Here is an area of interest for me lately that I'm going to rant on for a bit. If we practice a religion that says everything you need is right here right now, and if a huge part of our practice is embracing anything and everything that we encounter, both the mundane and beautiful as well as ugly and evil, then complacency seems a real risk. I understand acceptance without acceptance, but where do we draw the line on un-acceptance? I understand that Dogen and others were really driven individuals that created temples and schools and did all sorts of things that changed how we act as buddhists today, but what about us regular guys/gals just trying to keep up with the boss' demands and deadlines? My boss, my job does not understand the emptiness of her/its forms. To her, it is not all OK; everything she needs is not right here right now, but she wants it to be! That's her suffering, I know, but bosses have a way of spreading their suffering around. I understand that everything in life is my practice, including meeting those deadlines and dealing with the bosses of the world, yet somewhere in there also needs to be a place for self-care, which if carried too far leads to missed deadlines and upset bosses. So again, where to draw the line?
If I blow off work because I feel that I need to take care of myself, then I may suffer the consequences of not getting necessary work done. Or, if I work too hard because of those external demands, then I suffer the consequences of not taking care of myself (this recently happened when I got sick for a week). Where is that balance? I know, I know, we each have to find it for ourselves. But this is the struggle for me lately. Work is a form of self-care for me in many ways, but so is not working. As the need to complete work increases so does the need for self-care that does not include work, which leads to a rather bouncy existence. My buddhist beliefs tell me it's all OK, it's all practice, it's all empty, just do the best you can, which I find can easily fall into complacency. But the world around me (that insists it's real) screams back at me that I've got this and this and this and this and this to do NOW, which seems in many ways the very definition of suffering, because I agree that those things do need to get done. Hell, I want to get them done, but there are limits.
Lately, zazen is the only peace I find, and that can be fleeting. At least thanks to Ango I get to sit twice a day! Work is filled with stress and people that add to the stress, and being at home (where I tend to try and get a lot of work done) I feel torn between recovering from stress or adding to it by doing all that work I didn't get done that needs to get done. In the end, a lot of stuff does not get done, but I do get by. But is that OK? I don't need to build a temple, just meeting more of life's professional demands while remaining healthy in the process would be plenty.
OK, rant over. I got work to do here that's been piling up, seriously.