My retreat from cyberspace wasn’t quite as I expected. In fact, not long after I decided to take a break from all things internet, I started another blog as part of my university studies! This is my last year in completing my BA in Japanese and I am starting to look for a specialised area in which I can develop my professional translation skills, so if you’re interested in Japanese cuisine, you can see what I’ve been translating at my Kyoto Kitchen blog, which I’ll be continuing as part of my studies at least until the end of this year. In fact, I’m still on the computer every day because I have been undertaking some units as an external student, so my cyber retreat seemed somewhat hypocritical and a bit of failure.
But in this “failure”, I have learned something about myself that perhaps might resonate with you too. I realise that in my desire to withdraw from the cyberworld I actually wanted to be living in a different world – one that doesn’t exist any more. I have felt quite nostalgic for the pre-computer world that I grew up in, where we might have shared a ‘real’ cuppa together, where neighbours dropped by unannounced, where the pace of life was slower, where bread seemed to taste and smell more ‘breadlike’, and so on. But that world only exists in my own imagination. And by harking back to another time that sometimes feels more real than the present time, a world that I have made up with my memories, I create a kind of sadness that this world, this reality, is not more like the one I have created with my memory and imagination.
It dawned on me then that this is the essential teaching contained in the Buddha’s words:
“All that we are arises with our thoughts;
With our thoughts we create the world”
Whilst of course its fine to take a break away from the computer screen, there was more to it for me than just to rest my eyes for a while. Because, as I said, in my uni studies I was at the computer every day, so it clearly wasn’t just about taking a break. The root of my retreat was this nagging feeling that somehow this “cuppa” wasn’t as real as sitting across the table chatting with you face-to-face, and that led me to feel a kind of sadness. But my nostalgic melancholy stems from the creation in my own mind that there was some other kind of reality than what presents itself to me right now, right in the moment of typing on the keypad and chatting with you. This connection is far more real of course than anything in my imagination because it is a real event, happening right now, and so this is the only reality that can possibly exist. My whole being is connecting with you right in this very moment and that is a cause for happiness and celebration. So whilst I know that I will slip into my nostalgic ruminations, my spiritual path is to continue to practice immersing my whole self in experiencing this very moment. And right at this very moment, I am sharing a cuppa with you. Thank you for being here.