Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Present company accepted

I've been listening to Eckhart Tolle's The New Earth on my Treo on my morning runs. It's a good way to absorb the book, because you can't really think about Eckhart Tolle's teaching too much. I kinda have to osmose it, settle into it. It has been a lot like reading Unconditional Parenting, in that it is resonating deeply on an unconscious level but often defying the rational mind's analysis.

I have known for a long time that there was something wrong with being absorbed in past and future at the expense of the present moment. I remember being at Rose's farm (what, ten years ago?) and realizing suddenly and completely that one could never go wrong if you just made sure you did the right thing right now. It seemed so easy to say that, and yet so impossible to do. Part of the problem is that it isn't really something you do; the whole notion of doing is somewhat contrary to the experience of attention to the present moment.

I was in my study the other day, and my dog Max rolled on his belly, his tail whacking loudly on the floor, giving me that expectant look. I said, fondly and rhetorically, "Yes, Max, you think the whole purpose of my life is to rub your tummy." And I pulled up short on that, because Eckhart Tolle was saying in my head, "Yes, in that moment, the entire purpose of your life IS to rub his tummy." Any notion of teleology, that somehow this moment is only important because it leads to some other future moment, invariably devalues what's going on right now. Petting a dog becomes a distraction, a nuisance, a source of irritation . . . instead of just being a moment of warmth and kindness, for its own sake.


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