A Life of Contemplation

Lately, I’ve been thinking what it’d be like to go off someplace where I could live more simply; someplace away from the distractions of the ever-depressing news of the day and the energy sapping ego conflicts of the workplace.

I could spend my days contemplating the inherent nature of existence; I could immerse myself in the eternal flow of life.  I would find my center and be at one with all things.  You know, like St. Anthony (the ascetic) did.

For nearly forty years Anthony lived a hermetic existence in the desert existing on the rare crust of bread offered him by passing pilgrims.  He rid himself of all desires of the flesh in the belief that through asceticism ultimate truth would be revealed to him.

There was one night, though, when hedonistic desires descended upon him like a torrential downpour.  He wanted, wanted, wanted: good food, good drink and women of any sort.  All night he suffered.  He fought back with every ounce of his energy.  When morning finally came Anthony was spent from the night’s exertions but was also strengthened in the knowledge he could overcome temptation.  His resignation was renewed, but with it, the fear of even greater tests to come.

I’m really not too worried about this happening to me.  Food and drink aren’t important to a doll and I’m really not that into primal urges.The Temptation of St. Anthony 3

Born Again

For me, I don’t think there’s anything as energizing as the onset of spring.  As the temperature becomes mild, the birds began to sing and the crocuses began to appear I feel my spirits lift.  There’s a sense of rebirth in the air; life reappears after months of dormancy.  In some ways it’s like a religious experience.

My friend Pearl said this idea reminded her of an experience she had while attending a revival meeting a while ago.  She said the evangelist told the congregation that life was suffering because of the guilt of their sins and the only way to overcome the depths of despair, the fear and trembling of existence was to leap into faith and be born again.

Pearl thought about this awhile but being a bit of a skeptic and seeing rebirth wasn’t in her plans for the evening, she decided to pass on the leap and just deal with the despair and absurdity of human existence the best she could.

Well, all I can say is if our existence is essentially despairing and absurd then why do I have spring fever?


Playing the Game

Imac girl was visiting the other day.  She’s quite attractive; you’d never know she was a computer if it wasn’t for the USB port below her left ear.  We were having a game of Chess; when she plugs in a flash drive she is a very good player.  I guess what makes her so good is her ability to consider all possible moves.  I still don’t understand how she can know which move is best but it must have to do with strategic positioning; she’ll always move in a way to maximize the preferred end result, which is capturing the King.

It’s sort of like the way determinists think about human actions: everyone is conditioned to act in such a way as to maximize survival in the world.

But, what if the ultimate goal was different? In fact, what if there was no ultimate goal?  What if, instead of survival instinct or desire to capture the King, the focus was on the process: of performing aesthetically; of achieving an ongoing beauty in action.  That would mean imac girl and I would have free will to act in ways we would consider of greatest worth in our relation to each other and our worlds.

Boy, that would really change the game.

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Return of the Goddess

While at the library the other day I happened on a book about the origins of religion. In it I read that many early gods were not gods at all but rather goddesses.  There were pictures of numerous pre-historic goddess figures, an image of the Egyptian cow goddess Hathor and many more from various cultures around the world.

The text went on to say that these early nature oriented peoples recognized the relationship between a woman’s reproductive cycle and the phases of the moon upon which they determined their agricultural activities: planting, harvesting and such and from this associated a certain super-natural aspect with womankind.

I guess overtime woman has lost some of her magical association.  But, when I think about it there are still women out there who continue to radiate goddess-like qualities.  Lady Gaga, Madonna and Sinead  O’Connor all seem to think quite a lot about religion.

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Revisiting the Magic Dragon

I was visiting with Granny Applehead the other day.  She was telling me about being a flower child back in the day: the communal living, free love and days of care-free frolic under the influence of the magic herb.  The way she tells it there was such optimism then, a sense of unlimited potential in overcoming the materialistic trappings of her parents’ generation.  I don’t know if she was remembering accurately but the memories certainly were pleasant for her.

Granny’s not getting along quite as well as she used to; her knees are stiffening up and her face is starting to mold.  She thinks it will soon be time to move someplace where she can get help with her basic needs.  Well, at least she won’t be lonely; being a baby-boomer she’ll have lots of company.

