Every morning, it is my habit to light incense. I light two pieces -- one for a burner that sits on top of the refrigerator in front of a rusted bust of a bodhisattva or Buddha, I'm not sure which, and one for a burner in the living room in front of a many-armed Kuan Yin statue. It is good incense -- Gozan -- and not just some dorm-room addition to a romantic evening.
But now I am running out of incense and, because times are tight, I have to consider the possibility of not maintaining a long habit. Incense, like spiritual adventure, can be expensive and frivolous in tight times. Which is more important -- the Heart Sutra or a hot dog?
And yet, along with considering the possibility of no longer lighting incense, I also have the opportunity of watching a longtime habit drift away like incense smoke.
How hard I have worked in the past to revise or recalibrate old and sometimes destructive habits ... or worse still, good and nutritious ones. But habits are strange: Sure, it's good to revise them where appropriate, but if you wait long enough, I have a hunch they will revise themselves ... floating and wisping away like incense smoke.