Happy Bodhi Day to everyone!
Back online again after 7 days of keeping the computer off during Rohatsu. Okay, full disclosure: this was not Rohatsu sesshin the way you Zen folks know it. I did a modified home-based version of sesshin, in order to be more available to my doggie who had an operation the week before.
But I didn’t turn on the computer, didn’t drive the car, practiced zazen at home and sometimes next door at Upaya Zen Center, and helped make several meals in the Upaya kitchen for everyone who was sitting Rohatsu there. Last night, a snowstorm blanketed Santa Fe; it’s wonderful to wake up on the last morning of Rohatsu and see fresh snow everywhere.
Even doing Rohatsu this way, I could feel my practice settle into some deeper places, and was reminded of how spacious life can feel when ‘unplugged.’ I definitely have an addiction to information and knowledge (not the same thing as wisdom!), and this past week was a reminder that I can get seduced into thinking that I’m connecting and engaging with people through all my online activities. But there is a very different quality to connection and engagement when they happen warm hand to warm hand.
I’m no Luddite, and I appreciate the many ways that the Internet has expanded my web of connections and made me aware of what’s going on in many corners of the world and given opportunities to respond. Take, for example, the Saffron Revolution in Burma two years ago — something we only knew about because of the courageous people inside Burma who were able to get out photos and communications via the Internet.
But at the moment, I’m aware of how easy it is for me to get lulled into thinking of the Internet as my sole channel for activism, and how much more balanced and enriching it would be to get engaged more with local issues, with real live people, on a daily basis.
I’m curious how those of you who are online a lot find ways to balance this out in your lives…