trudging the wrong path diligently

moon1 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.

14 thoughts on “trudging the wrong path diligently

  1. Perhaps the whole notion of “path” takes us in the wrong direction. I dunno.

    As you know, I no longer post regularly to Ox Herding. And, when I do, it’s usually just a story I’ve found interesting, even if only for a moment. In this way, Ox Herding reflects how things are for me right now. I certainly have less to say, less that’s personal. I dunno why this is, but it’s just how it is.

    Who knows how a post, even if it’s just another story from ancient China, might help someone in their own life? How could any of us know?

    Katagiri once said, “You have to say something.” Seung Sahn once said, “Open mouth, big mistake.”

    So there we are…

    • I was going to try and quote the Katagiri book but was too lazy to drive home and get it, I fear my practice of constructive laziness is working!

      At least, I’m happy to have you back on the air and do enjoy the story snippets.

  2. There seems to be a certain stage when we realize there is nothing to say, but the old devil of babble still finds a way to talk about having nothing to say. Later, when the facttruth of our not knowing really sinks in, we just shut up, and somehow then the whole world benefits.

  3. I, too, find myself feeling that the world/ writer/ my Dad or other wrong-headed bloviater NEEDS to know what MY response is ………… but, when I remember to take a few breaths, walk away for a minute, or just laugh a bit inside, I realize that they do not NEED it at all. And with that, one more opportunity for an angry (usually) response is averted. Leaves me feeling like a super hero!

  4. right or wrong, trudging or skipping, obvious path or no path….as soon as I begin defining, I sense a brick wall. Yet define, discern, describe I must–it’s how my ancestors survived all these years to pass on their DNA without being mauled by the Saber Toothed Tiger.
    Sometimes though, I recognize that I am my own Tiger, gnawing contentedly on my own toes, even as my heart opens with compassion….

    • Thank you, Brooke. And welcome. Discerning wholesome from unwholesome is what this path is all about. Even that Tiger can be wholesome… 😉

  5. Whether we write or not, speak or not, have ego or not, lazy or not etc. there is no right or wrong. Only learning in the present moment until enlightenment. Then it’s a whole different ball game, which I am not qualified to comment on, yet! LOL. Maybe, like the Buddha we become silent then and only choose to speak for the benefit of beings.

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