Last June I quite rightly had a wake-up call when I realised that the aspect of Buddhism that I was following did not have a component of insight into daily life particularly political awareness. This was unacceptable, and as could have been predicted I have lost balance. My journey is primarily political now, and this is not acceptable.
Zandtao talks about three tenets:-
Improving the mind
Harmonising our energy
Taking care of our bodies
So what am I doing about them? On the body my food improves, in fact of the three this is the one that I do keep updating. Yesterday was a cooking day, cake, ga tii for the week, and coconut kefir. Today I am starting the nukodoko in the hope of getting Japanese rice bran pickles after a couple of weeks. The kvas is lasting well so with the kombusha tea and kimchee I am doing a lot for my bacteria – chouai yooi. Massage has been helping with my loose cartilege so I feel that my knee is perhaps in the best condition it has ever been. I have therefore started work on my Achilles’ tendons which just over 10 years ago left me hobbling for days after playing my last game of football – a knock about at Muscat. I am concerned my tendons might stop me walking up mountains if I ever get there.
Energy is not good. Every time I go to the beach I do Chi Gung, but that is as little as three times a week now. It is not acceptable that I don’t do more Chi Gung but I do find myself tired on Fridays after a busy Tues/Wed/Thurs with school and swimming. This tiredness does get into the weekends so I must try to get Chi Gung into the home routine. My three beach days are serious quality especially with the late stays as the meditation at 7.00pm is excellent. But meditation has dropped and that is always a bad sign. In another way meditation has improved as the morning meditation is up to 55 minutes now, so on a good day – often Wednesdays – I do 55 minutes and beach meditation, but for the rest of the week there are days when I do nothing. There is no excuse for that, but that is what is happening. Why? Politics.
Yes, politics. How am I following the first tenet? OK last June I improved my mind by applying insight to all aspects of life, not just the ones that don’t bring me into conflict with the 1% establishment. But having established insight across the board I have stopped being insightful in developing the mind. I always review my life in terms of inner and outer, at some stages the outer becomes strong and other times the inner. Since June the inner has taken a back seat whilst I re-balanced the outer, now it is time re-balance the inner whilst not forgetting the outer. The Zandtao blog is very political, and with Democracy Now I have a ready-made political awareness of one hour 5 days-a-week, that is enough to keep me contemporary. The Treatise is almost finished but has stalled, as has Matriellez stalled in the same way. My mind is not improving, it has stalled.
I think now, what do I want to study to improve my mind? Maybe the answer is Thay as the Plum Village are developing a wonderful workbank for study with all his clips. But I am looking for something to do, I am looking to de-stall the mind yet usually improving the mind comes naturally through meditation – I know what to study. In truth I am not studying the mind since I started politics. I must start again. Then there is the wonderful bank of work that K has, the questioning mind. My mind has questioned politics applying insight, but I have not been asking about mind.
It is time to stop being equivocal about meditation, it is not a choice. Develop a routine for the weekend that is not just doing housework and recovering form the beach. The weekend needs to be more positive, not just looking for the latest political movie to watch but to start developing the mind again as well as doing Chi Gung more than just at the beach.
I need details or I won’t do it. Meditation twice a day is a must, even when tired. I can let tiredness prevent Chi Gung every day but I have to increase it to 5 times a week- Sunday and Monday. I have to cut back on the food time. I am becoming a foodie for foodie’s sake. My yooi are chouaied – the bacteria must be getting good, drinks are good as well as the food with the yooi drinks. I don’t need to keep looking for food improvements especially as they take up so much time. My mind needs to be a priority now. Thay or K or maybe death thread, one of them. Let meditation decide as that is happening twice a day now for sure.
I had a discussion with one of my two blog-readers, so I need to make something clear about my journey. The journey stalled because I became overly involved with politics – I became too attached to the politics that I forgot the journey. This is a matter of poor discipline on my part, and not a criticism of the political involvement. The politics I have learnt about has been insightful and extremely important, the insights I have gained have improved my understanding. There are many things where people say it is a turning point, and if we don’t do something we cannot turn back. I think we have reached that point.
Significant in considering this turning point is brinkmanship, and I cite the nuclear crisis as an example. We got so close to nuclear war many times but we never went beyond it. The 1% continued to get wealthy, pushed us to the brink of nuclear catastrophe, but then we stepped back – brinkmanship. Now the US has no opposition, nothing limits the 1% many of whom live in the US. US politics is now completely dominated by the 1%, and that is recognised by many. Now what is required is not brinkmanship but self-restraint on the part of the 1%. However it is my view that they are so addicted to money and power that they have no self-restraint, and they cannot perceive the brink for brinkmanship to apply. Significant in this assessment is the climate. Throughout the world we are seeing climate change, and the response to this is to pay scientists to deny that there is climate change. When people were seeking a solution at COP17 they did nothing because of this denial, and they then created a coup in the Maldives to oust a climate change champion. The causes of world recession are not being dealt with, and the response to the crisis is to print more money, hand it out as bailout money, and then allow the banks to pocket it as bonuses. Flagrant greed that does not show any sign of self-restraint or compassion.
For me this turning point is a rallying call. It is a time to move away from compromise strategies which have been usurped by the 1% and which have been mostly ineffective in restraining the 1%, and seek an alternative of no compromise, of withdrawal, as far as is personally possible, from the reach of the 1%. This alternative refers specifically to the use of their money so we need to replace it with increased barter, creditos, community currencies or R-credits.
But having recognised what I consider an important turning-point, I must not dwell and stay attached to this thought. The journey needs to continue, and that is what this blog is about. Not a denial of the need for insight in our political daily life, but a recognition that I have been lacking the discipline for meditation – for following the Path. I had a bad day yesterday but have been on target today.