Year in Review
I began writing in a journal--by hand!!!--when I was in my first year of college. The first entry was on 12/27 [note: originally written on 27th], so ever since, today is the day I perform a year review. This was an extremely down year for me. It began with leaving Canada--against my will--jobless, scared that Chloe and I would break up, and not particuarly looking forward to moving back to Cincinnati.
I've spent a month in a monastery waking up at 3 am, praying, following the monastic schedule, including working in the egg farm. Then I returned home to spend many an hour working on my Grandpa's garden, his yard, his basement. My regular job was as a janitor at the airport.
I left that in July. Chloe came to visit for a week. I then went on a two week Dzogchen Meditation Retreat, where I experienced the first real sustained "bite" of One Taste, which has stayed semi-permanently ever since.
I returned here to work now at UPS, after a miserable attempt to start some at-home entrepreneurial type enterprises. But amidst all that, other the month of July, the monastery in Februrary, I spend my days working, mostly alone in Cincy. Not much happening. Looking back on the posts from around March-April, it was clear that I was in a fairly serious state of depression. I have had return bouts, nothing as serious as then, during the last few months.
I've been very lonely and disconnected from any sense of being alive, being united to my purpose in life.
The reason I have read and written so much this year--mostly of a more academic nature--is in part to avoid the thoughts of the pain and suffering.
My entire life was mostly built around my identity as a spiritual seeker. But now that is gone. What I had built up in my mind as the eventual pinnacle (Enlightenment) turned out to be a joke...I struggle betweeen laughing at it (the right way) and seeing it as a sick, twisted, play.
Without that identity and drive as seeker, many of the blinders have been taken off. I feel so much more pain now that I ever did before. And given that circumstances have mostly forced me away from my Soul's Purpose--marriage and priesthood--I've been left only with my ego, my frontal personality.
This was the year I had to take stock of how seriously I have neglected my own psychological growth. There are seemingly never-ending layers of shame and guilt that "I" have towards myself. How that works, who is "I', the subject and the object is a little fuzzy, but we'll just run with it for now.
Its part of a deeper struggle--that I don't naturally love process, life as its happening. I'm so very goal and directionally-oriented, that I often do not leave anytime for embracing space, embracing moments. Its either go-go-go, meditate (from time to time) and drop out of it all temporarily, and/or sleep (same result as meditation, less effort).
My "Feminine", if you will, the part of me that can embrace and be okay with life as it arises, only ever came through in my devotional practice and my embrace of the pain of the world. I lack a similiar acceptance in day to day social life--how often do I run into starving African children orphaned from AIDS?
Nor do I possess the same love-acceptance for myself. I can spend 20 minutes relaxing into a state of learning to embrace my vehicle, if people like that term--my ego, my body, my personality, my personal history, strong points, foibles, mistakes, obsessions, addictions, blin spots and all the rest--but it doesn't seem to last.
We all have to make compromises--another lesson I've learned this year. Life is simply too hard to live with it as it arises moment to moment, without eventually, on some levels, resting in fixed perspectives. Of whatever sort. It is impossible not to screen out certain aspects of life because we would never be able to make any decisions, do anything, stick with any project, any choice, any set of relationships.
And yet that recognition mostly remains in my mind, not as of yet having truly sunk in emotionally, in a way that is relatively okay. I know ultimately that is everything is well, but that means shit when it comes to life. I can just as easily look in an observer mode at the history of the universe and see that there is a movement, a trajectory, but that doesn't make this individual life any better. 97+% of all species in history have gone extinct to bring us where we are today. Those great technological advances in the human species have each been use to destroy fellow members of our species.
While the Universe is beautiful and ordered when seen from afar, it does not really seem to care much about the individuals involved. As soon as you enter the first person spaces, that vision will wear off, the vision of the observer, the detached aesthetic, in awe and wonder. Its wonderful no doubt, but it doesn't teach me one thing about learning to love my life, this existence, this very minute slice of it all that I occupy.
In my most dejected moments, I wish I hadn't seen what I've seen. I almost envy those with self-projects, of whatever variety. I wish I had one sometimes. This is not what I expected and part of me stubbornly clinges to what I wanted, as I deserved something.
But as Da says, "There are no winners with God." "There is no victory."
There is no victory in any of this awakening. I must take my part amongst the losers. Take up my cross every day.
That I know, but the Master also said that the burden was easy and the yoke light, and that we would take up our daily cross with joy.
This I don't really know.
That is why I have placed the picture of Chloe and I. She is the only great light in my life currently. She is home. She teaches me what I myself do not understand. I wonder though how well she can teach me, when this joy comes so naturally to her. How can she teach me what she does almost accidentally, not very consciously, if at all?
Those who know me typically think of me more as a light-hearted, good natured guy. They might be surprised to hear me say I am one of the saddest of all men. But naturally I am more accustomed to the rain, to the hidden away places, to barren trees, as I cry with the heavens, mourning for all the ones who have no one to remember them, no one to grieve their ends. A soul-gatherer, hoping that his small actions, may let them complete their journey to the spirit world, to the light. If I am ever joyful, it is usually because so much else for me is grey and sad. Life for me is filled with great toil, so I can be joyful in public, bc "eat and drink for tomorrow we die." It is my deep and natural sadness, my connection to the underside, the forgotten side of life that allows me to act happy. Why not have a laugh, everything is suffering around us?
Some see me as a leader, full of charisma, and want me to rise up. I want to disappear into the lonely places. I would rather be assigned the task that others do not desire--to re-collect the destroyed, disappeared of the universes.
That is my compromise. My ego seeks its escape, its defense, through this otherwise holy desire.
As Virgil said, there are "tears in everything". Not everyone, I surmise, sees these tears. Or maybe only on certain occassions. But I do all the time. The only repsonse I know is to separate from the maddening crowd and cry along with all things, to sing the mournful song in unison. I don't know how to touch, how to lead, how to call forth a different order. I can only paint pictures, vast grand pictures, replete with evidence from the underside. But with the living, I am often so confused and lost.
I know there is no ultimate karma in any of these struggles. I know it is all empty, shunya. I know there is nothing to utlimately worry about or fear in this. Still, I desire to heal, to make, however slight, a difference. I just don't know how. I've lost those bearings, if I ever had them.
And without any sense then that I do make a difference, with having felt as if the Atman Project has run its course, my body, my mind, and my soul (at times) seek only the great rest beyond. The Final Sleep. To give room to some other child, some other more brilliant and loving than me, to have space for his/her vision. Paradoxically, I feel like I've already done everything I was here to do. My heart's deepest desire has been the Vow to remain. But what happens if you don't know how to fulfill the Vow, while still remaining? What if I have no one to show me the way?