- How do we perceive what's happening? In the situation, and in our own thoughts and feelings?
- What does it mean to practice with that? How do we respond?
- What happens when we practice with it? What changes?
- How does this relate to [insert passage from some Buddhist text here]?
As you can imagine, this is normally the territory of teachers, but Misha will occasionally ask us to give a talk about some experience that has a practice aspect, like taking the precepts, doing a long retreat somewhere, traveling to one of the few remaining Buddhist countries, or teaching English in South America for nine months.
Given my past two talks, I decided to write this one out completely, so it went much better. My Chile experience isn't really separable from my Zen and aikido practices, and I'll probably be giving a couple more talks on it over time, but for this one, I focused on "aversion," a multi-faceted reaction that we talk about a lot in a practice context. Aversion is anything from my non-specific reluctance to do my taxes from 2008, to the time before many of my classes when I had a panicky, overwhelming desire to be doing anything else.
The first third of the talk is me describing the environment in Chile, to give some context to the dharma bits. You can download the talk here.