Aikido was good yesterday. I'm feeling very flowy, and techniques are coming pretty easily, which is nice. I'm looking forward to the test on Thursday. I've discovered an affinity for nikkyo, a powerful wrist lock. It's so sudden and requires so little movement on the part of the person doing the technique that it's always a delightful surprise to me how effective it is.
I did the most wonderful thing this past Thursday. I usually laugh a lot with our receptionist, Kim--I'm about the least corporate person in the office, and I'll often step out of the elevator singing or something: an appropriate greeting will often come to me on the ride up from the parking garage. This happened on Thursday, and I walked out of the elevator, walked up to Kim, and said in my best Kermit the Frog voice:
This day of slaving away for the capitalist machine has been brought to you by the letter J and the number 5!Kim took this in stride, laughed, and called me a freak. But I got a bonus that day, because Andraya, the payroll administrator, was standing there as well. I turned to her for the reaction, and her mouth was gaping open and her eyes were bugged out, and after a couple of seconds, she said, "Good morning!". I think I fell completely outside of anything she was really prepared to deal with at that moment. It was beautiful.
Friday there was finally The Conversation[tm] about my office hours. It's fairly stupid: people want at least the illusion that I'm spending eight hours a day in the office. In reality, leaving out the 20 minutes or so it takes me to bring lunch back to my desk, I'm there about seven hours right now. And no one seems to care if I take an hour for lunch: if I leave at 5, they want me to have gotten there at 9. It's not because I'm not getting enough work done, or because people can't find me when they need me for something; no, they just feel weird. It's dumb, but it's something I knew was possible or likely when I took the job, so it doesn't generate a huge emotional reaction. I mean, as Jerry (my boss) pointed out, we work for a paperclip company from the Midwest, and if you view everything through that lens the company behavior in every aspect becomes more comprehensible. Jerry and I are the only engineers. At least they don't care when I work the 8 hours. So I'll give them this, because even if stupid it's not wholly unreasonable, and I was expecting it.
I think it would also be helpful if I maintained the illusion that I was interested in the weekly meeting where (currently) 90% of what we discuss has little to nothing to do with me.
It's 4/20, the happy holiday of pot smokers everywhere, and we recently passed 4/16, the date of the first LSD trip (chemist Albert Hofmann discovers some curious effects while playing with ergot alkaloids); and yesterday, 4/19, was Bicycle Day, the anniversary of the first intentional acid trip, when Hofmann took 250 micrograms (which we now know to be a very, very, very hefty dose) and had an interesting bike ride home. Here's a full timeline. Years later he wrote LSD: My Problem Child, which I've yet to read all of, but it looks like fun. It sounds like that first trip was a rough one, but he came out of it fine and learned a lot over the years:
Of greatest significance to me has been the insight that I attained as a fundamental understanding from all of my LSD experiments: what one commonly takes as "the reality," including the reality of one's own individual person, by no means signifies something fixed, but rather something that is ambiguous-that there is not only one, but that there are many realities, each comprising also a different consciousness of the ego.Which sounds like a useful understanding to me. We all live in slightly different versions of reality, filtered through our egos and perceptions and beliefs. The purpose of Zen, and I think mysticism in general, is to drop those filters and see reality the way it really is, just for itself and without our thoughts and memories and impressions attached to it.
I love when there's something wrong with my energy and it turns out to be a single thought blocking everything up, and as soon as that thought occurs to me and I start examining it, muscles start to relax and everything starts to unwind.