Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Who's that Pissed Off Guy ...

Maybe the loud, rude, blunt smoking 20 something clowns that got on the bus, harassed a young woman, and then talked shit for the rest of the ride to my workplace were a sign. Or maybe it was my own reaction: the moment I saw them at the bus stop, I swore under my breath and started wishing for them to get on the other bus that stopped there. Ah, avoidance.

The workday wasn't much better. Students who needed more attention than usual. Lessons that weren't quite going right. A request for yet more paperwork to be remembered and filled out, all on my time. After two pay cuts and a slew of other decisions that have negatively impacted my position over the past year or so, I'm feeling generous no more.

This is where the practice is essential, but also where all the goofy ideals and ideas that you have about the practice come on strong. Who's that pissed off guy staring hard at those others on the bus? Who's that guy staring out the window at work because he can't find the energy to refocus? Who's the one sloughing off on the last few lessons, doing only the bare minimum? Who's that one swearing up a storm because of some silly request for extra time sheets?

Identifying with all of this is an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, there isn't a single, fixed person behind any of this. On the other hand, not taking some responsibility for the sloppiness is a cop out. On the third hand, clinging too hard to a sense of responsibility is just another form of delusion. And, in addition, thinking you have to always "have it together" is also delusional.

Seeing the perfectionism rising and falling away. Seeing the avoidance of conflict rising and falling away.

Sometimes, there's a messy edge to everything and no matter what you do, the noise of it all won't go away until it's ready to.


Matt Simonsen said...

Yeah, messy.

Once, Dosho related a story. A man who'd been practicing for a while (I'm not even sure he was practicing Buddhism, but he had evidently been practicing something) had a young daughter, who asked: "Dad, how come so many things are in a mess, so often, while so few things are in order, and so seldom?" The Dad surprised himself by answering, "It's because we have some many IDEAS about what makes something 'in a mess,' and so few ideas about what makes something 'in order.'"

I feel like I'm really relating to this, and your account of your day, right now, in my own life. Maybe I'll have to start a blog....

On the other hand, there's really no problem, from the universe's perspective, with messes. To paraphrase Dogen, "Ordinary people are very messed-up with [ideas of] 'order,' while Buddhas are orderly about their messes!" (I might be stretching that paraphrase a bit....)

Nathan said...

I'm trying to hang with the messy. Thanks for the comment Matt!

LuLu3156 said...

I guess if things weren't messy we wouldn't have anything to clean :-)

Bruce Behnke said...

Life happens.

And sometimes your ego wants you to be pissed off.

But I've found, no ego, no anger. That's when I bypass my ego and go into my deeper self for balance, strength and connection.

That doesn't mean no responsibility, no action. For me it means being able to live situations without getting eaten up inside.

My approach. Hope it helps.