Such is my life lately. It is a bit surreal; time is moving slowly, hence the boredom. I know I will be exhausted from the time I get back to the US (midnight on the 11th) until I'm at least half-way moved over to Missoula (week of the 15th). I am planning a last-minute trip to London
as well, with Soorjya (left). Hm... London... Yes, I had pretty well decided that I would not go to London (see recent post on the terror attacks), but we managed to create a trip which would be dirt cheap - my money will still go to organizing a 'terrorism' dialogue in Montana.
I have said my goodbye's to two of my course-mates and my advisor. Paul Williams, my advisor, was great - he gave one last go at advice for my dissertation, which he thinks is coming together fairly well (he even made me believe so), while giving me very positive feedback on my essays from spring term classes. Heather, a classmate, will be moving to the states herself in a few months, so hopefully we will keep in touch. Alison, another classmate, will travel to India (sweet India) to teach and do community work with her boyfriend for six months. Mary, classmate number three, will stick around Bristol with her boyfriend and will start an MA in Creative Writing and Personal Development (sounds fun) in October. Considering Alison will have an MA from Oxford soon enough and I'm going on to my second MA, it looks like we're almost all double-MAers.
I will do two last sessions of meditation with Sumita, a housemate: tonight and on Tuesday. We have been doing metta bhavana and mindfulness of breathing for a couple months now, and will try some vipasyana - just a taste for her before I go. It has been good for me to have a 'student' of sorts; forcing me to reflect on my own states and how they affect another person in that type of relationship. In the Geluk tradition there is great warning upon those who aspire to be a teacher (lama), as such a position carries huge responsibility, and can easily lead to an extremely unhealthy codependence. So I have had to make clear (to myself included) my own faults and deficiencies. It is easy for teaching to become an act of conceit, an ego-booster, ruining what little attainments a person has. I am not sure though if it should be heavily restricted, only to those who have proven their knowledge or other abilities. It is still all quite a mystery to me; and I can only hope, as I feel, that I am doing some good.
Academically... Well - you can look at my last post, or (likely) some future posts to see how that is going. I'm working on it a bit every day, and the ideas are gelling, so to speak, but not much is coming out on paper just yet. I am still aiming to have a full first draft before I leave... And, yea, I will. I'll try to crank out a section tonight, in fact! (that's the spirit :)))
Feelings... Well, I'd like to say 'equanimity' but that is a bit tough to judge. My time here has been wonderful beyond expectation. The course has been great, fantastic, and inspiring. The people I've met in the course and in the house (oh, and in the Diamond Cutter study group also!) have all been probably the best overall group of people I've ever been around. Everyone has had a great grip on life, no (or extremely little) of those dramas that seem to consume so many people's lives. It has become home for me.
Missoula: mmmm, sweet Missoula. Well I have no doubt that I will pick up there as if I never left (in some regards), and yet bring back part of England, with bits of East Asia, Ireland, and Spain as well! It is easy there to get in the routine of life (it is a rich, almost intoxicatingly pleasant routine) and fail to look outside into the world with wonder... I am hoping to keep the wonderment I have picked up here - to enrich Missoula in some small way; to not assimilate into the community or fall back into my old habits. But some of the best friends I have ever had are there (though sadly (or happily, depending on how you look at it) my sister has moved on to LA) so I know I won't feel the anxiety and isolation of entering a world anew. Missoula, too, is my home.
Well, those are my thoughts as I prepare, or not, to return to the US; leaving home to go home.