My back hurts like a bitch, I’m cold, tired, and I want to go home. Other than that, it’s all nirvana. Right?
I’ve been thinking about my so-called practice this week. I don’t sit. No matter how many times I’ve tried or renewed commitments I’ve made or how far I think I’ve come. I no longer hate meditation. From time to time, I even enjoy it, but I still don’t do it. I read a lot. I have a half dozen Dharma books I’ve read half way through and a couple I’ve bought but not made it past the first chapter. I have better luck with the memoir and anecdotal ones, the ones with both plot and Dharma. I tend to finish those. I read the blogs and the magazines. I write a lot, but have had very little direction lately. Even my many book projects have languished.
So what exactly is this “practice?” I can tell myself that every moment is practice. Every moment is an opportunity to be mindful. Which is certainly true, but also something of a cop out. Every moment is practice, so I don’t really have to have a structured ritual, do I? So actually, nothing about my life has to change. I can stay safe in my everyday habits.
I still don’t have a teacher. I’ve been thinking for years that I probably need one. I’m just not much good at kicking my own ass. Yet the sought after teacher has not emerged. Not that I’ve been doing much active seeking, mind you. I’ve just sort of been waiting, going on as I have been and figuring that sooner or later my karma (or hell, just random luck, if such a thing exists) will drop what, or who, I’ve been looking for right into my lap. Maybe I need to take a more active role, but how does one go about doing that? Send out applications?
Every once in a while I start to feel antsy like this, as though I’m not making any progress. So I pack up and head off to some center or another to take some class or other and I learn a lot and I connect with people, even if I’ve yet to really feel that connection with a particular teacher. For a while I feel good about myself and fulfilled in my practice and then slowly, inexorably, I fall back into my habits. In the end, very little ever changes.
Well, so reading books doesn’t do it. Practicing in every moment doesn’t do it. Dharma vacations don’t do it. What does that leave? Hmmm….sitting? Actually practicing? Maybe with some chanting thrown in for good measure? And getting serious about my vegetarianism? And maybe giving a real shot at letting go of my tendency to procrastinate? I suppose it’s worth a try, right?
*Sigh* This wheel just keeps turning. How many renewed commitments can I make until I just chuck in the towel? I’m probably just cranky because my back hurts, I’m cold, tired, and I want to go home. If all else fails, I can blame it on hormones.
Who knew nirvana came with mood swings?