I’ve determined to try an experiment: to write (and publish) something every day for a year. This possibly foolhardy undertaking was inspired by two members of a writing group I recently joined. The practice doesn’t seem to have driven them crazy, although it’s possible I just don’t know them that well yet.

My second resolution is to aim at being happy no matter what happens. It’s a flimsy kind of happiness that’s contingent on everything going well, because it can’t always–that’s a law of life. But I believe in a happiness that lives its life independent of circumstance, and I’m curious about this kind. The poet Paul Eluard wrote, “There is another world, and it is inside this one.”

Finally, I want to study the nature of fear and how it works in my mind and life. The other day, this thought came to me: Once a person begins giving in to fear, there’s no end to it. The Zen ancestor Bodhidharma commented,

It’s as if there were someone who painted dragons and tigers with his own hand and yet, upon looking at them, became frightened. Deluded people are also like this. The brush of thought…paints razor mountains and sword forests, and yet it is thought…that fears them.

 Enough said for now. More tomorrow.

Happy new year!

6 thoughts on “Resolved:

  1. That’s funny…I considered attending the same party, but was convinced that both the Super Bowl Room and the Puzzle Room would feel to me like hell! Honestly, I think life is a kind of purgatory, in the sense of a place that’s not black-and-white, and where so much is unknown. A lot of what I’d call “spiritual work” is trying to make peace with that fact. And enjoy the bumbling around as much as we can!

  2. Super Bowl night I was at a party where a special room was set up with table and chairs for people who are not interested in the game to work on jigsaw puzzles. Puzzles are not my thing but I went in to visit.

    There on the table were a million puzzle pieces in the most obscure shapes I have ever seen. I thought I was in Purgatory. The women ‘s enthusiasm was palpable. “What ‘s the picture of”, I asked. “We don’t know yet”, was the enthusiastic reply. Now I knew I was in Purgatory and left.

    Later that night I went back to see if any progress had been made. To my eyes very little had been. When I commented there was no way that the puzzle could get done that night no one seemed alarmed. I was told, “Of course not.” “Well”, I thought, “what’s the point then”.

    It’s like a monk’s sand painting I was told. Only instead of blowing away it would be swept away, off the table into the box. The point I found out was the fun they were having while doing it.

  3. I love your description of how the “happiness beyond what happens” feels, Peiwei: the “deep sense of contentment or acceptance about where we are – no matter what happens, and we embrace it with spaciousness, grace and a deep certainty.” We were talking the other evening about how important it is where we locate our sense of certainty — in external events/other people’s opinions vs. within ourselves. To me the two kinds of happiness mirror this distinction: one dependent on outer events, the other more internally anchored.

    Your friend’s distinction between emotion and feeling is intriguing too — I’ve never heard that expressed before. I think the feeling world is what we connect with during long meditations, after thoughts and their resulting emotions have worn themselves out and our minds quiet a little.

    So you’re talking about both a place and a time: the place is our inner world, and the time is now.

  4. I really like how you critiqued and reconfigured the notion of “happiness” – often perceived as a state when all ingredients in life harmonized like an orchestra. This probably happens here and there but it seems to be always fleeting, and then it becomes a target on the horizon for us to chase after – we are not living the life that we have in the moment. The happiness you described feels like a deep sense of content or acceptance about where we are – no matter what happens, and we embrace it with spaciousness, grace and a deep certainty. It is a place without strong emotional reactivity but calmness and clarity. This gets me think about the difference between emotion and feeling. I remember discussing this with a friend and he came up with an insightful distinction between the two: emotion is an reaction to a thought that is either about the future or the past (as always); feeling instead is an intuitive connection to that “another world” inside this one – the quote from Paul Eluard. It’s an unconditioned relationship with our self, the true self that is beyond our limited individual mind. And yes, happiness in this place feels wonderful. Let’s work on it together 🙂

  5. In defense of my state of mind and its relation to my daily writing…I was crazy long before I started my Morning Muse…I see it more as an outcome rather than a cause! Just sayin’. Keep writing!

    • Thanks for the clarification, Tom! This cause-and-effect stuff…very tricky 🙂 Write on!

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