Once you’re awake, you can’t really sleep again.

Ganesh

Ganesh! Help me during the changes in my life. Grant me a boon.

But can you go back to being an amnesiac? Can you conveniently forget everything you’ve learned?

I’ve been listening to Lama Marut again. There are podcasts of his teachings. I listen while I knit.

Who is Lama Marut? He’s one of the root lamas in the tradition I was sort of kind of studying with in New York. My yoga teachers were all in his line. They’re all Tibetan Buddhists.

Simply put, Lama Marut is a very evolved being. He’s the one who gave me (and quite a few others in the room, it wasn’t like I was the only one there, but as far as I was concerned, I might as well as have been) my first and only emptiness teaching. It really fucked me up. That’s when I awoke.

When I awoke, I realized a lot of things. Part of what I realized is that I was going to die, and so was everyone else in my life. This was during a long string of deaths in my life, from the cancer-related death of a loved one to the suicide of a maintenance man at work. Every three weeks for several months, someone in my periphery would die. Getting the taste of death in one’s mouth isn’t necessarily bad, but it made me ask myself if I were ready to die. Was all my business taken care of? Had I done all I needed to do? Would I have regrets? Would everyone I love know I loved them?

I also realized I needed to take responsibility for my place in the world. I make choices; they aren’t made for me. It isn’t your fault that I am where I am today.

It also made me realize how severely unhappy I was at that time in my life. I couldn’t just bumble through my life and pretend like things were going to get better someday without some action.

I’m bumbling again in some ways.

The thing is, I’ve never bought the whole concept of karma, which is rather important for being a Tibetan Buddhist. Also not so sure about the Wheel of Life. Saṃsāra, parts of the concept I get. I totally get the attachment to worldliness, and how worldliness won’t make you happy. If it would, than I’d be happy by now. I have lots of stuff. It’s a fleeting sort of happiness. Everything shiny and new gets old and worn.

But I have a hard time with the belief that I’m here because I did good things and deserve it, and someone else suffers because they did bad things and deserve it.

On the teachers’ recommendation, I have tried doing karmic experiments. I am a scientist, after all. (Some may doubt me on that after mentioning anything religious or spiritual in nature at all.) I have tried doing good deeds in specific areas of my life to see if I will create the karma to have more things come to me in those areas. I still don’t believe in karma. Someone may say it’s because I have dirty karma, because my intentions are not pure. I don’t know. I don’t think being kind to people to see what will happen is dirty karma; I think being kind to people because I only want people to be kind to me, or being generous because I want a lot of money, that’s dirty karma. No expectations? I don’t think so.

The Buddhists have much peace and serenity I admire and long for. But I have a hard time relating to their world view. So I don’t really subscribe to their religion. Tant pis for me.

I know that I’ve outgrown what was working for me as of late. I’m in another “long, dark night of the soul,” à la St. John of the Cross. The way I see it, faith is like standing in a pitch dark night outside of a lighted building that has windows at different stories, coming out at every level. When you’re a certain height, you can see into the light of the building. The thing is, when one grows spiritually, as all those who work on themselves are wont to do, one outgrows the window and can’t see into the building anymore. It seems like there’s no light. It doesn’t mean there is no light, it just means one has to wait until one grows to the level of the next window. That’s where I am now. I struggle with my agnosticism, and I have to find new ways to walk through the world. I’ll find something that works. The peace of the Tao calls to me. Someone has told me about secular Buddhism. I might start saying the fucking rosary again, just for the meditative aspect of it. Praying over beads is soothing. My spirit is ragged and raw.

I’ve been here before, more than once, so I know I can get through it. That never prepares me for the discomfort of it. It feels awful. I have monkey mind something wicked and can’t meditate. I can’t even meditate in savasana, corpse pose, the pose we take after the rest of yoga practice. I used to have visions in savasana. I feel like I’ve lost a bit of myself. Almost like I’m going through a break up.

This, too, shall pass.

This, too, shall pass.

It really will. Ugh.

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