Thursday, February 21, 2013


First, a disturbing dream.  Or the end of a disturbing dream, since I don't remember how it started.  I have been given the responsibility of taking care of a baby for the day.  It would seem logical that it would be little Luka but, no, it's not Luka, nor is Sarah the mother of this baby.

My memory of the dream begins at the end of the day, at bath time.  I take the baby to a kind of public, store front bath with two plain concrete tubs.  For some reason I have come here as naked as the baby.  At the adjacent tub is a rather large, Rubensesque woman, also totally naked, with her naked baby.  After adjusting the hot and cold to the right temperature, I shower the baby thoroughly with one of those flexible hoses--but then realize that I have forgotten the shampoo.  Assuming, without asking her, that my neighbor will keep an eye on the baby while I'm gone, I leave him in the tub while I head off to fetch the shampoo...

It's at this moment that the mother--not Sarah--arrives to find that I have left her baby alone in the bath tub.  She flies into a rage and runs off, also, inexplicably, leaving the baby alone in the tub, where I return to find him and finish the job.  Now out in the street--I seem to have clothes on at this point--I go off in search of the mother, presumably to appease her, calm her down, and assure her that everything is alright.  Finding myself on a wide, graveled sidewalk, I sit to take a rest and get into deep conversation with some other person who is sitting there.  And when I turn back to look, the baby is gone.

Gone!  Nowhere to be seen, up or down the street.  A feeling of utter dread, mixed with guilt, shame, and an overwhelming sense of betrayal.  The baby has been stolen.  How to ever find him again?  I wake up in a panic, shouting my wife's name: Ellie!  Ellie!

My first thought on waking is, of course, of Luka and the fear that I can no longer expect the number of years I would want to be there as his grandfather.  Then of another, distant event I am not free to write about, since it involves deep feelings other than mine--though my own feelings, long hidden beneath the surface, do surely persist.  And then I hit on this one: I have been giving serious thought to the possibility that it's time to bring The Buddha Diaries to an end.  To let my own baby go...

Let me elaborate.  I have been noticing, of late, an increasing lack of motivation on my part, a kind of boredom with my own voice, a sense that I have begun to repeat myself or to reiterate old thoughts to the point of becoming tedious.  I no longer feel that sense of urgency.  I even find myself looking for something to say.  There is, too, a corresponding drop in readership.  But when I think of letting The Buddha Diaries go, I have a terrible sense of emptiness and dread.  I have no idea what will replace it.  I have a huge chunk of identity tied up in being a "writer"--and a huge amount of fear about losing that identity.  The Buddha Diaries has been a great source of affirmation in that regard.  I also know, however, that it's sometimes important to take a risk.  I have taken big ones in my life, and they have invariably opened up the door to greater things.

Having said all this, I would like very much to know what readers think before I "throw the baby out with the bathwater"!  My stats show that there are a good number of you, a global readership, and I have always appreciated the time you take to open up the pages of The Buddha Diaries and read what I have to say.  The decision is not yet made.  Instead of closing down altogether, I might just move on from the daily commitment to a more occasional one, with the expectation that readership is likely to decline.   If this were the case, would you be less likely to check in from time to time?  Or does the regularity have meaning and importance?  If you have thoughts about this and are reluctant to use the "comment" button, I hope you'll email me directly at  I'd love to hear.



If you stop I will miss your insightful comments each day and find nowhere else in the blogosphere where there is a fearless proponent of Buddha's ethic:

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

Your work keeps this search for reason and commonality alive. It may produce some suffering on your part to continue with readership falling off. I feel a certain exhaustion myself after the new year and expanding personal responsibilities regarding the rearing of my two teenage sons. I hope you persist but a man must have some peace and space to continue to expand his mind. If you choose to end the blog it may free you up to grow in other areas.

I for one have learned much about myself and the world through your work and thank you for the exchange.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thank you, Gary, for your welcome thoughts. I continue to debate the best course of action in my own mind. Sometimes you just have to step through the door to find out what's on the other side! said...

Peter dear, it is always a pleasure to read your blogs!
But with our very busy life sometimes I have to scip a day or two. I also felt that sometimes you write out of obligation instead of a deep desie to share your thought with your readers.So I think you should limit your Blog writing for the times you truly feel you want to share something very important thoughts with your friends?

Faith said...

I am only an occasional reader, having found the Buddha Diaries through accidentally tripping over Writing Our Way Home on a day when they mentioned your blog, so I only stop in occasionally anyways. I have had many times in my life when I've found myself needing to move on in some fashion, but reluctant to give up that which I am moving on from. The beauty of a blog is that you don't need to just eliminate it. It will still be here if you feel the desire to write, and I suspect many of us will still be here lurking to read when you do.

I also saw your post on Persist, and would hope that folks who read here would follow you there if we want to keep up with your latest thoughts. I'll be adding that bookmark to my collection.

In general, regardless of your decision, I just wanted to let you know that I've appreciated reading about your struggles with staying mindful and peaceful in these chaotic times. Those have been the postings that have struck closest to home for me, and it's been nice knowing that I'm not alone in this aspect! Thank you for that.


p.s. Luka's a cutie... :)

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks to both Eva and Faith for thoughtful and encouraging comments, and for useful suggestions. It's all still on my mind...