Saturday, June 5, 2010

It IS Called Practice, After All

Due to lack of internet connectivity in my current living situation, it has been almost a full month since my last update. I have thought often about what I would write when this time came around, but am still unclear where I want this post to go.

Lately I have been reminding myself often, maybe even several times a day, that I have only been practicing Buddhism since mid-March. That prior to returning from India, I had no idea what the Four Noble Tryuths or Eightfold Path even were, let alone trying to internalize them and live them daily.

Since moving and starting this new job, I have had a variety successes and failures "using" the Buddhist path. I feel like I fail at least as often as I succeed.
Well, after all it IS called "practice".
How can I possibly expect myself to be perfect, especially after such a short time?

My main issues the past few weeks have been threefold:
1) living in a dorm w/150 people aged 18-85 from about 7 different (and diverse) countries
2) working day in day out w/those people in an atmosphere of "catty" gossip
3) my terrible chemical (probably hormonal) imbalances which sometimes ruin up to 14 days of each month

These three points have caused me to lose my mind in anger and frustration numerous times, recently. I have participated in gossiping, have had way too many malicious thoughts (never the intent of causing physical harm, but wishing bad things at others who hurt me), have shouted in anger, etc.
But I think I have hurt myself more than anyone else. And I genuinely feel bad about all of it.
It is just such an ingrained pattern, such a knee-jerk reaction. Especially the PMS-induced parts!
I have been doing a lot of practices aimed at purifying negative karma.

Just the past day or so, I have been able to calm my mind enough to think clearly about it for the first time in a few weeks.
I have gone back to simply saying the mantra which got me through most of my experience in India:
"It is what it is. It just IS. Accept. Allow. Let go. Breathe."
In this case, it sometimes goes like "____(person) is a (insert suitable negative term)" or "gossip just is a reality at work"... I don't like it. I am not required to like it. But I also need to remember, IN THAT MOMENT, there is nothing else, that I cannot change it by wishing or being angry.

I have been able to feel like a human being again.
Of course, the PMS portion of the show is over again for about the next 14 we shall see how mcuh progress has actually been made once 17 June or so rolls around.

I am currently reading a variety of online articles by various Tibetan Buddhist teachers including HH the 14th Dalai Lama regarding how to deal with negative emotions and developing compassion.
At times I feel like I have achieved the mind of bodhicitta...even if it only lasts for a few minutes.

Of course, there's a whole new story! More often than not, when I say I truly wish happiness and peace for ALL beings, it means that I wish them all to learn and practice Buddhism so that there are no more conflicts for me to cope with!
Ego alert!
I am pretty sure this signifies a character flaw in myself, the wish for a better experience in my current life within samsara...
Karma is confusing to me. The idea that my current bad experiences are the result of negative karma created in the past, possibly even numerous lifetimes ago. It doesn't seem quite right.

And as I plow through all this confusion, I am determined to persevere. There have been moments when I at least felt like I absolutely "got it" and really aspired to become a bodhisattva, so I know that somewhere within me the potential remains, and that I must continue the journey...