“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

'Feed your head' commentary

several years back a colleague said she watched movies to 'keep up' and today I resonate with that. I lived a simpler life then and was much more sensitive to imagery and themes. Today I go to school and live in a city and interact with a host of people every day, then I lived in the woods essentially camping and doing hard physical labor while building the hermitage with limited access to media. I retain some of the slowness and sensitivity but have noticed some changes and mostly for better.

Different monastics interpret the Vinaya differently and it is a matter of personal choice what and how much they or we take in from the media available as information or entertainment. There is a very wide range of varying opinions about this, there is some degree of judgment and even competitiveness among our colleagues today. Imagine jostling for first place in a 'purity' contest! Lots of laughs that is but sobering as well. I really feel bad when some of our colleagues make statements about what is right or wrong discipline because that is - in my opinion- just their opinion, and should only apply to themselves, and not be presented as a blanket that covers everyone. But that's just me (and Sensei- we have at least that much in common.)

Actually for everyone, monastic or laity, entertainment is not unsafe or unwise unless it crosses a line which it is up to each of us to draw for themselves. News as the article in the Guardian points out is much more insidious and even dangerous. Both require careful critical thinking and self awareness, the news more so.

The terrain inside our heads is complex and challenging to navigate, maybe this is a silver lining, it certainly is an opportunity for practice. Today the difference between the technologically adept and the unplugged is striking, especially if you are one. I am looking forward to brief resumption of stillness over the break between quarters - we will see what it brings!

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