Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.



I am so tired, exhausted really. My head aches from the effort of attention, sinus pain, and just an ache from having a headache all day. My eyes are tired from processing data on screens large and small. Today I have awoken at 6:15, had a shower, got dressed, bicycled to CK's, discovered a sweaty back from bicycle & a cotton shirt don't mix, changed to a t-shirt of CK's, had toast, bicycled to OSCON, sat in on a very good workshop on PHP, had nearly the exact same lunch as yesterday (not worth elaborating upon... salads), went to what I feel was a terrible workshop on PHP, left early, got gvim working on my Mac, ate some soup, changed clothes, bicycled to Dishman, taught a yoga class, rode back to CK's flat, changed yet again, bicycled back to OSCON, and listened to various presentations & awards (geeky, inspiring, mind-boggling, funny...) until 10PM, and finally CK & I rode back to her flat! I promptly put on my pyjamas and sat down with a thump on the bed.

CK heated up more soup for us, which helps as has the water. Seeing the day up there in a list gives me perspective on why I'm so tired and hurt so much. It is a day that really presses on my resources rather hard. Although there are evening events at OSCON for two more nights, tomorrow won't be so long as CK & I already plan to leave a bit earlier, rest a little, then go to a yoga class. Thursday will be zazen and by then the sheer crush of so many people, so much talk, countless slides projected on screens will make settling into silence such a blessed gift.

The workshop we went to in the afternoon was very disappointing to me. Not only did I find it to not be very professional, even accounting for cultural differences (presenter is from France), but on a level where I felt that economically it wasn't worth the time spent, especially for someone like her who doesn't have a big company footing the bill to attend (which should be her choice to be irritated about, I didn't need to take it on to be annoyed on her behalf). CK finally propelled us towards going home early to rest a bit before I had to teach, plus I'd have time to eat a little. I hadn't wanted to go, wanting to stay and salvage the 90 minutes that weren't useful. She finally noted that I was having a hard time letting it go. And I was. The ride home helped burn off some of it as did fixing something on my Mac that was making it hard for me to work on code projects.

The irritation feels pretty far away now. I can look at the afternoon and spot it, but it lacks the immediacy that was making it hard to let go of. With that time shift I wonder how one irritation in the day might rile up other feelings of irritation that lurk below the surface. It is a slippery slope to follow irritation down into anger.

I used to have the mistaken impression that in Buddhism anger isn't allowed, better yet we somehow transcend it. I asked Hogen about it and he made sure to reinforce to me that it isn't that we never feel anger, that's unreasonable because we will feel anger. It is that we don't give rise to the anger. We don't let it manifest into unkind words spoken out of that heat that is just a few degrees hotter than irritation.

So CK became my important Sanga of one today. A fellow traveller upon the Way who merely noted that I wasn't letting go. Had she not brought me back, giving me perspective, I may have easily let the irritation rise into anger.

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