Today is the day before Rohatsu Sesshin. Another year has passed. I just read through my past yearbook installments just to make sure I’m not saying the same things over again, but honestly it feels like not much has changed. Of corse I could say that everything has changed, because everything is impermanent right? But most things don’t feel like they’ve changed significantly enough for me to discuss them. Although, I have started talking to my ex-girlfriend again. Maybe it just shows that I’m incapable of letting go of my attachments, but I’ve also been reminded of the importance of being more attentive in the present instead of worrying about what I should do in the future. Of corse it’s important to have self discipline and to not be constantly driven by desires, and that’s probably an important part of the precepts as well. But restricting myself from all the pleasures of life is basically impossible, and that seems to miss the point as well. So instead of making futile promises to myself about the future, I have been trying to pay more attention to how I feel and act in the present, especially when experiencing discomfort and pleasure. 

Wether it’s physical or mental, running from discomfort and chasing pleasure is an extremely difficult habit to break, but neither last forever anyway, so it seems reasonable to let things just come and go. This is much easier said than done. 

Sometimes just noticing myself in the act is enough to stop myself, but other times I continue on regardless. I have tried many things to try to break out of it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but at the end of it all, it just comes back again and again anyway. I feel like I do make some progress, but it never really feels like the progress made is due to my own efforts. Or maybe it is a result of my efforts, but I have no idea what allows me to make such efforts when I do. 

In any case, I’m constantly coming up with crazy reasons as to why I am the way I am, and trying to change myself based on these reasons. I know very well that these reasons are on the same level as superstitions. Nevertheless, I constantly find myself back in this world of mental constructions. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. So I wonder, what is it called when you do the same things over and over again, even though you know you’ll fail every time?

I guess I just can’t stop trying because I feel the need to solve this impossible problem. I keep trying and trying just to end up where I started, and sometimes I feel as though giving up is what’s needed. But I don’t have the balls to do that either. The problem is that I think there’s a problem, but where do these thoughts even come from anyway? Here I go again. Often I feel as though Antaiji is a mental hospital for me, because being here helps me keep these thoughts in check. I think anyone reading this can see what I mean. 

Looking back at what I’ve written so far, I don’t even think half of it makes any sense, but I think it shows just how lost I am, so I’ll leave it as it is. Although I think I’ve ultimately said the same things again this year, this is my life. For now I’m just grateful for Antaiji, the abbess, and the sangha for making sure I don’t go off into crazy land. I know at some point during this sesshin I’ll find myself there anyway, but I trust that I’ll be able to come back, because for some odd reason I always do. Thank the God and the Buddha Way for that.