Schoolwork this term is really dragging on me. I’m almost two weeks into the term now. Even with my dad’s death, I was able to get the reading done for my class on Greek thought. It turns out that the real difficulty is my own independent study. The books I assigned myself to read (and I’m not stuck with) are relatively long and are not quick reads. In fact, they are quite slow reads. I’m taking a break right now because I found my attention really wandering.
The material is quite interesting in and of itself. I’m working through Antoine Faivre’s first collection from 1992 on Western Esotericism. There’s only so many litanies of names, texts, and connections that you can read looking over the history of esotericism from late antiquity through the 19th century before your eyes glaze over a bit. Ah well, I assigned the books to myself. I’m glad that I cut at least one off that I was considering.
My first papers are due at the end of week four and five (for the Greek and Esotericism classes respectively). That’s February 3 and 10. The first of these is only six pages so it should be fairly easy to do. The esotericism paper is 10 to 12 pages so may be a bit more work.
Sometime in February, I probably need to take a couple of days off from work and have a four or so day weekend. I want to fly to Gillette, Wyoming via Denver. That’s about 50 miles from the town where my dad had the storefront with apartment that he owned. I know he has stuff there and accounts in the bank. I need to go through his things that he left behind. I’ve had a second person call me today with an interest in purchasing the place and I’m very inclined to sell if I can get the price that dad quoted me when he was here at Thanksgiving. I’m lucky that he told me what he wanted to sell it for. I’m told that one of the two people tried to buy it before but my dad tried to raise the price on it. If I can get that sold, that just leaves me the rentals in another town (400 miles from there), which I arranged to have managed by a local realty company this week. I’m still waiting on the paperwork giving me the legal power to do things but I should have it soon.
On a separate note, February is going to be a busy month. R and I chose not to go to PantheaCon in San Jose this year. We’ve gone the last two and have had a great time but it is expensive for both of us, we have to take time off from work, buy plane tickets, pay for the hotel, etc. This was a hard decision.
Instead, so far, we have the following:
- Shambhala Level 2 Training - First weekend in February - R and I attended the level 1 about a year about and really enjoyed it though it was highly draining as well. It was more sitting meditation in one weekend than I'd done before. We weren't able to take the level 2 training a month later that time but the cycle has come around again and we both really want to do this. Since R isn't a Buddhist at all and I am on even days, this is a rare meditation or Buddhist related thing that we can do together.
- Vajrakilaya Weekend Retreat - Second weekend in February - Chagdud Gompa Amrita, the Seattle center for Chagdud Rinpoche's lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, is hosting a Vajrakilaya weekend retreat. This will be the first extended teaching and practice session relating to Vajrakilaya that I've attended and I've been waiting for one to be done locally for quite some time.
- Ordo Templi Orientis Initiation - Last weekend in February - I have been eligible to take my third degree in the OTO for a couple of years but didn't feel that the time was right before. Through a variety of circumstances, it feels like the proper time finally. As an added bonus, I've taken my masonic third recently and I understand that there are some historical connections between aspects of these degrees since the OTO is ultimately connected to a form of fringe masonry in the 19th century. This is going to be done at Sekhet-Maat Lodge down in Portland where we have friends. This is also where I took my second degree years ago. My mother, who is OTO, attended that and she's going to try to come out for my third there as well.
Today, my portable puja table arrived. I didn’t get it especially because it is portable since I don’t change where I do ritual work or meditation much but it is a nice low table for doing puja or other Buddhist practices. For those that don’t know, Vajrayana texts should not be placed on the ground and there are often implements that need to be used and then put down in some practices. The table makes it a lot easier to have a text open and have tools out.
I found a picture of the table that I got (through Tibetantreasures.com, which is associated with Chagdud Rinpoche):