I'm puzzled and a little distressed by my long silence. I think I have never remained silent for so long in The Buddha Diaries, and the blog has been going, unbelievably, since January, 2007--almost without a break. That's over 2,300 posts! It has been my constant companion, and I have written frequently about my gratitude for the blog and its readers.
So it does seem strange to have written nothing at all for the past couple of weeks. In part, I tell myself, it has to do with the season. I have become a bit of a Grinch. I found myself at Los Angeles airport on December 3rd, the date of my last entry, forced to listen to amplified recordings of Rudolf and Jingle Bells at the United terminal. The pitiless stream of Christmas "music" and its associated commercialism starts--we all know this--at Halloween, and the "holiday season" continues uninterrupted from then through the New Year. It's enough to drive a Grinch crazy, or at least into silence.
Another factor, I think, is the endlessly horrible news that reaches us from all parts of the world, and the peculiarly vile tone of American politics. What to say, in view of all this, beyond the expression of dismay and disbelief? I am stunned into silence.
I recall the moment I first fell into the blogosphere, like Alice through the looking-glass. It was the day following the re-election of George W. Bush--another occasion that left me in stunned disbelief and asking this question: What can I do, what can I do? What can I actually do, in the face of this nonsense? And I realized, Well, the only thing I know how to do is write. And I fell, as I say, to my amazement, through the looking-glass, and started to write my first blog, The Bush Diaries.
And now, again, I find myself asking, What can I do, what can I do? And I look to my meditation practice and think, Well, here's something that brings peace and goodwill into the world. And, having done that, I turned to our local Los Angeles community network, "Nextdoor Franklin Hills," which allows us to communicate with our neighbors--and they with us. So I put out word on this network that I'd be interested in starting a sitting group in our neighborhood, would anyone be interested in joining me?
And have been amazed and much gratified by the response. I now have a group of more than 25 people who wrote back with interest and enthusiasm, and I'm organizing a first, get-to-know-you and logistics meeting for early January, to get this thing off the ground.
Silence, I have learned in meditation, is a good thing. It's healthy, it helps to keep the mind focussed and clear. It generates goodwill. And what I have learned, I now hope to be able to share with a few others, a few neighbors, as the New Year begins. It's a start...