...and what I remembered.

I don't actually like the desert very much. My trips aren't really about going to a place so I can be there and see things and do stuff: it's all about changing my surroundings, so I can see the contrast, identify which crap is really just my mind causing trouble, and fix it. As Robert Pirsig said, "The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there." Likewise, I carry the activities of my mind with me wherever I travel. The desert is very quiet, and there's nothing for my mind to react to, no people, no job, no familiar environment. My mind quiets down, and I can find my center again. I decided to re-read Way of the Peaceful Warrior, one of the books that helped my consciousness jump tracks at New Year's 2002. After six months of joy and 3.5 years of confusion, I notice different things in the book that are immediately relevant, and it's still useful.

Way back upon a time, I had a Path, and I was determined to follow it. Except I didn't have any kind of regular practice to help me make any progress, and I was aloof and cut off from other people; I decided my path lay out in the realm of human relationships, and I let everything else slide for a while. I took a detour, and it's been a lot of fun, and it's had a cost; and now I think it's time to return. Of course the detour wasn't actually different from the Path: I was.

One of my favorite Zen sayings: "Better never begin. Once begin, better finish."