Saturday XV • 16 June 2007

Time’s out of joint today. Sat vipassana at a new center, where they have begun a cycle of daylong retreats. Very normal Buddhists, these people: so normal, the director’s packing the exact same degree from the exact same department where I am currently doing my thing.

It’s good to sit with people: when keeping your awareness together promises so much less fun that writing another story in your head (yes, narrative is where I live), you keep it together anyway for the sake of the group. Maybe all they’re doing anyway is deeply focused porn-visualization (which they tell me gets more vivid the longer you practice), but you tell yourself the energy would be different if they were cheating on you like that. And so you more or less keep it together.

Keeping your awareness together is so much to ask; and it is so little. Just this minute, take a half-step out of yourself and quiet one more level down. Not the next minute. The next minute you can get right back on the Circle of Willis express train if that’s what you have to do. You can catch it any time.

Anyway, the little gong gongs and you realize an hour or two have passed and the GTD Saturday to-do list squaks at you:

What, you think you’re the damn leisure class?

The world is happening. Get back in it.

So whatever. I’ve got revisions of an old paper to face up to tonight, after a walk with the Editor. A glance at the always-within-reach GTD blackbook says the summer lineup is a whole string of non-self-respecting Saturday nights like this one. Rock on: for some reason, this is a window in the week when writing’s easy—vipassana or no vipassana. So I’ll take it wherever I can make it work.

By the way, I met V. yesterday (right name for an international woman of astanga intrigue). She’s great, as some will soon know, with a quick chortle and light sigh, and the best British-Spanish accented English ever. We spent a few hours, with a stroll through the city’s Spanish-colonial founding spot: once a well and a Franciscan mission, now trinket stalls and burrito restaurants. Trinkets and burritos: welcome to California.

No links today, since I took my desultory internet-head to the cushion and now straight down the work well.

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