Buyer's remorse, it never fails to hit. "What will I do with all this crap?" A question always arises, just as you might think you would take some satisfaction for solving a problem, a rusted charcoal chimney replaced, comfortable clunky Ecco black work shoes for work, the metatarsal aches, but why stay grilling (as a Buddhist go vegetarian), or why stay with that job (not the right profession as the eight fold path says.) Dukkha, that feeling of ill at ease… Only thing you can do, is Simplify. Why the whole shelf of Ernest Hemingway books that have been hanging around here for ever--sign of an egotistical past, kept for show, for the same vain reasons as everything else.
It just gets clearer and clearer to me, the world of samsara, the constant suffering of occupying the gross mind of duality and qualification, the world of Saturday night, young people out having their loud 'fun.' Which only makes me ashamed at all the years I've spent in bars. Well, is what it is. We tried to keep them calm bars, civilized… That's my reaction as I practice walking meditation on a Saturday night after midnight, walking past Russia House and the bars on Connecticut Avenue, loud, drunken, aggressive...
But in the end it makes no difference, because you have to realize this about the world. And writing too is a part of that false world, made up, looking real, feeling substantial but a complete delusion.
Beneath the gross mind, where everything is identified as fitting into its proper little cubbyhole, lies, according to Buddhist thought, the subtle mind. It is said to operate beneath the quantum level, and so perhaps its appropriate that when we see a star or a planet, that would be giving us an idea of scale, up there the quantum level (what we normally associate with protons, neutrons, forces, etc.), down here, thought. Thus the notion that when we look at objects, phenomenon, they and we merge, as if in a dream.
To say I've come to actively dislike Washington, DC, wouldn't be correct. But I've finally come to see it as I've seen it all along, the world of samsara, of seemingly happy, efficient capable self-minded people tied to the functions of gross thought. Everyone keeps to themselves, unless something strange moves them. Friendships are few and far between, as are real understandings. The classic DC question, "what do you do," which means "who are you, who do you know that I might use usefully…' says it all. The gross mind in action, no subtle open curiosity.
Everyone is defined here, egotistically. Sexual identity, professional life, material comforts, all flaunted, defined, displayed, pointed to. And if you're not in that game of ego, as you might if you were more of a subtle mind kind of person wondering who you are, striving to be better and wiser and good, you're to be ignored as a useless idiot.
And so it is a place where people are, some of them, kept on the outside, kept out of the tribe of those-in-the-know and the right track in life.
If you weren't a Buddhist, hoping to hatch an escape plan, it can be a horribly depressing place to be, even despite all the civil politeness it might be, on the surface, known for. And because of the nature of gross mind, as opposed to subtle, no one here will ever agree on anything, and nothing will ever get done to solve a problem, at least without attempts by another party at retribution.