Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Reading "Faith" - Part Three

Lawrence Kohlberg is discussed a lot in this book.  I’d been thinking about Kohlberg and his ways that he examines morality.  I do think of culture in how one person develops and was reminded that Buddhist ideals may be left out of what “morals” may mean.  For example, important Buddhist concepts (the end of suffering and compassion) are not captured in Kohlberg’s model. 
When I was doing AIDS work for the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, it was hard to apply for funding because not a lot of research had been done on the Asian Pacific Islander communities.  Back then, as well as now, we didn’t even know which Asians or Pacific Islanders were getting what disease because API ethnicities were not aggregated.  We didn’t know who was getting diabetes or who was getting  lung cancer. 
This hits close to home because when I got into a fight with a counselor who didn’t understand the cultural needs of an Asian person in alcohol/drug rehab facilities.  He didn’t think that being an alcoholic wasn’t a big deal—alcoholism was commonly talked about.  I said NOT in the Asian community. 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Reading "Faith" - Part Two

It’s been a real pleasure reading about older kids and how they think.  When I was going through my early grades, I remember believing I was alone, but not lonely.  My siblings had cousins to go to school with, but I didn’t. I spent most of that time playing alone. I wondered how that affected my adult view.  I don’t mind being alone, as a writer that’s part of what I need to do.  However, I wonder what would have been different if I had a bunch of kids around me.
I wasn’t the most social child.  Up until third grade I had one friend—we played chess during recess.  She might be considered “slow.”  I went through bussing, and interestingly enough, I think I discovered social skills from that time.  Kids from the inner city were bussed into the suburbs and vice versa.  I was one of the kids from the inner city and going into the suburbs, I bonded with other kids from my school.  There was a sense of Us vs. them mentality. 
Race is still an important issue to me and I’m sure that time had left an indelible impression on me.  I think the teachers at the time did their best with what they knew.  I wondered how we would have treated this issue today.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Reading "Faith"

I was struck in the reading about how often a child will be introduced to religion and religious symbols before they enter school.  My earliest memory was Christmas, though at the time I didn’t recognize it as a Christian holiday.  I must have been only three at the time and it was a magical memory for me. 
There was no discussion of Jesus or Catholicism, I was just moved by the merriment.  I must have been no older than three years old.  It seemed that religion has actually become more of a fine point in American culture as I grew up.
I understand that it was expected in polite society that religion and politics was not discussed.  I can see why. 
I would be much older when I became much more aware of religion.  I had a teacher in elementary school who was Jewish.  I was even older when I realized that not all Christians get along. 
In this discussion of development, I wondered if we were better off if we didn’t see religion as something to talk about—but simply kept quiet and respected. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Reading Stages of Faith

I'm reading Stages of Faith by James Fowler for one of my classes.  It’s interesting reading about “faith,” particularly since it is usually a word associated with Christianity.  I’d used in reference to Buddhism also.  I’d say my “faith tradition” is Buddhism.  Or I’d describe myself as a person of faith.  I used it because it was easier but I’m glad to see that it is being adopted into this American Buddhism. 

Fowler’s Stages of faith made me wonder about the implicit bias we may have growing up in a predominantly Christian country.  How many of our Abrahamic ideals are ingrained from childhood and are part of our psyche without us knowing it?  I wonder how this will affect Buddhism.  An example of this is how reincarnation is not being taken seriously in western countries, I believe.  Are we cafeteria Buddhists, only taking aspects of the religion we don't like?

Monday, April 03, 2017

Literary Meditation

From my previous post, you may have picked up my lamenting of a wasted life.  Ten years working on a novel and I didn't want to spend time on it anymore.  From some gentle nudging from friends and colleagues, I decided to spend ten--fifteen minutes at most--doing rewrites. After those minutes I was going to live my life.

Those minutes turned into an hour, and what a wonderful hour that was.  I was in the zone of writing and caring about this novel again.  I might hate it again, but at this time, I cared.

That hour was not about wasting my life.  It was a deep, creative meditation.  I didn't waste ten years of my life, I grew creatively and spiritually.  For ten years, I was sitting at my own banyan tree. The sentences I wrote were my mantra.  The resistance I felt was Mara sending arrows toward me.  Writing turned those arrows into flowers that fell at my feet.

I meditate.  Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad.  Whatever the "sit," it aims for my overall piece of mind.  Once I finished writing, I went for a run--something I hadn't done in awhile.  I felt jazzed.

Not a single story is wasted.  It may not find publication, but it help pad the meditation cushion where I sit.     

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Literary Choices

I was asked to work on my novel Miraculous Boy.  My agent is asking me to do rewrites.  My agent is rare.  He won't give up on this book.  MB has been on the market on two separate occasions and hadn't sold.  Frankly, I'm tired of this book.  I've put in ten years into writing and rewriting this book.  I swear in all the time I'd put into it, I wondered about the job opportunities I didn't take up or the relationships that passed me buy.  I chose art making over everything else. 

Writing a book means that there are other aspects of my life I had to give up or did not pursue.  We are our choices and I chose to write.  This is not a bad choice.  I don't regret the creative process during the last ten years, but I'm nearing fifty.  At what point should I just give up and find other ways to grow my life?