Posts Tagged ‘nowism’

The day has been so full, it got to be almost over before I realized I hadn’t written down any thoughts! So I’d like to share a quote that I’ve been thinking about for a while:

It is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.
Vida Dutton Scudder

There’s still these points in my life where I think I might be trying a little too hard to hold onto things I think I ought to (deserve to?) keep, but life might be moving me away from. And also things I think maybe I should have or such, but haven’t found a way to yet. This quote reminds me of remembering to keep my focus on the experiences and feelings and processes as I create my life; while the tangibles can be enjoyable, they’re props and stage-dressing, not the play itself.

When I remember all that, it seems like the tangibles actually help take care of themselves. And I’m far more free to just relax and enjoy the whole flow of life.


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I recently read about a study that talked about how we rationalize our lives. It concluded that we didn’t necessarily make the choices we preferred, but the ones we were able to rationalize to our satisfaction. One of the researchers put it this way:

Everyone feels that as a rational creature he must be able to give a connected, logical, and continuous account of himself, his conduct, and opinions, and all his mental processes are unconsciously manipulated and revised to that end.

– Ernest Jones

That is, we’ll choose what we can rationalize, and barring that, we’ll find a way to rationalize what we already chose.

Rationalization can be fairly harmless, especially if we apply TRUE rationality and really examine what we want and why — that can even be beneficial. But there’s things we’ll think, do, say, desire, and so on… that don’t have what we’ll feel comfortable calling a “good reason”. What’ll we do then? What will we think of ourselves? How will we move forward?

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Today is just a day of quiet gratitude for me. I’ve had my hiccups over the weekend and have some loose ends I need to even begin to figure out how I’m going to be able to sort them all, but as I woke up I found myself locating a golden thread of hope and happiness that’s stayed twirled around my finger throughout the day. I’m feeling pretty good in general, and am incredibly grateful for that.

Just typing these thoughts is calling attention to it, and I just now caught a thought of a lack in my life trying to put a dent into the warm glow. So I tried a new little trick that I thought I’d share. I focused a moment instead on what I DID have that I just needed more of, and repeated three times, “I’m so grateful to have X.” The sense of rising pain disappeared, replaced by the warm glow. Very, very happiness-making!

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Looking ahead to Sunday’s quote on my Zen Calendar, I saw a quote from Diogenes:

“We are more curious about the meaning of dreams than about things we see when we awake.”
– Diogenes

It struck me with the idea on how easy it can be to get caught up in, well, the “idea of ideas”, epsecially when trying to lead a meaningful life. It helps to be aware of what’s going on inside our heads and the deeper meanings of it all, but that’s all only practical when it is in context of the life we’re actually in.

Same goes for self-denial, needless restrictions, etc. etc. — cutting back and sitting still is an important way to let yourself process what you’ve taken in, but not when it gets to the point that you’re denying yourself the valuable experiences of life. The true meaning of life can only be experienced through truly living.

Our old friend Ikkyu the irreverent Zen monk agrees with me. Here’s his poem reflecting his take on the strict path of self-denial:

Exhausted with gay pleasures, I embrace my wife.
The narrow path of asceticism is not for me:
My mind runs in the opposite direction.
It is easy to be glib about Zen — I’ll just keep my mouth shut
And rely on love play all the day long.

– Ikkyu

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Just a few random thoughts in the form of questions…

What are you waiting for?


Do you have to actively wait, or could you go on with all the other business of living, and just let it come?

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I got this great tea-seeping mug the other day, and had just filled it up with a fresh brew this morning and was walking back to my desk… when I noticed I had filled it too high. It was jostling because I was walking pretty fast (yes, I always do…), and the more I tried to steady it while walking, the more it swished and almost spilled over the side. So I had to stop, let it settle, then walk more slowly and evenly to keep it from spilling over.

It then hit me what an obvious analogy for my life that was. I’ve let it fill too full again, and in trying to rush and still keep it all balanced, I’m letting it just keep gaining momentum and it’s starting to spill over. I think I’m going to take the hint and take it slower, seeing if I can get things to settle down just a bit, maybe even lighten the load.

