I like blogging. I like reading the thoughts of people I’ve never met and hearing their virtual voices. I like the intelligence, the rage, and the passion that others bring to their blogs and to their lives. I guess that makes me a voyeur.
I’ve only been doing this for a measure of weeks, but I’m amazed at how this latest of a long list of personal phases has changed my lifestyle and my perspective. I blog to practice my writing: in that sense, it doesn’t matter what the subject, only that the message is delivered in a manner that is pleasing to the reader. So I am here to practice, practice, and practice. I hope I persevere, I hope I can build an audience. Otherwise this is just so much mental masturbation – messy, that.
What is not obvious from reading my opinionated tripe – Oh! You’ve noticed – is I am Buddhist. Admittedly, I’m new at this Buddha thing, too; I took my refugee vows only two years ago. Being born into a moderately dysfunctional American family does not prepare one for the eventuality of believing in the inherent goodness of all humanity and the importance of cultivating compassion. I have come to this way of thinking reluctantly, but now that I am here, I value the lessons to be learned.
Notice the future tense; I have much yet to learn. As I reflect on the world as viewed through the news and the ‘net – a world I have tried most of my life to ignore – I find I have much to say about the mess we’re in. Does anyone care, who knows? But the potential of sharing my thoughts to even a small audience of fellow blogsters has expurgating qualities.
But there’s a conflict. My American vociferous values work well for the care and feeding of my web log, but not for the advancement of my chosen spiritual path. Snarking is antithetical to Buddhism. As I scrounge the ‘net for data that inspires my muse, I find my old habits of opinion and brashness take over – my muse is quite the bastard – and all I know of spiritual gentleness is abandoned.
Scanning the other Blogger-blogsters that show Buddhism as one of their interests has its surprises. Many have fallen off the wagon; some are just as opinionated as I. Some are strange to my view. None are Buddhist information blogs. There’s one Swami from Colorado who started a blog; it lasted for one post, over a year old now, and he hasn’t been back. I guess people who are really into the culture don’t blog, as they realize (as I do on some level) that all things are ephemeral and their time is better spent meditating. Perhaps they’re right.
So here I am: the Buddha wannabe and the writer wannabe at odds with each other – a crash of cultures and a clash of ideals. The challenge, if I choose to accept it, is to meld the two opposing forces into a new voice, a new impetus that may – if I do this well – propel me into the lists of old-fashioned spinal-bound authorship. Wish me luck!