without it -- though I understand finally, I think, what impels hermits and yogis to head for the woods -- plain simple straightforward desperation. How can anything change in my soul when all my attention is directed to greedily watching for reflections of my ego from other people?

But of course contact is also inextricably tangled up with compassion, loving-kindness, and empathetic joy.

What this works around to in practical terms is -- no more presenting myself, in my blog, primarily as a meditator (which has been rather deceptive anyway.) Only if I do that can I safely give some breathing room to the desire to make contact with it. And that has the incidental advantage of opening the scope of what I post about.

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