Yesterday's post was sort of rushed, the kind of thing that comes when you want to say something, but are struggling with writer's block.
Anyway, I received the following comment on that post:
Yes, well perhaps you should actually find "peace and calm" before you attempt to push your idea of what it is onto other people.
If you must act as a mouthpiece for the dharma, we would prefer that you had something real to say about it.
That is just a quick tip from someone who's been practicing a hell of a lot longer than you.
And in that regard, it would benefit you to be open to that which has come before you, instead of pouting and stamping your feet like an indignant toddler whenever you are presented with something outside your comfort zone. As a student of the Japanese tradition, you should already understand that kind of relationship quite clearly, if you are actually serious about such matters.
At this time, I will step aside and allow nature to take its course with you - for better or worse. Good bye and good luck.
Usually, I just leave these comments go, but for a few minutes, I was just pissed off by this one. Not because I think the other post was "wise" or great by any stretch of the imagination, but because this just strikes me as flat out trolling. The kind of thing people do to just piss others off. The fact that it was anonymous just lends to that image, as does the deliberately insulting language.
There's been more of these kinds of comments in recent months. They might be from the same person, or they might be multiple people. I don't know. I have a couple of ideas as to individuals that could be behind them, but I'm not interested in moving beyond cursory level speculation.
One thing I have witnessed in the years of blogging about spiritual practice is a lot of people quitting their blogs over these kinds of comments. They give their writing away. Give their ideas, thoughts, and experiences - however muddled - away, and in return, they're body slammed by trolls and sometime regular readers as well. I'm not talking about bloggers who write obnoxious, inflammatory content. I'm talking about sincere folks, sometimes sharing deep from the heart, or taking a risk in offering something that might not be popular.
Not all of us have the ability to shake or laugh nasty responses off. And while some may argue that you should just develop a thick skin, I argue that if you're life is devoted to spiritual practice, your comments on blog posts should reflect that. Whether my words are soft and supportive, or more harsh and questioning, I try to consider how the other person will take them. Try to see if what I have to say might actually be about communication, and not just bashing someone on the head.
Anonymous, calling me an "indignant toddler" is an asshat move. You want to teach me something? Leave the insults out. If you think I'm a lost cause, that's fine. I never claimed to be an enlightened spokesperson for the practice. I'm a regular practitioner like most of the other readers here. Which I think you believe is a much higher number than it actually is. If your greatest concern is that I'm spreading "bad dharma" - don't worry, this blog's readership is tiny. Maybe you'd be better trolling the blogs of popular dharma teachers you disagree with. It's a better use of your time than pestering a small fry like myself.
What I think some readers easily forget about bloggers is that we're humans first, with all the usual struggles and maladies. Not every post is going to be gleaming with brilliance. Not every post is going to inspire nodding heads, even from the most aligned of readers. Furthermore, and perhaps most important, is the fact that we bloggers - even the most prolific amongst us - rarely cover the full spectrum of our thoughts and experiences of our chosen topic(s).
I'm well aware that public writing can give rise to all sorts of ego trips. I also am aware that I sometimes write contentious posts, during which I sometimes overstep the lines of what I know and don't know in terms of practice. As such, I'm grateful to regular readers who share a different take, show me where I've missed something, or even call out ways I might be violating the precepts I vow to uphold (Marcus, a former regular commenter, instantly comes to mind here.) There are times when even these kind of harsh, not terribly caring comments can arouse gratitude within me. But most days, I just think of all the folks who have quit writing, quit sharing their voices because they felt harassed and hated.
This post isn't a plea for personal sympathy. I've been a public writer for years, and rejection in its various forms doesn't destroy me. No, it's more a plea for more respectful discourse. Online and off. We can stand tall in very different positions and views without tearing each other to shreds. When I consider peace and calm, the ability to do this is one of the main things that comes to mind.
I vow to keep bringing this to mind, again and again, instead of letting the heat of emotion carry the day. That's all I really have to offer today. May you all be well.