I don’t really know that I have all that much to say. I mean, I have plenty to say, but not anything in particular that I’d like to talk about right now. All weekend long I’ve had threads run through my head that would make nice blog posts: interesting things I could tease out into 500 or so words (who am I kidding – probably more like 1000).
So here’s (maybe) the reader’s digest version (in no particular order).
This morning I dreamed a little bit of fear. Overall, the dream was an interesting one: it came in several parts; I think they were connected, but it’s hard to tell. At the end of the dream, I had to run up this flight of square-spiral stairs to get to this ledge on a balcony that overlooked a courtyard or something (like the open inside of an Embassy Suites hotel – if, of course, they’re all like that – there’s a word for this, a European one, I think). I had been studying something like lock-picking or lock-building (this wasn’t exactly it, so don’t shrink my head about locks and/or secrets or something); suffice to say I was watching this old man do his work and mostly keeping quiet (hey, at least I’m progressing in my dreams). Anyway, we had to be at the top of this balcony thing in a couple of minutes and I took the stairs because it would be faster – the old man couldn’t run that fast, so he had to take the lift, which was slower.
Anyway, as I got to the last flight of five or so steps (in the squared-spiral), I noticed that the steps themselves got narrower and that they opened onto a very narrow catwalk-type thing – it had metal edges and carpet down the center; it was maybe 9 inches wide. I realized that I’d be way exposed at a great height and my fear of heights kicked in. Call it vertigo or whatever, but the feeling is like one wrong move (and there are no right moves) and I’m going to catapault off the side. The only real solution for this – which is no real solution at all – is to hug the ground (or whatever’s horizontal) as closely as possible and move very slowly, heart-in-mouth the whole time.
This is a real thing for me, by the way. I’ve had a pretty severe fear of heights in the past and have frozen just like this, scared shitless.
Anyway, in the second it took me to pause, the staircase started closing in on me.
While I’ve had this fear of heights in the past, I’m pretty much over it at this point. I’ve had my ass hanging out over nothing on the side of a mountain – with a long way down – many a time. Oh, it’s still pretty freaky, but I try to get the job done and not think about it. I don’ t know that I can say I’ve conquered this fear, but I certainly know how to deal with it.
This feeling of fear in my dream was very real – exactly like it used to be when I was a kid. Anyway, I only paused for a second in the dream, because I knew how to get past the fear. But that second was long enough for my surroundings to start inhibiting me (whyever inanimate objects would want to inhibit me, I have no idea – let’s not get into any persecution complex thingies here, dear reader, hmmm?). So by the time I got to the last step or two, I was squeezing my legs out of the teeny staircase opening. And the old man had beat me to the top. I woke up a little bit later in the dream sequence.
When I woke up, I knew that (that part of) the dream was about fear and possibly conquering it. I have no real idea how to interpret the dream, because other than the momentary heart-pounding from the vertigo-anticipation, it didn’t really affect me. I didn’t get scared enough to wake up, and I moved past my fear in my dream.
Maybe it was just a reminder that I need to move past my fears in real life. I need to figure out what those are – that’s something that’s been on my mind a bit lately.
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So that’s a decent segue into something else that I’ve been thinking about this weekend: writing poetry.
I haven’t written any poetry since I was in college. I used to write all kinds of crap – if you’ve been reading long enough, you may even have read some, dear reader. I’d say my poetry writing career was between 16 and 22. I hit puberty somewhere in that range. Obviously – my poetry was all kinds of angsty. It was all about emotions and really wallowing in them – good or bad.
So thinking about that shite got me to realizing that my emotions are nowhere near as extreme as they once were. If I were to be all melodramatic, I’d say something like “I don’t have emotions anymore – I can’t feel anything”. But that’s not true. I still feel stuff. I get crushes and I get hurt; I get pissed and I’m generally pretty happy, sometimes even ecstatic. I still get embarrassed, though being naked isn’t one of the things to cause it anymore (hell, at this point I know it’s not going to get any bigger, but it gets that old-woman-blush-young-girl-squeal job done pretty well), sometimes I’m lonely, and sometimes that’s mixed with sadness and self-pity (though not to that teenager extreme).
Oh, and by the way, to any emos who might be reading this: I was once like you. AND I GOT OVER IT. One day, you’ll work in an office too, and you’ll probably like it. So stop dressing like a retard and whining all the time. Hang out with the punk rockers and maybe try some drugs that involve having fun and not crying – they’re much better than the ones you’re doing now. Emo = you’re doing it wrong (re: drugs). Get a real style. If you were that hardcore, you’d have offed yourself by now.
In any case, there are a any number of different things I could say about my relationship with my emotions, but I think I’ll leave that for a different post when it’s not almost 1AM and I have to be at work in the morning. Suffice to say that I believe that emotions are meant to be felt deeply – that in order to truly feel love, one has to risk getting hurt – and I’m slightly concerned that I’m too afraid of getting hurt to put myself out there and fall in love again. Not that there are a shit-ton of prospects knocking down my door at the moment.
The point of the last handful of paragraphs is that I think I’d like to start writing poetry again, and that I think I’ll need a crutch or two in order to do so. Those crutches shall be named ‘haiku’ and ‘sonnet’. I need a structure to fill in order to get back in that saddle. So hopefully you’ll be reading some niceguyted poetry in the near future. Sans teenage angst.
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And the last bit for tonight regards today’s reading from the calendar of zen:
If you really want to get to the truth of Zen, get it while walking, while standing, while sleeping or sitting. . . while working. (Pen-Hsien)
That’s what I was talking about in my post the other day: for me, zen is an every-moment thing – it’s not simply an adjective for spartan artwork. The object of zazen (in my opinion) is merely to take some time to practice meditation. Meditation should be an every-moment thing as well, but it takes practice to be able to do it while simultaneously doing something else.
If one can’t walk and chew gum, one needs to spend some time sitting and chewing gum, until the action of gum-chewing becomes subconscious – a habit, if you will – then one can practice (a little at a time) doing both together. One may stumble here and there, or find oneself not actually chewing while walking, but that’s ok – it’s just a matter of realization at that point and getting back to walking and chewing gum.
So much of what I’ve read about meditation is that it’s object (or one of them, at least) is to be able to walk through life in a state of constant meditation. ‘Mindfulness’ is a word often used.
That’s where I’m at: I’m trying to walk through life in a state of mindfulness. Which also means I need to get back to my zazen practice. Because, as Shunryu Suzuki once said,
Life without zazen is like winding your clock without setting it. It runs perfectly well, but doesn’t tell time.