I turned in my first paper for my Greek thought class last week. It was pretty short and I was relatively happy with it. It takes me about eight pages to really get a heard of steam on something so these shorter papers always make me feel like I’m leaving things out.
I’m working on a longer paper for my independent study in Western Esotericism. This paper (roughly ten pages or so) will define what “western esotericism” is and involves heavy quoting from scholastic sources. I found myself flipping through Ficino’s Platonic Theology trying to find a good quote on the unification of Plato and Hermes into one philosophical tradition. How often do you get to quote Ficino in a paper? (This reminded me, of course, that I only have the first two of five volumes of the Platonic Theology because I bought them when they first came out…tsk).
I can see how this paper is going to go, in a general sense, and I actually did a loose outline for once. This is more of a “time spent=pages written” kind of paper. It is also a bit harder, in a way, to write on something that you know a lot about because everything has to be backed up with a reference in a cited work unless it is completely freakin’ obvious. I wind up digging through Antoine Faivre quite a bit here.
On a side note, R and I did not do the Level 2 Shambhala training last weekend. I didn’t feel that I had the time with the schoolwork (I spent much of the weekend finishing my self-assigned reading). This coming weekend I will still be attending the Vajrakilaya short retreat down in Lake City.
Some day, my internal back and forth between East and West may resolve itself in some way. The Western tradition of esoteric practice is so much more comfortable in many ways and natural to be understood but I see a lack of real attainment of its practitioners and a lot of people engaging in both simple spiritual materialism and just making it up as they go. The Eastern traditions (specifically Vajrayana here) don’t have the same problem with always just making things up but they are culturally quite foreign in most ways and there is still a sense of not being a full citizen when sitting down with a roaming Tibetan lama for a retreat. Some of this would probably go by the wayside if I worked closely with people other than myself but therein lies politics and ego and I do wish to avoid it. I’m arrogant and ego-driven enough without getting my spirituality involved more in that. Ah well.