She seemed pleased when I told her the government appeared to be easing restrictions on marijuana use and possession.  Wouldn’t it be nice, with all these seniors moving toward assisted living, if we could provide a special brownie with their afternoon tea?  Then they could revisit the magic dragon during their afternoon naps.vision serpent3

Belief is truth to the Believer

Boy, it’s really hard to know what to believe these days.  I read in a news magazine my hero, Mr. Rogers, was a former Navy Seal with twenty five confirmed sniper kills during the war in Viet Nam; truly mind-boggling.  But, then I went on line looking for details and found out that the story wasn’t true, that it was just an urban legend.

I got to thinking that the safest thing to do is doubt everything, but my friend told me that it’s impossible: to be skeptical of everything is to be skeptical of being skeptical which is a logical contradiction. (I guess he didn’t know about Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem).

My friend said I should have faith that some things are true, that belief is truth to the believer. I guess people with a strong religious faith believe God is truth and that when they’re in doubt they can ask God to direct them, which means they have a way of communicating with a supernatural entity.  I don’t doubt their sincerity but judging from the variety of interpretations different people have for the Biblical texts I wonder if they’re all talking to the same Being.

Well, maybe it’s just that wires get crossed sometimes.

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Nothing new under the sun

I was reading Ecclesiastes the other day.  One verse says: ‘what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.’  The whole book is about the meaninglessness of life.

From the other side of the aisle, Nietzsche says in an infinite universe with no God to direct it, the finite experiences of human existence must necessarily repeat themselves eternally; over and over and over……….

Seems pretty depressing to think there can never be anything new and fresh.  Still, the other day I was having a conversation with my alter ego, the daring flamboyant me who’s always trying to get me to push my limits, to step beyond my comfort zone.  Daring me convinced shy, reserved me to accept an invitation to tell my story to an auditorium full of junior high students.  When the time came I was petrified but somehow made it through.  They even applauded and I felt pretty good about it in the end.  It gave me a new found confidence.

Still, I don’t see it happening again.  I know my true nature and I’m not talking to her any more.

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Looking for work

It’s time I found a job.  The bills are piling up, the rent is coming due, the cupboards are a bit bare and heaven knows I could use another dress.  I need to step up, display some confidence in my natural talents.  It’s not everyone who can pass for animate and inanimate.  I remember, during my childhood, performing, or rather not performing, for the neighborhood children; they always seemed satisfied with the silent, stoic persona I offered.  Maybe some sort of acting; I just need to find the right fit; A job with lots of variety, excitement and opportunities for advancement; and of course, health insurance.At the Fair 3

In need of a spiritual lift……………

Today I really feel like I need a spiritual lift but I’m not sure which direction to take.  The disciplined approach appeals somewhat; maybe a Yogic immersion.  I could get a  CD but maybe it would be better to join a group.  Others around me of like mind might provide inspiration.

The ancient mystics figured it out for themselves through Gnostic readings and maybe a bit of self-imposed deprivation.  I’ve got a copy of the Zohar around somewhere and I really don’t eat much anyway.

Or, perhaps I should seek the right path through the gift of Grace.  Someone wrote, Kierkegaard I think, that all I would need to do is take the leap into faith and embrace the great paradox. I guess he meant believing in a logical absurdity.

It may be that the best path is through one of the great traditions.  The Catholics have some wonderful liturgies; the Hindu pantheon is incredibly compelling in all its literary and visual manifestations and one can’t ignore the Buddha’s relentless pursuit of Nirvana.

Maybe I’ll just go for a walk.with the Hari krishna 3

Evil me

Are you ever inclined to do something you know you shouldn’t?  It’s not like you’re afraid of reprisal or that you desire retribution but something else; some sort of primal impulse, as if you had an evil you within demanding to be released.

Well, the other day I met these Lego people; they were so docile and friendly.  They always had smiles on their faces.  I spent some time with them and I don’t know what it was, maybe it didn’t seem reasonable to me that they should be so worry free all the time, but my dark side emerged.  Once I realized how flexible these folks were I started removing parts.  I pulled the arms off of Fred and attached them to his feet; I put Veronica’s head under John’s left leg.  I found myself engaged in frenzied activity; body parts were everywhere.  Gradually I regained partial control and stopped, but evil me couldn’t resist hiding a ways away to watch them.

I know it was a horrible thing to do but it really didn’t turn out so bad in the end.  They all were able to obtain fairly well paying jobs with a traveling circus.

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