Posts Tagged ‘sleepliving’

I have just one reason for not posting again on a regular schedule…

My ‘present mind’.

While at times it will jaunt off into an internal tangent and take me somewhere completely removed from a current situation, generally my mind is on exactly what’s in front of me.  And little else.  Meaning thoughts I had even moments before entering the room, intending to do something very specific, are gone completely when something there needs even a moment’s attention.  The past is fully in the past, even if I’d intended to bring it into the future.

This means that not only do I need a list to go shopping, but I also have to take measures to ensure I remember to bring the list. It also means that unless something is such an established habit that it has become a part of the schema of where I’ll naturally go — it won’t happen.  Almost no matter how much I want it, chances are good I’ll forget.

So when reading about the ideal of the Present Mind, focusing and knowing completely only that which is before you — don’t take it too literally. Oh sure, it’s a valuable skill to be able to pull off, but only when it’s appropriate. It’s not meant to be an ‘all the time’ thing.

If you don’t believe me, try it for a while, and see how many possible ‘presents’ go unopened…

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I saved a quote from an article last week that I thought spoke very well to how important it is to always keep the mind questioning and open to new answers. So much shifts around us, so many new things are revealed each day that previously were hidden, that if we can’t maintain a habit of keeping our eyes open to them we’ll wind up blind. We’ll only see a world that once was visible to us, and project it onto what’s really in front of us, seeing our illusions rather than reality.

That’s a super hard habit to keep though. Maybe the answer is to every week (or day or month?) pick one thing we’ve assumed and try to find as many different ways to look at it as possible and see if we change our assumptions. Like when I challenged my assumption that I hated mushrooms (done wrong, I still do, otherwise I LOVE them).

We should find a way that works for us, though. It’ll take practice. It’ll take trial and error. But I think we’ll hit on something that works for us. Because Marty’s right.

[I]t’s dangerous to always think with exclamation points instead of question marks. Your stance on any particular issue is far less important than whether your worldview is a product of inquiry or incuriosity, whether you feel more comfortable questioning the crowd or blindly marching with it. No ideology has a monopoly on reality.

– Marty Beckerman

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Speed Bump 8/21/2009
Speed Bump 9/21/09

I saw today’s Speed Bump cartoon and had to use it for today’s thought. I think it’s kinda funny, but it also illustrates for me the dangers of studying any kind of religious or philosophical path. It can be so easy to get sidetracked with the over-arcing insights and generalities that it becomes hard to apply them to the everyday choices of living. They can be a great guide, but they’re not exactly cut out to act as specific instructions.

That’s why I’ve set out to keep up my agreement to do a ‘daily zen’ thought, and end up talking about very mundane things. The zen is the compass, but it’s the mundane that is the actual journey. The more we learn how to live each day with a pretty clear perspective, making pretty honest choices and feeling pretty much at peace with them, the more we’re living zen.

An active sense of humor helps, too. 😉

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I very nearly forgot to have a thought again today! It’s been headache level of busy, and times like that I often don’t think to take a moment and think. Then just now I came across a line from a poem, which says it all:


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

– William Henry Davies

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I was thinking today about how people can get caught up in thoughts of the life they want. Some people just imagine being able to spend all day every day lounging by the beach with perpetually refreshed drinks, true. Yet I think most people have dreams and aspirations they truly hope to someday realize, but aren’t in a place yet to do that.

The problem comes when jump from the ideal to the real seems to be across such a deep, deep gulf that we end up feeling farther away from them than is really fair. As a result, in wishing for the ideal, we can feel a harsh separation from the real, or at least wanting to be separated from it. And that’s the problem, because that wish would separate us from where we actually are, when we’re actually there, and able to take actual action to move to where we want to go.

There’s no other way to get where we want to go without first moving our feet where they’re at. To live the lives we want, we must live the lives we have. As much as we can, it only helps us to take a moment and see and appreciate where we’re at, so we can better see how it will help us along.

Of course, Leo Tolstoy put it far more succinctly: “If you want to be happy, be.”

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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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Today I’m back in the mindset of trying to embrace absolutely everything, everyplace and everytime I encounter, so I can accept it, use it, and build on it. What is there is there, and so long as I feel any want to push things from me, it’s preventing me from picking up what’s useful and using it.

In trying to do so though, I kicked into another pocket of, “but what if I still need more than what’s here?” Which is silly because I’ve even said myself, recently, that being grateful for what you have doesn’t PRECLUDE getting more, it INVITES it. I guess even though I know this, there’s still a part of me that doesn’t want to “settle” on the wrong side of the path I need to be walking, and is afraid that I’ll do exactly that if I get too comfortable.

So I’m reframing the idea as, “You will better climb over a boulder in your path by putting your arms around it and setting your feet into its footholds, rather than trying to push it away.”

In the line of “using what you have without condemning it for its failings”, I just want to share a couple of quotes I found while tidying up my desk:

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.
– Confucius

And also my own paraphrase of a zen story…

A student asked his master to please share with him the one fundamental principle of Buddhism. The master replied, “There is enough breeze in this fan to keep me cool.”
– Zen mondo

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