30 November 2008

Thanksgiving

I didn't bang pots and pans around this year. I think Buddhism had something to do with it.

How come I can leap from the a table in someone else's house to offer to help clear and clean the dishes, how come I can put my head down and simply do what's in front of me on a retreat at the Zen Center or the Hsi Lai Temple and even get pleasure from mopping a floor or scraping an old label off a window with a monk yet, in my house, the very thought of any item on my to do list gets a heavy sigh? What is it that makes the make the ordinary stuff of life feel like such an intrusion on my life? Just thinking about organizing my finances, doing the dishes, cleaning out the cabinets, the car, the flower beds is definitely something I can identify as suffering...that is, until real suffering comes along. Today I finally got it that it's all in my head and that's because I had a truly lovely Thanksgiving and I changed nothing about it except what was inside that head.

Karen Armstrong's quote is really coming home to me. Maybe religion isn't just about believing things; it's also about doing things that change your life. In these small but profound ways, this is definitely changing my life.

Okay...this post gives me an excuse to underscore that, as I am scurrying to get this blog up to date with where I am, putting up what I've been doing for the past eighteen months or so, I am currently working on Buddhism and beginning to figure out how and where to do Daosim which is coming next whether or not that was my plan. When I told Professor Amir Hussain I thought it might be time to start figuring out what came next and how to do it and it was either Confucianism or Daoism, he sent me to Robin Wang, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Asian and Pacific Studies at Loyola Marymount University. (Note: she's in the philiosophy department, not the religious studies department which is the very first thing I have to deal with: why does Huston Smith call Confuciansim and Daoism religions? Are they? And are either even "practiced" here in the United States? And is it spelled Daoism or Taoism? )

Anyway, Professor Wang said, "Oh you have to start with Daoism! Much more interesting. You have to deal with the body!"

Great. I decided to do this to get beyond the body but, no matter what I do, my body keeps getting dragged back into it.

Sorry to confuse the heck out of you with the past present and future all going on at once in this post. I hope to be thoroughly contemporaneous as soon as possible. When I catch up, I'll republish this post in its proper chronological place. In the meantime, please email me to let me know you're out there, to give me some sense of who's listening and what you're thinking about all of this. I'd like to know.

Right now I'm grateful I live in a home with people who don't mind my crazy ideas, who have supported me even as I act on them.

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