For a start, I’m going to have some quiet moments with my fresh, hot tea. 🙂

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There was a piece of advice on my calendar last Friday that I saw again fresh this morning when I went to turn the page. It’s good advice, if you get what it’s trying to say:

See as if for the first time a beautiful person or an ordinary object.
– Shiva

Lately I’ve caught myself unconsciously judging again. For some reason I’ve become quite aware of all my judgements and feelings about a thing when I look at it — for example, right now I see my sweater, and I have a quick rush of “I love that sweater. It’s so freaking cold in here. It’s a travesty we have to wear two layers of sweaters in the summer.” Each sight we see or sound we hear can bring in a whole rush of ideas and images and feelings that really aren’t about that exact sight or sound, just what we’ve come to associate with it.

While this is all a great survival technique, it can get in the way of living. When we’re distracted by our past experiences and expectations, we miss something about what’s there in front of us right now. We’ll miss subtle changes, and we can also lose sight of freshness and insights. It all becomes a big subconscious habit that keeps us from being spontaneous and free.

So yeah, I’m going back to practicing seeing things and quieting the flood of judgement, instead trying to get a fresh first impression. Already I’m feeling it, like a little bit of weight from the past is lifting away.

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Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — the American guarantee, huh?  The problem is that it doesn’t seem to be an American assumption that we will actually BE happy, only that we’ll pursue it.  Some people say that might account for a lot of the economic storm going around now, that the economy was built around consumerism, a pursuit of things, without making sure there was enough substance in the here-and-now to back those purchases.  And now the sandy foundation is giving way, toppling things over.
Now I’ve got a lot to say about consumerism, but what’s important here is that it’s built on this whole system of “get people to spend” that actually has to keep us from seriously examining what really and truly makes us happy.  After all, you can’t BUY a breath of summer breeze.  You can’t SELL a baby’s laugh.  There’s no profit to be made off of inner contentment.  So they have to manufacture newer and shinier products and newer and shinier ads to convince us that all we need to be happy is their products that’ll give us a newer and shinier life.  (And, by extension, we must be miserable without them.)

But deep down, we know that’s not right, that fulfillment isn’t in what we’ve bought so far.  Yet if we’re caught in the communal daydream then all we can think of to do is try to find the next thing we need to buy to fill that void…
The real secret is that happiness isn’t a thing to have, a place to be, or even a person to be with.  All these things can trigger feelings of happiness, but only if those feelings are inside us already.  And those feelings are things we need to cultivate for their own sake, because we’ve chosen to be happy.  Each morning, we have to greet the day saying, “Today, I choose to be happy.”
Actually, try that for a while.  Practice it.  There might be things you want and things you’d like to be rid of, but that can’t prevent you from being happy inside yourself, simply because you are alive.  Taisen Deshimaru said it best:

“If you are not happy here and now, you never will be.”

Once again, we can only ever be “here”.  We can only ever be “now”.  We can’t keep projecting wishes of having happiness in the future because we will never live in the future.  We live now.

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So this is the Nexus of Now blog thinger, subtitled “A Drink of Spring Water from a kinda Zen Taoist Stream of Consciousness”. I can’t tell if that’s all going to come across as pretentious, hokey, or just kinda strange… but then that’s also kinda the story of my life.

The Nexus of Now is actually a term that started up a few years back when I was joking around with some friends about an “internet religion”. It sounded really fun and funny at the time, but then I moved away from said friends and most of us lost touch and it ended up being just the product of a few weeks I had no internet but a lot of spare time to offline web design… some honest philosophy, but mostly a bunch of well-intended humor that never went anywhere.

I’m telling you this because there’s no guarantee that this blog won’t end up with much the same effect. But I like the name Nexus of Now for the same reason I always did — it describes one of the most important concepts in my world, that everything and everyplace and everywhen HAS to be kept firmly in the perspective of the “here and now”, cause honestly, that’s the only timeplace you really ARE, and can function in.

I’m not sure if that’s all self-explanatory, but if it’s not, I think you’ll get a better idea of what I’m trying to say as this blog continues on. Right now it’s just a place for me to store the “thoughts of the day” I’m sending a few friends each weekday morning, which I call “A Drink of Spring Water”.

One of the most refreshing things in the world to me is clean, fresh, cold water, but it also only quenches you for so long.  I always hope my thoughts actually provide SOME measure of refreshment, but I don’t expect them to, of themselves, keep anyone going for too long after they’re ingested.  Something like that.

Oh, to be perfectly honest, the word “Spring” is in there also because it’s the name of the season where things come out from winter to grow anew.  Remember that Spring is about NEW shoots of growth, NEW seeds being nourished and germinated, setting the stage for further growth on their own. I thought that was a pretty good pointer to my aspirations.

I hope you enjoy. 🙂

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