The pieces of my life are rattling against one another most uncomfortably these days. I try to make the disparate parts fit with each other, to put Tab A into Slot B, but ultimately, life seems to be a pile of random bits with no cohesion. I don't need a manual with step-by-step instruction, but an exploded view of the finished product would be nice.

When I first began to meditate, I used to think that someday I would have an enlightenment experience. It would hit me suddenly, with the white light, and the sense of unity, and the understanding, and all that rot. I would see how it all went together, and then I could feel at ease with the world.

Thus far, that has not happened. I am beginning to believe (hope) that my enlightenment is more like they describe it in Soto Zen; a gradual opening, like a cherry blossom. Gradually, I become aware of more connections each day, eventually leading to full understanding, right?

In the meantime, I argue horribly with my best friend, show up late for a test, stub my toe, yell obscenities at other drivers, fail to practice the precepts or walk the eight-fold path, accidentally step on the cat's tail, and generally feel sorry for myself. All of which is just plain weak.

Yes, enlightenment is a VERY gradual process. I do hope I live long enough.


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