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.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Beauty revealed

Have you ever noticed that the world's physical beauty opens up to you when you're extremely stressed? I have noticed many times now, in the course of my life, that it was exactly when I was feeling pushed to my limit that I suddenly noticed grass, and trees, and clouds pushed by the wind. I remember very significant points in my life -- when I broke up with my girlfriend, or struggling to hang onto my spiritual faith -- when I was laying on my back, staring at clouds in a blue sky, and thinking, "Man."

Truthfully, I always found it rather annoying. Why couldn't I have a vision of natural beauty when I'm, like, able to relax and enjoy it? Why does the world have to get so distractingly beautiful when I have no time whatsoever to linger on it? It almost seemed like God was taunting me.

Why, indeed? What's going on here?

My guess is that, in times of ego expansiveness, we are too focused on our selves and our illusory security to really notice what's going on around us. It takes a period of ego-contraction, of humiliation, to make us aware of anything beyond ourselves. It probably doesn't hurt that you're head has stopped; all the emotional intensity of dynamic thinking is there, but shocked into silence.

Theologically, I keep getting pushed back into the question: "Why is suffering necessary for spiritual growth?" And, more and more, the answer keeps coming back. "Isn't it obvious? You have to die in order to live."

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