I’ve gone missing. Typically, I go missing in action, meaning that I tend to be so activated that I get lost or even miss who I am or whither I goest. Did I use to write diligently every day? Execute (in many meanings) brush paintings each week? Read books and review them regularly? There’s a fire that is fuelled by longing and a heat generated by desire. It keeps things bubbling and moving forward so that there is for all intents and purposes a semblance of order wrested from chaos. In that blazing it is possible to do all manner of things. It is possible to have insights and revelations, paintings and prose, lovings and lustings. It is possible for each of these havings to be flavoured as wholesome and unwholesome.
When I wrote every day, it was from a need to clarify my misunderstanding of the dharma, of practice, and of what my life was, is, has become through the generosity of myriad beings, causes and conditions. It was the same in painting or photography. Practice, clarify, clarify, realize, realize, make real. This was and is practice. It is a stepping out into the marketplace, albeit it was a shady, tucked-away nook. I also wrote to create a space between what I practice professionally as a psychologist and what I practice personally as a Buddhist. That’s a tougher process of clarifying because they are so intricately woven together. Neither conduit of a way of being lends itself to segmenting situational identities let alone body from emotions from sensations from thoughts.
It goes without saying that I write because there is an egoistic part of me (only a part? I ask my unrelentingly needy self) that wants to be heard, read, reflected upon and otherwise validated, valued, and thereby mirrored in the neurons of those myriad Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Is it really ego or is it just human to want to feel part of a larger cosmos, some community that is a summation of all its parts and then with added value? It can be that too, I suppose. There is a sense of belongingness that emerges from all our efforts, except that we often fail to see it for all the artificial smoke and fake mirrors the ego throws out.
Write or not, I have come to understand that the path is not revealed in the writing. Nor is the path itself the writing. Every word is wrong and every conclusion is misinformed. Why? Because to start with the idea that something needs to be revealed or that some connections require a mirror to be realized (made real) is already wrong-headed. Now the bottom line in all of this is a simple question: do I actually have anything to say? These days, I would say, “Less and less so.” There are moment when I think, “Oh, that needs a rebuttal!” Or, “Egads, do people actually accept that as the definitive word? Maybe I should saddle up the old destrier nag and armour-up!” Then I sit down, have a cup of tea, and the thought passes.
And yet… and yet… this wrong-headed path needs to be trudged not just by dismissing the myriad dhammas as themselves wrong-headed but by sitting down observing how right- and wrong-headedness arise as co-joined twins discernable only by how we meet them.