Second, between Christmas Day and today, not only did I not get much of an opportunity to meditate or do guruyoga but even when I found the rare opportunity it wasn't for long due to being distracted. And now I want to smash my head in because I wasted valuable opportunities to practice even when I couldn't do formal practice. And I want to smash my head in for not knowing enough about Dzogchen to know this.
This is great! Very few people have the ability to see how their time is wasted or opportunities are lost. This is one of the things we are supposed to feel, at least in terms of the immanent importance of practice and not wanting to waste time. Anger and smashing our heads however won't do any good, but making time to practice, which probably includes making sacrifices and not doing other things, is good.
And yet it got so hard to concentrate on reading about Dzogchen while in Chicago that I just gave up and started reading a Beatles biography. And now that I'm back home I'm so tense and pissed off that I've wasted precious time and energy
Precious indeed. So turn this experience into a lesson in itself. Try to bring this feeling into the now, into the present. If you can feel this sense of urgency in the here and now, I guarantee you that you will be studying and practicing and feeling good about having done so.
and then I encounter threads saying, "Trekchö - Kadag - Dharmakaya - Thigle - Essence - Sounds," that I just want to break something.
Meh, I have no idea what most of these things are or mean. I'm studying Mahayana and doing Ngondro. I'll join the DC soon when I can afford it, then slowly buy some books from ChNN as I can afford them. As a Dzogchenpa I'm free to not understand, and free to study and practice other vehicles. I've found reading 'Words of my Perfect Teacher' and 'Treasury of Precious Qualities" immensely useful. Start with the basics. Follow in the footsteps of the great masters. They went through all the vehicles, held all the vows. There is no shame in doing that, and in fact its skillful means to do so if it means that practicing Hinayana or Vajrayana or whatever means removing obscuration and ignorance. Read Chodron and Trungpa if you connect with them. At some point in time you will think "I need to read this book by ChNN" and you will, and if you let it arise spontaneously like that, and follow your intuition rather than forcing things, you will find that the book will contain precisely what you need to know, and what you are ready to learn.
Also an intellectual analysis or understanding of a thing doesn't mean you actually understand it or are wise. Thats the lesson ChNN is talking about in your signature, and also his guru was not learned at all, he just practiced Dzogchen and became realized (granted, he wasn't living in our western conditions). Still, book learning is what it is, it can go either way, as a help or hindrance.
I mean, it's been over a month and I don't even know how to do a short thun
I took transmission the same day as you, and am about as new to Buddhism as you are, I don't even know what a thun is, let alone a short one.
And even if I did I don't have the privacy to do one because of my financial and living situation which I'm working to get out of, but my situation is what it is and it makes vocalizing A's and SOVs and thuns impossible and without vocalizing them it feels useless.
Well you can whisper them, and if not that you can still arouse intense feelings and then think them with devotion and pure intention, you can meld this with your breath, so when you breathe out you connect that to mentally focusing on the line you are reading or the A. Or put on headphones and listen to a recording of the SOV and follow along mentally, allowing your energy to move with and to it like you would with any kind of music or devotional song.
My financial situation sucks too. I make 10$ an hour, live with a room mate who has pretty heavy delusions, I take public transit to work. I haven't even been able to afford to join the DC yet, let alone buy a pile of books and DVDs. My family is poor, my father is basically homeless. On top of this I have about 10 grand in debt from various stupid things. Most of that is from a single electric bill and the IRS, despite being minimum wage they think I owe them thousands of dollars and I can't afford to fight it. I have no schooling to show for it, and can't afford to attend the Buddhist college I want to go to because they don't accept FAFSA. I can't ordain to become a monk because you have to be debt free, and I would actually do that for a few years if I could and learn Tibetan, then go off to a 9 year college in Tibet. If I had only 20k, I could begin to make all my dreams a reality. As it stands most likely none of them will ever happen, and such a small barrier in reality exists between them being a fantasy and reality. Such is life.
And I can't even pick up a book by ChNN now without wanting to chuck it across the room I'm so tense about all of this. And it's only with Dzogchen
So step away from Dzogchen, it encompasses all the vehicles anyways. Broaden your horizons, then when you have a broader understanding of Tibetan Buddhism in general, maybe Dzogchen will be more enjoyable and ChNN will seem more inspiring to read. Maybe Dzogchen and Nyingma lineage is just not for you. Maybe you will connect more with the Gelugs or Sakya. Or maybe you are like me and are into Payul because they embrace both Kagyu and Nyingma, and I like more non sectarian approaches to things.
So basically if you enjoy Chodron and such, go with it. If you are ever in the northwest for business, stop by Powells Books in Portland, the Buddhism section has thousands of books, and the Tibetan Buddhist section has hundreds. Its great to browse and find new stuff randomly and learn about things you had no idea existed.