Time to Sit Still With Me
My ability to relate to anything other than a certain New York gal has been severely restricted over recent days by her presence in my life. As we have not actually met in person, yet, this insanity of near obsession has to end. The only thing to do, I decided, is to take Shantideva’s advice published in my previous post and practice remaining like a log.
So for the next week I am on retreat undertaking the most important thing a Buddhist practitioner can undertake: a retreat. I shall not turn on the computer. I shall not tune in to TV or Radio. I shall not read nor write emails, letters or newspapers or books. I shall not answer the door (except on Thursday when there is a slightly ill timed delivery expected) nor entertain nor be entertained by friends. I shall try not think about Nicole and try not to criticise myself when I do.
For non-Buddhists this must look quite strange. It is easy to see why Buddhism is often portrayed as life-denying. Only when you have experienced the practice of retreat from the inside can you attain the knowledge that the opposite is in fact true. By denying the external stimulae and distractions of our busy world the practitioner experiences more fully than ever the processes of life in the bodymind.
By relating so intimately to one’s direct experience of reality here and now the habitual energies which we are so often following blindly are laid open progressively to examination, awareness and dissolution. If the practitioner undertakes this work well he will realise Buddhahood, full awake-ness. This is the religiousity of Buddhism. No Buddhist worships the historical Buddha for that is antithetical to his message in the extreme. He is a dead man and of no use to us except as an example of what a human being can become: Awake.
Wish me luck.