God, how I once loved this stuff! But this morning, it was a bit like homework I knew I could do but could find no particular reason for doing. True, Frank, my friend, had sent it along on the off-chance I hadn't seen it (I hadn't), so it was a gift and I did want to honor Frank's effort. And true, I had used a lot of my life following the slips and slides of Zen Buddhism and its practices, so of course I might want to revisit .... blah, blah, blah.
The truth was not that I felt so exalted that I could dismiss the past out of hand but rather that it was a part of the past that felt gently irrelevant ... or perhaps relevant in ways that seemed thin gruel on the reminiscence meter. If I had to choose between this video and recollections of my first serious girlfriend or the strands of music woven by David Oistrakh in a UCLA-Berkeley gymnasium, the girlfriend or the music would win my ravenous teaching-attention hands down.
Where did all that ravening for spiritual mortar disappear to? So much longing woven with, I imagine, the dread that spiritual adventure might suddenly collapse and reveal itself as a terrific pile of nonsensical shit. I needed-needed-needed the mortar back then. Now it felt comically like a bit of cement appended to the cement shoes some hitman welded to my feet on my way into the Hudson River. A little more cement/mortar didn't mean much one way or another -- either way, I was sunk.
The fever of reminiscence can be so fiery and also so banked. It can roar and yet it can also nudge: "Ask me if I give a shit." Well, maybe not quite that flip ... but pretty close. I wonder where the line is. I can do all the parsing about "unresolved issues," but still I wonder where the fire goes when it goes out.