“Banality is like boredom: bored people are boring people, people who think that things are banal are themselves banal.
Interesting people can find something interesting in all things.”
― Idries Shah
Does what you’re doing seem really tedious? Does it feel like the world has ceased to entertain you and that what you do seems repetitive and has lost meaning? When is the last time you studied something new? or made up words to a song inside your head? When is the last time you really tried to answer questions about meaning that you may have given up on? When is the last time you wondered how your life would be different if everyone you knew was gender-swapped? How about wondering if it was possible that everyone around you had actually reached the peak of spiritual evolution and your mission in life was to learn from them everything you possibly could? Do things seem a bit less boring now? As Dan Millman expresses it in his Peaceful Warrior books “There is never nothing going on,”
“Man is a substance clad in shadows.”
Wrap me in your shadows love
caress me with your fears
draw out your inner darkness babe
fill me with your tears
Draw out my inner light my pet
let it enter your abyss
we’ll create something beautiful
with each passionate kiss
be the substance to my being love
be the shadow to my soul
we’ll take what has been broken
build a new artistic whole
— G A Rosenberg
I have spoken and created a lot around shadows and identity. But it tends to be a subject of endless fascination for me. One not only of my identity and all its many aspects but that of everyone I meet as well. I love being surprised by something I have never seen in a friend or loved one and perhaps especially in someone I find difficult. There is much truth in the by now cliche that it is the ones we dislike who can teach us the most about ourselves. So when someone whom I dislike shows me something pure and beautiful I melt.
“Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness.”
― Marshall McLuhan
The largest problem with assumptions is not who they may or may not make asses out of but that their shelf life seems so limited. Most of the time we at least pay lip service to the fact that our assumptions are only hypothesis, best guesses as to the nature of reality. After all what are assumptions but the bridges we build across chasms of the unexplained? All too often tho our assumptions don’t quite fill the gap that we intend them too and we fight to defend them just knowing somehow we can make them stretch. This is a fool’s game at best. Assumptions are made to be disposable because there is always something better.
“Why think about that when all the golden land’s ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
As I write this, I am getting ready to go into travelling mode again. Something I look forward to as I always hope that new surroundings will equate to new insights and I am seldom disappointed. I guess its all about how present I wish to be. It seems so easy to get caught up in Facebook and my online life that I forget to see what’s in front of me and miss out on so much. After all what is adventure if I can be blogging? As much as I enjoy communicating and communing with you, I like the adventure of meeting new people and seeing either new things or revisit old things through new eyes.
By the way, more than 777 of you have subscribed to my blog. I appreciate this more than I can say. To my new friends, welcome, To those who have been here for awhile, thank you.
“What should I possibly have to tell you, oh venerable one? Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?”
― Hermann Hesse
It’s so romantic to imagine ourselves on a quest and so many things to quest for. We quest for love. We quest for truth. We quest for power. We quest for understanding. We might follow clues around like Hansel and Gretel following breadcrumbs until the trail comes to an end. We feel ourselves ennobled on the quest as if we are doing something important. Yet we abandon possible friends because we feel they don’t understand the importance of our undertaking. Perhaps one of these friends may have become something more but “sorry my dear I quest for love”. We abandon insights because they are not big enough or strong enough to match the Truth we seek. We surrender partial understanding or discard it because it is not the whole thing. We miss that partials can grow. While it is true that there is always more to find, why do we so often miss the gifts along the way?
“If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies… It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.”
— Albert Einstein
I’m keeping it simple tonight. For one I’m fairly tired and I’m packing for a trip that starts in a few days, I am also in the midst of trying to balance the different aspects of my life and finding it a bit challenging tonight. Nothing that can’t be sorted out fairly easily. I just need a bit of a wider perspective.
It seems to me that as far as philosophies go, keep it simple is not a bad one. Far too often it seems we feel the need to explain everything and most of it of course becomes guesswork. We extrapolate the things we don’t know from the things we do and create large monolithic structures. I’d rather these days be open to all possibilities, hold onto the things I know for sure and sit with the unknowns. That way, only the highest quality ‘meat’ with no filler exists within a rather simple foil wrapper.
“To become a spectator of one’s own life is to escape the suffering of life.”
— Oscar Wilde
As many of us were growing up, we were told the importance of being participants in life and not spectators. Many of us indeed feel the need to act, to achieve to press ever onward and this is a good thing for the most part. There is equally a time to be still, to meditate and to watch. It is so easy to get caught up in the drama of day to day life and to even actively promote the drama. We treat as important situations that will be relatively meaningless a day later never mind in any kind of long run. We get angry when someone cuts us off in traffic. Do we actively promote this anger and either give the other driver the finger or start an altercation or do we just watch from our center and not let it affect us. When a family member is in a bad mood, do we take it on, get into a nice rousing argument where years of buried resentments emerge or do we just see it as what it is. Watching what goes on around us and knowing when to act and when to be still has to be one of the most important life and spiritual skills that there is. This has been a hard won lesson to me and one that needs refreshing often.
If you can joyfully accept the consequence, do what you want; if it is that you will cry when the consequence comes, better be conscious about what you do.”
— Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Do only what you can handle the consequence for joyfully. That is one of the strongest statements of personal responsibility that I can think of. All too often, we do things that we know will hurt us in the long run and then either act surprised when we get hurt or try to find someone to take the pain away. It reminds me of the man who went to the doctor, lifted up his arm and said “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” The doctor of course replied, “Don’t do that. ” Well not unless you enjoy pain or the results of the pain will bring you happiness in another way. If that is the case, own it. I did what I wanted to do. I may have to bear hardship because I did it, but it is worth the hardship. I chose to do it, no one made me. WIth freedom to act comes the responsibility of dealing with the results of our actions. Do we really wish to give up that freedom to avoid the responsibility? I know I don’t.