the original kStyle blog.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

High Noon of the Year

I spent the Solstice evening drumming with some friends from the drum circle. It was lovely, but it's also a little tiring for me to be around these new friends. I'm not sure how close I want to get to them, as they seem...dramatic. They are into the whole pagan-shaman thing, which is cool, and which I relate to on some level, but. But I don't want to talk about assorted spirits nonstop, and I tire quickly of gossip about this-or-that shaman who is using his or her power improperly. It all seems a little silly to me, and quite discordant to the Buddhist values I hold of right speech and non-attachment. I'm tempted to tell these friends--who really are lovely people, talented in both music and their own way of interacting with Spirit--I'm tempted to tell them the truth: That reciting your own storylines of pain or anger over and over gives those stories more power and causes you more suffering. They are attached to their suffering. We all are, truly, our minds cling; such is human nature. But they delude themselves into thinking that they are protecting each other and resolving things by talking, talking, talking this way; wasting precious breath on what amounts to gossip.

But the true problem is that, look! Look, I'm doing it right now, in a way. Why am I attaching to the storyline of their attachment to storyline? You could say, it's because you want to protect them, but that is the same reason they would give as they relish their dramas! Perhaps that energy of attachment is too strong with them and I should leave the group. Because look, I'm picking it up.

In other news, I baked challah. Ironically, I baked this traditional Jewish celebration bread for a baptism I'm going to today. I thought the festive occasion called for a festive bread, perhaps with a nice braid. I also baked a loaf for me and G. to eat, and it is perhaps the most wonderful thing I've baked yet (except those scones...and that Jacques Pepin almond cake...). Well, let's say, at any rate, that it's the most wonderful bread I've baked. It is perfectly soft inside, light and airy and so so soft. The outside is golden brown with just the faintest whisper of sweetness. Maybe we'll just stay home and gorge ourselves on both giant loaves today.

Do they sell insulin to non-diabetics who want to overeat bread grossly? Maybe in Mexico.


The weather is a dream. Mornings are clear and lovely, puffy white clouds, blue skies, and breezes. Not a spec of humidity. Then darker clouds roll in through the afternoon, treating us to late afternoon thunderstorms. These pass and yield to cool evenings. It's the most beautiful, perfect weather I remember in a long time.

There is more, but I must go. Reminders for myself/teasers for you: Thich Nhat Hanh, shiatsu space.


Blogger Larry Jones said...

Jesus, I want that bread NOW!

2:45 AM  
Blogger Narya said...

It sounds like they're not entirely sure what right speech is, sort of. That is, they might be talking so much about who's doing things the Right way because they haven't figured out that there are plenty of right ways and feel insecure about the particular ways they practice (which is understandable; been there, done that).

And i do think there's a difference between attaching to a storyline and sorting through it in order to let go of the attachment. but it's probably a fine line.

As for challah . . . bread . . . . good . . . .

6:23 AM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Narya--I think it’s more that these news friends are unfamiliar with Buddhism and so have not considered Right Speech. I was not mindful of Right Speech until I began learning about Buddhism. Neither our cultural values nor Christianity (nor Paganism, for that matter!) seem to address it.

I agree, there is a difference between telling a story as a “sorting out and letting go” and as “reinforcing and clinging”. But I think the line is very clear, if one brings mindfulness to it.

Challah is so wonderful. It’s very much like Portuguese sweet bread (massa souvada), only less sweet.

1:47 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

more on right speech, if anyone has interest: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-vaca/index.html

1:48 PM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

I like idle chatter. I think it would be a boring world without idle chatter. I like to get together with clever people and chat idly, to see where it goes. I find out the opinions of others, I sometimes figure out what I myself think about stuff, and in idle chatter jokes are born. Jokes, babe.

(My word verification for this: qdokok)

7:57 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

I think, Larry friend, that what you're talking about is /not/ idle chatter. You and your friends speak with mindfulness about meandering topics, in a meandering way. This is friendship and philosophy and humor, created through a river of conversation, not idle chatter.

We all know an Idle Chatterer. They drain the listener's energy droning or chirping on and on about nothing. They can't handle silence. Silence means they have to sit with themselves. They care not about how the listener is feeling. They like to hear themselves talk. And talk. And talk. I personally know I'm engaging in Idle Chatter when I hear myself talking and wonder why I'm wasting your breath on something I don't care about, having a conversation I don't care about, often with someone I care not to speak with, really.

Anyway, it's the refraining from gossip and speaking with good intention that I find so important. I also see Right Speech as havng a strong component of MYOB. None of that, "Whisper whisper, well you know, I'm worried about her because of X, but I really just say it out of concern. Whisper whisper." I believe it comes down to speaking with an intention not to harm, speaking directly and honestly but compassionately.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Narya said...

I think some idle conversation--especially with people with whom I really don't care to talk--is a way to keep from saying, "Go away. I don't like you or want to talk to you." so we chat about breakfast cereal or whatever, as a way of making a kind of peace.

or not.

incidentally, i did follow that link, and liked it a lot; thank you!

7:19 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Yes, Narya, I've been there too! Being stuck with someone and just wanting them to go away, talking about nonsense. Yesterday I was stuck in a similar situation: after a long workday, a person whose "vibe" I didn't like was doing his best to engage me in small talk when I was just trying to check the mail. I gave him brief but courteous one-word replies until I could escape with my envelopes.

Glad you enjoyed the link. The book Awakening the Buddha Within (by Lama Surya Das) has a nice, clear section on Right Speech, if you're interested in more on the topic.

9:50 PM  

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