I was going to write about positivity, and about love, and about change, and about growth, and about all those other happy things. But that wouldn’t be honest. And I need to be honest. As honest as I can.

Truth of the matter is, I’ve been on edge for a while. Apart from whatever my brain chemistry may (or may mot) be doing to my sense of self, I’m going through the particularly difficult process of being dumped. Which sucks, I don’t mind telling you. And to top it off, I just found out all about the horrible things some U.S. soldiers are doing to the Iraqis. But that’s another story.

On the other hand, there are people in my life doing amazing thing. There are people in my life falling in love, making babies, raising babies, living amazing and deeply engaged lives. So despite the despondency I feel at times, I’ve got quite a bit of evidence to the contrary that things aren’t all that bad.

This is the importance of honesty. I was having an (on-line) debate with a total stranger about the possible karmic consequences of participating in global capitalism. (I know, I know. Some people have cyber sex, I have conversations about the karmic consequences of global capitalism.) He pointed out that from a certain point of view, the Big Picture, everything evens out. I think he was driving to that argument that from an enlightened point of view, form is emptiness and emptiness if form, samsara and nirvana are one, there is no good and no evil; these are all just convenient labels we use. They aren’t real.

And that’s true. From an enlightened point of view. And I think it’s important to keep that in mind. I think it’s important to keep in mind that simply saying, “Well, everything’s one” like some sort of Buddhist platitude is really belittling. It ignores the very real fact that people are suffering, right here and right now. And, from a certain point of view, it’s outright arrogance. I don’t know about you, but I’m not enlightened. Far from. And from where I’m sitting, at this end of the Path, there certainly is suffering in the world. And we’ve got to do something about it.

For my part, I’m going to do my best this summer to get out of the apartment more. To truly engage the guys at San Quentin. To show up every day and be as real as possible. As real as this little unenlightened being can be.