Saturday, July 26, 2008

Making some headway...

It seems that both the "Soft-Belly" practice and the "Noting & Observing" practice are beginning to become somewhat easier to practice as a matter of course, though I still catch 'slips' now and again.

Honestly, there is some part of me that is still horrified at how quickly the time is passing... A year doesn't seem at all to be a great deal of time from where I now sit.

On the other hand, I feel as though I am using each moment with much more skill and clarity, though I think I still have quite a long way to go.

Accepting death as an eventuality is quite a bit harder to internalize than I would have liked to admit... but, even so, I feel that I am making quite a bit of headway there as well.

Initially, I wanted to sort of skip through the "Soft-Belly" and "Noting & Observing" practice, as I viewed it pretty much as more or less a reprise of my normal Zen practice. I am retrospectively glad that I ultimately decided not to do this, and to stick to the program... I am learning a great deal from what struck me initially as a simple practice. So... a valuable lesson in learning what you do not know, but think (inaccurately) that you do!

This too, I am attempting to bring into my daily life practice... to simply accept that I do not know, rather than to assert that I do... and I am finding that when I am capable of letting go, I find that I learn... this is good. If this is the only benefit derived from Dying Practice, it is well worth the effort and the time! Happily, it is not the only benefit... I am beginning to see some change... both inwardly and outwardly... and this is surprising to me for some reason.

I value everything much more than I had... and I have long been one to appreciate the most simple things in life. So... even in this, I am learning and growing.

I have been told that one of my best characteristics is that I am very childlike. The person who said this went on to say that one of my worst characteristics is that I am very childlike! I am hoping that I will find a way to refine this quality so that the balance tips in favor of this attribute being a quality... and not a fault.

So... all in all, I think the practice is coming along. It is much more difficult than I expected, and in ways that I had not considered. Some part of me recognizes that it will only get more difficult as the practice progresses... but, I am prepared to accept the difficulty... although I do not look forward to it...

I will just have to trust that the practice will help me to prepare to deal with the difficulty by the time I am confronted with it.

In September, I will begin a comprehensive 'Life-Review'. The goal of this practice is to forgive myself and others for wrongs that I have committed, and for wrongs that have been committed against me... to tie up and complete all of my unfinished business... part and parcel with this Life-Review will be some physical exercises; I will be compiling all of the documents that are needful after my actual death, and putting them in an easily accessible place; making a living will, going through my personal belongings and simplifying my life so that I may begin fresh and new once this practice has been successfully completed.

To me, one of the most difficult parts will be facing those things that I consider to have been ill-considered and ill-done acts that I have done in my past... let downs, failures, stupidities, cop-outs, etc.,.. with brutal honesty... and still finding a way to forgive myself and let it go... I don't really look forward to this, but I know it is one of the most crucial parts of this practice.

My mind is already beginning to take stock of my life as it is right now... I am happy with the lion's share of my life... but unhappy with respect to my employment/vocation situation. I truly would love to find some method of earning a living doing something for which I am a good 'fit'. So far, this has eluded me, despite my best efforts... I cannot even begin to determine what this means...

I know what I like to do... but I cannot see anyone paying me a living wage to do it! Other vocations that attract me require education and skills that I do not have... and am beginning to consider out of my reach given my current financial situation.. which is, to be honest, somewhat bleak... this is not meant by way of complaint, but simply by way of illustration.

The very nature of this practice forces me to look closely at how things are, however, and to compare this with what I think would be some positive directions in which I may begin to head... naturally, common sense would dictate that there are limitations that will also dictate what may and may not be reasonably expected...

Another part of me is aware that people accomplish tasks that were deemed to be 'impossible' on a daily basis... so, I am not quite ready to curl up and die just yet...

This biggest problem that I have is an internal one; You see, in order to get from one place to another, you must know how to get there... and in order to do this you must (MUST!) first have two valuable pieces of information; You must know where you are starting from. And, you must know where it is, precisely, that you wish to go! -- And this is where the problem chiefly lies: I have no idea what I would want to do for a living.. so, I am relegated at the moment to accepting a 'job' that at least assists in getting some bills paid.

So.. this practice has at least helped me to take the first step in solving that problem, which is 'Identifying the Problem'. Its a start, at least.

I like writing, but I don't have the education or the skill, I think, to make a living at it...

I am an artist, but, same problem with that.... folks want to see a piece of paper showing that you graduated from a University... although I tend to wonder at this.. either you are able to create beauty... or you are not??

I think I would be a good counselor, but, again, the education problem rears its head....

Other times, I feel that I would do best at working on a job that does not involve interacting with others.. where I can simply focus entirely on my task...

As you can see, in this respect, my thoughts are scattered, ethereal, and maddeningly vague when it comes to figuring out 'what I want to be when I grow up'... and I have no idea why. Part of this problem, I believe, goes hand in hand with my monastic practice. To be a monk is to renounce the world as it is.. and to choose to live a lifestyle that is somewhat different and apart from mainstream society.. Part of me simply doesn't buy into the whole 'amassing wealth' focus that so many other people have... intellectually I understand the necessity.. but, in my heart.. I just don't 'get it'. This is a problem, and it reflects a portion of my personality and character that very badly need to find and achieve balance.. so I will have to work on this. I live in the world... I engage others on a daily basis... This creates financial responsibilities... so, I have to confront this and work it out. Period.

This practice brings many things to the surface... and this is one of the benefits.

Once you uncover something that is a problem, however, you are more or less forced to deal with it, or to endure it... which is also a benefit, I suppose...

Without problems.. we cannot progress.

I think I am slowly beginning to make some headway.


Gaya said...

For me, I find myself changing all the time and so follow what's right and make a decision on that. What I wanted when I was younger is different from what I want now in terms of jobs.

Bunan Unsui said...


Yes... we are changing with every breath... probably multiple times with each breath... even though from our point of view, we are continuous and seemingly unchanging... I find that my preferences, desires, and goals have changed quite a bit over the years... I think I mostly want to do something that is non-harming, and that is helpful to others in some small way... hopefully, I will be able to slowly spiral in towards a realistic, attainable vocation through which I am capable of earning a living wage.. I suppose we will see!

Thank you for taking the time to read my writing, and for stopping by and leaving your comments!

In Peace & Brotherhood,

Bunan Unsui

SuvvyGirl said...

Well for me when faced with situations like jobs as you have explained I have I guess what you would call faith. I believe it's a requirement of all of us to have some form of faith. I believe that God, the universe what have you will help show you the way and you also must have faith in yourself. Believe in the unbelievable go for what you want, the worst that can happen is "no". And if it is "no" you have managed life for this long without you can continue to do so. And see it as "one door closes another one opens".