Monday, September 5, 2011

a new path...

I don't think I've ever enjoyed a single moment of simplicity in my life, but it occurred to me within the past few years that it's happend as a result of choices on my part. It seems that no matter what life experiences have come my way, I usually analyze and pick them apart in an effort--so I thought--to better understand and assimilate them.'s possible that I haven't been leaping through all those philosophical hoops to find clarity, after all; if anything, I've only cluttered my mind--and my life--with still more complications, and distracted myself into inactivity.  

When I hear people talk about "being in the moment", I'm utterly baffled because I've never experienced that. No matter what moment I land in, I'm already thinking ahead to the next, or contemplating moments past. When it comes to living my life, I'm afraid I've been a bit of a wanderer, never really at home, no matter where I am. Now, at past the halfway point of my life, I know it's time to settle down and find a home in the present moment.

It's not as easy as it might sound. I have always taken pride in my imagination--it's served me well as a writer and seldom lets me down in other areas of my life--but at times even the most faithful imagination can become a bit of a spoiled child when left to run undisciplined. Couple that active imagination with a restless nature and serenity doesn't stand a chance. On those rare occasions when I've attempted to meditate, my mind fills with ping pong balls of thoughts, all of them bouncing around in there, each one jostling for first position in my attention. Practitioners of meditation amaze me with their calm and do they find it? What is it that they have that I don't, besides discipline? I've lost sleep over questions like that, only to find the ping pong balls bouncing out of reach, leaving me annoyed and frustrated with myself.

I recently stumbled upon a log called Zen Habits and was well and truly impressed. Leo Babauta is not a Zen master, nor a teacher, per se, but a self-questing student of simplicity inspired by Zen philosophy. The thing that impressed me most is that, although he is a writer and would appreciate that people buy his books, he offers his personal wisdom and insights uncopyrighted and free--as wisdom should be. The time I've spent there has been impactful, and most of what I've read there makes sense to me on a deeply visceral level.

It turns out, I have always understood the desirablity of simplicity, but was unwilling to accept it because of a basic deficiency in my nature: laziness.

The word is abhorrent to me; it represents one of the worst vices in my universe and lurks behind just about every other character flaw I possess.

So, understanding that laziness has kept me from moving forward in my life in just about every meaningful way, I'm setting my feet upon a new path. I already know the way will be fraught with distractions and perceived obastacles, but I'm ready to deal with them.

My first act to that end is to empty out a lot of ping pong balls.

We'll see what happens next.