Mirror of Zen Blog

On Retreat Blogging

One thing I’ve learned over this last 90-day retreat, is that I will never try this experiment of being active on a blog during the retreat. It is the first time I have tried this, something way out of my practicing zone for what retreat and seclusion have always been. Maybe it was a dumb idea I just needed to try, to flush out of my system. After conversations with several well-meaning people who suggested I try not cutting things off so completely all the time, I thought that blogging (communicating with a bloggy mouth) an interesting window for folks into the life of a temple during retreat. Especially with these rolling lockdowns and restrictions, the inability of people to attend the usual open retreats has caused several members to ask about ways of “staying connected“ with the community life here.

But too much distracting stuff got spread through here too, stuff that is not really relevant to the way of Now. I may have shared, self-critically, even just snarky or critical stuff, or showing some false intelligence. What authentic practitioner and guide to the Way would strive to leave such a long tail of thinking-garbage behind — a blog?

When this online course appears, the focus should move just to practice-related matters here. No more shit shared that’s about the endless road of conceptual-thinking (unless of course it’s Sam Harris or, like, Cornel West).*

I really have only one desire in this life, and that is to devote myself to the Way in the unknowable remaining period of healthy activity that is left to me before I enter the Bardo Karma Sweepstakes. Dae Soen Sa Nim’s poem is imprinted on my soul: “In the great work of life and death, time will not wait for you. If you die tomorrow, what kind of body will you get? Is not all of this of great importance? Hurry up! Hurry!” This is my naturally-occurring mind nowadays, inflamed by orders of magnitude by the geopolitical saber-rattling and the onrushing climate/biodiversity crisis.

It’s simply time to wake up. Entering these issues and then sharing them with others, unless it’s about the Dharma, what fucking use is it?

I’ve been impressed deeply with the matter of impermanence, lately. I started a retreat with a torn meniscus. It made me unable to walk even a few steps, and unable even to get food to feed myself. I depended on the care of others. In that space, I often felt like a very very old man, am a very olding man. I actually experienced “old man”, living alone. I lived powerfully my ongoing demise.

So, it is really not so good to waste any more time with unnecessary things. That’s what’s becoming clear as we end this Kyol Che. And being in the blog (and sometimes a Twitter-scroll in the waiting room at all those doctor’s office visits) during this limping retreat perhaps made me unclear in my words and my deeds. And for that I am always sorry.

The leg injury has allowed me to truly appreciate the benefit of slowing down. The vulnerability has been something I think I will miss even as I wish this to get stronger!

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