Recontacted my Dharma teacher last year after a long time of being unable to practise. It was because I was trying too hard and strained myself. He told me that it’s very common for westerners to do this: we’re taught by our education system that we have to be perfect and whatnot, instead of aspiring to be like the buddha and working with what we have at hand we think we have to be the buddha right now and either give up because it’s impossible or do ourselves an injury.

I’m very happy now, have been meditation regularly again, but this time not trying to sit beyond a reasonable amount. Also studying again. I’m trying very hard to write things down and systemetise them this time using things like mind maps. Ultimately it does’t matter much, but I think it would be good to be able to remember things like the Four Noble Truths, and the four thoughts that turn the mind to Dharma, without having to get a book out. Memorising some of this stuff is good, it will give me a grounding to understand other things better.

I tend to jump off to the complex shiny stuff (Buddha nature, the madhyamaka etc.) because it’s interesting and way beyond the everday view of things. Then details trip me up and I realise the shiny stuff is’t that important. So I’m trying to get a firm grounding in the key concepts and ideas. This should stop me falling off the end of the pier again. The spiritual consequences of leaving Dharma are extremely severe, particularly if you’ve entered the vajrayana.

Blessings to you all.