Breakfast Discussions of Relationships
Breakfast in the community is often one of the most interesting times. This morning was no exception. A long discussion grew up about relationships, especially polyamorous ones, and we talked about the tensions between short term attraction and longer term friendships, the difficulty of really allowing relationships to find their own level rather than pushing for what one desires when it might not be realistic, and whether relationships have to be all-or-nothing or whether real satisfaction is to be had from more partial commitment. However, no two relationships are the same and they are often so full of fantasy that it is difficult to see what it what. Then, again, two people might be very attracted to one another, but the practicalities of living together or even spending much time together may be daunting. In our Buddhist life we are often mobile and this does not make for ease in settled relationships. A woman might be attracted to a man because he is free, travels and is spiritual, but as the relationship develops these might be exactly the characteristics that she then wants him to change. A man might be attracted to a woman because of her looks and initial vivaciousness, compromise various aspects of his life in order to be with her, and then regret it later, One can see why the Buddha recommended celibacy. There is certainly some logic in steering clear of the whole business altogether. Nonetheless, there is a great deal to be learned from and much personal satisfaction to be found in intimacy. There are no simple answers and we did not arrive at profound conclusions. No doubt the discussion would have been even more animated if we had had women present, but sometimes there is a lot to be said for discussing things with one's male friends.
Through the Flood
The rain is still continuing and with vigour. Today I had a day off from writing and from woodwork and went shopping. Adam and I travelled to Bourges which, in normal conditions, is about 40 minutes away. It was the longest car journey I have done since I went to hospital in Clermont Ferrand. Health-wise I found it taxing but not too bad. However, en route we ran into floods. Just north of Bannegon the road was inundated twice with quite a strong current running across. We managed to pass through it on the outward journey by driving very slowly and continually checking how high up the wheels the water was coming. On the way back, the satellite navigation system suggested a different route so we took it hoping not to run into floods. However, this was a mistake. The floods were deeper and impassible and we had to retrace our route in order to find a way through. When we got home the rain stopped briefly and let us unload the car, but it was soon tippling down again. What with floods and strikes, poor Jnanamati has some dilemmas about his plans to travel north tomorrow. He will leave early in the morning and hope not to run into problems crossing Paris. Thankfully, the rain has only revealed one very small hole in our roof. I'll have to have a look at that if I remember when more clement weather returns.
Glad you are making progress. So long as you know that there is nowhere to go it will all be alright wherever you end up. As you see, I'm still reading Dogen :-)
I'm relieved to hear this, Jnanamati. And I'm saving all my 5x conversation, especially for your visit ;-)
I am currently at Charles de Gaulle Airport and despite carrying some worries about the effect that the industrial action might have on the Metro and RER systems, getting here - once I had arrived at Gare d'Austerlitz - seemed quicker than on previous occasions. I suspect people who don't need to travel today or have flexible working contracts have stayed at home and so the whole network was quiet, as well as running. I am glad I kept abreast of developments during the day yesterday though because the only train that would get me here for my flight this afternoon was the one I took at 6.00 this morning.
I am sad to have left Eleusis, not least for the stimulating and rich dialogues we have over breakfast and during other mealtimes. Its a generally held belief, and one that has been borne out by recent research , that women use something like five times as many words during the course of a day, in discussion and by way of expressing ideas. The three of us together are not usually particularly talkative during the day, but at times like breakfast yesterday, when a subject engages our interest, I think we can make up for the absence of words at other times. Maybe there is something to be said for creating conditions in which men and women can meet together separately since it does seem to allow an openness to develop which might otherwise be inhibited, especially relative to certain subjects.
hope to join your breakfast discussions soon! (with vivaciousness :-) )