…figuratively. But I am back.
One of those “Aha” moments hit this morning while reading on existentialism and the absurd. From Thomas Nagel:
Why is the life of a mouse not absurd? The orbit of the moon is not absurd either, but that involves no striving or aim at all. A mouse, however, has to work to stay alive. Yet he is not absurd, because he lacks the capacities for self-consciousnes and self-transcendence that would enable him to see that he is only a mouse. If that did happen his life would become absurd since self-awareness would not make him cease to be a mouse and would not enable him to rise above his mousely strivings. Bringing his new-found self-consciousness with him, he would have to return to his meagre yet frantic life, full of doubts that he was unable to answer, but also full of purposes that he was unable to abandon”
“Stop whatever you’re doing for a moment and ask yourself: Am I afraid of death because I won’t be able to do this anymore?” — Marcus Aurelius
Time, whether it is days or months, even years, just keep slipping by. And those special things we will wish we had done stay in our dreams tucked away for tomorrow. Then tomorrow rolls by just like yesterday, just like yesteryear. I have aspirations that are going on 30 years old that remain in my dreams. I realized those dreams are older than I have productive years left! So with that fed up mindset I performed a Life Audit. It is simple process described here.
How and Why To Do a Life Audit by Ximena Vengoechea
There were a few surprises but 90% of my aspirations were ones that have followed me around for as long as my adult life. So what is different this time versus any of the times I wanted to get something done. That is for my next post. I ran across a TED talk that might just be the answer.
I am a free-thinker. I am not a joiner. I tend to walk my own path. In life’s big dividing lines; whether it is politics, religion, philosophy, moral issues, raising my children, I do not follow a religion nor a political party and try to stay away from pre-scripted ideas. Given this mindset, I have been drawn to Sam Harris’ ideas on religion and morality. I do not follow his brand of atheism, as it is just another pre-scripted mindset that closes the mind, but I certainly do follow his example of objective reasoning for drawing personal conclusions.
So it was with enthusiasm that I began his latest book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion to dig deeper into the world of human spirituality without the structure of religion. Overall, I would not recommend this book over a few others that focus on this topic but here are the parts I highlighted as meaningful and true to my own spiritual experiences.
“I make no claims in support of magic or miracles in this book. However, I can say that the true goal of meditation is more profound than most people realize—and it does, in fact, encompass many of the experiences that traditional mystics claim for themselves. It is quite possible to lose one’s sense of being a separate self and to experience a kind of boundless, open awareness—to feel, in other words, at one with the cosmos.”
“Meister Eckhart (ca. 1260–ca. 1327) often sounded very much like a Buddhist: “The knower and the known are one. Simple people imagine that they should see God, as if He stood there and they here. This is not so. God and I, we are one in knowledge.” But he also sounded like a man bound to be excommunicated by his church—as he was.”
“Meditation is a technique for waking up. The goal is to come out of the trance of discursive thinking and to stop reflexively grasping at the pleasant and recoiling from the unpleasant, so that we can enjoy a mind undisturbed by worry, merely open like the sky, and effortlessly aware of the flow of experience in the present.”
“Indeed, the human mind is the most complex and subtle expression of reality we have thus far encountered. This should grant profundity to the humble project of noticing what it is like to be you in the present. However numerous your faults, something in you at this moment is pristine— and only you can recognize it.
Open your eyes and see.”
Harris, Sam (2014-09-09). Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (p. 206). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.
Some days are orange peels.
This morning I took short walk through our lower field to look at this Spring’s Bluebonnets and along the hiking path, atop a large bush, a mockingbird was calling. I stopped about six feet away and listened to his song. I was able to repeat some of it back to him and he cocked his head my way. I am sure he wondered about the “sick” sounding mockingbird calling him back. He eyed me for awhile and I started a new call. He came back with a new song. I changed mine. He changed his and it went back and forth, and forth and back. We had a conversation this beautiful morning. “Brrrrrr, Brrrrrrr, Chirp, Chirp, Chirp, Chirp, Weeeeko, Weeeeko, Chhhaaaa, Chhhaaaa……” He introduced himself, told me his name, where he was from, where he was to go yet today. I am not sure what I told him.