Waiting for certainty feels like where I’m at I’ve been walking for years now Taken a lot of wrong turns Don’t know how near or far I am now Unsure if I should keep walking Or rest by the side of the road If I put it down now, will I die before finishing? Is it even possible for me to finish this time around? I remember being certain in the fantasy Now that it’s real, I’m standing in ice water Feeling like a poser who should just shut up and sit down Three weeks before I’m back stateside One part wants this quitting desire to leave Another part feels like it’s the moment of putting down I feel scared either way
At my last job one of the teachers had a book called Longing for Certainty, it was a Buddhist reflection book. I found the title apt and the words come to me now, that there’s a longing for certainty. Being certain that I should ordain, being certain I should disrobe. Yet every option I look at feels profoundly uncertain, it all feels not sure.
I started to follow Ayya Khema’s teaching recently and that felt sure. Now a bit over two weeks later and I feel this progressive sense of being unsure of myself. Unsure of if I can get to a place where monastic life is better than worldly life. Unsure if I can hack it. My mind keeps running through these future fantasies of buying clothes or drugs. I feel like I’m standing between these two feelings of wanting to be certain in the practice and that I am leaving something. Changing, maybe.
Giving up some things seems absurd, like meditation I can’t imagine giving that up. Returning to some things feels likewise weird, like sex and relationships. When I imagine this worldly future some things feel obligatory even if I don’t actually want them. To be clear I think even if I end up putting aside ordination I won’t put aside my practice. I can’t see myself trying to break the first four precepts.
Yet this question of urgency keeps coming up for me. I don’t know if I’ll actually live to see ten or twenty years from now, I don’t know if I can afford to put this off. There’s a sutta where a mendicant follows the Buddha while he is on almsround asking for teaching, when the Buddha tells him it’s not an appropriate time the mendicant responds with:
It is hard to know, [Lord Buddha], the dangers to the Gracious One’s life, or the dangers to my life!Ud 1.10
I don’t want to be heedless.
Ven. Khema says that when you do sweeping meditation it heals you and can cause you to process things you’re carrying with you. I’ve heard that the body keeps score. So maybe that’s part of it, processing. I definitely feel more estranged from parts of my behavior that feel performative. Less drive to be a thing.
Ven. Khema says meditation changes you. Is this part of that change? Letting go of being something. Becoming no one, going no where.
I have urges to wear t shirts and grow out my hair. It feels like I, me and mine making.