Monday Aphorism: Close to Tears

Today, close to tears, I mourn my self that life is not the panacea I seem to have had in mind…for today. Little space in which to ply hard-won skills, I am forced to ask for favors, instead of getting fair-market value in a market for which there is no obvious demand.

Favors: bribes upon my character; psychic debt; stinging loss of integrity’s feathers and petals. My man-child’s leg crumpled beneath him: knee bent out of dimension, requiring repair. ‘They know what they’re doing,’ we’re told. ‘Do they know what they’re doing?’ – we ask.

Time will tell. Youth’s aches, temporary, remarkably self-healing, can be rubbed away with an ease that surprises.

Do they know what they’re doing?

We repress the question, but it asks itself in the midst of night’s dreams and wakefulness.

Today, close to tears, sitting here, waiting for…tomorrow?

  • Dennis

    Or, not waiting at all, but to embrace the pain as if it is a part of what you call the ‘self.’ Taste it. Observe how it has no center; how it really doesn’t exist other than being a movement of sensation…

    I finished your book, Harvey. There were a few ‘musings’ or ‘aphorisms’ that resonated with me.

    One bone to pick though: You say–“Zen buddhism attempts to concentrate and to focus all our being in each moment, to background, even deny history and our earthy existence”

    Yes, as a buddhist, embrace the moment is truly the apex of ‘buddhist enlightenment.’ However, nothing is denied–history is never denied, it is just that it has no ontological setting, so why hold on to it? It doesn’t mean we negate what has happened but only to love the Now as that is all there is, and all there ever will be. The only traces of the past is in our habits, our memories, our energy, but these manifest only in the Now, the present, the ever-changing-unchanging IS.

    Nor do we deny earthly existence. The earth is loved as it if a mirror reflection of you. It is you and you are it. Take it from the Upanishads: Tat Tvam Asi, which translates—-“I am the world!” :)

  • Dennis

    Or, not waiting at all, but to embrace the pain as if it is a part of what you call the ‘self.’ Taste it. Observe how it has no center; how it really doesn’t exist other than being a movement of sensation…

    I finished your book, Harvey. There were a few ‘musings’ or ‘aphorisms’ that resonated with me.

    One bone to pick though: You say–“Zen buddhism attempts to concentrate and to focus all our being in each moment, to background, even deny history and our earthy existence”

    Yes, as a buddhist, embrace the moment is truly the apex of ‘buddhist enlightenment.’ However, nothing is denied–history is never denied, it is just that it has no ontological setting, so why hold on to it? It doesn’t mean we negate what has happened but only to love the Now as that is all there is, and all there ever will be. The only traces of the past is in our habits, our memories, our energy, but these manifest only in the Now, the present, the ever-changing-unchanging IS.

    Nor do we deny earthly existence. The earth is loved as it if a mirror reflection of you. It is you and you are it. Take it from the Upanishads: Tat Tvam Asi, which translates—-“I am the world!” :)

  • Harvey

    Yeah…but: some pain, redone, can be glorious in its rethinking or new expression; or most painful that I couldn’t let it go…or it couldn’t let me go.

    I enjoy your critique of my “use” or description of “Zen Buddhism” – since writing this many years ago, I have studied meditation, study and practice hatha yoga, and (think, believe, hope) I understand “Zen” and myself…increasingly.

  • Dennis

    Yeah, it is a very misconstrued practice. People often want to conceptualize or analyze it without having done the practice, or, merely use discursive thought to explore it as if it is a belief system. My meditation instructor always says, “Never believe anything you think!” Learning is a process of trial and error–the Gibsonian viewpoint that I love so much–because I never know what I am doing but I am always committed in the moment to whatever decision I make. If it is sustainable, then, by all means I’ll continue the art of perfecting that skill; if not, then I let it go like a bad habit. Or, at least, I try.

    I really appreciated you bringing up the Buddha in today’s lecture. I think it’s important for people to realize how society needs people to take responsibility–something that has been lost in Western Philosophy. The Buddha was very much into this notion of people learning to develop the skills necessary for making the world a better place (the Mahayana tradition is committed to cultivating such a person–the Bodhissatva). As you can probably tell, this whole talk is encroaching upon what my paper will be in this class.

    Finally I can say people aren’t seeing Buddhism as a religion nor as a politically passive practice. Perhaps in the Theraveda lineage, there has been a tendency to focus more on one’s spiritual enlightenment than the Other, but this has definitely changed since the rise of Tibetan (and Zen, too) Buddhism where the focus is on the Other’s enlightenment (many Tibetans will call this invoking of compassion the third vehicle). What I hope to do in this life time is to bring out another vehicle, the fourth vehicle–Western Buddhism (which is already on its way, I think!) whereby the practice is geared towards brewing individuals of God, to use Sri Aurobindo’s term, that specialize in spiritual, intellectual, and political enlightment, where the process of change is not on any particular path but for the greater good of humanity. This means positive change in every realm, and not just the spiritual. It is just that the spiritual practice really gives that ability to make this possible as it is a great instrument or tool in invoking compassion, strength, and happiness. At any rate, you’ll learn more about this when I write my paper.

  • Dennis

    Yeah, it is a very misconstrued practice. People often want to conceptualize or analyze it without having done the practice, or, merely use discursive thought to explore it as if it is a belief system. My meditation instructor always says, “Never believe anything you think!” Learning is a process of trial and error–the Gibsonian viewpoint that I love so much–because I never know what I am doing but I am always committed in the moment to whatever decision I make. If it is sustainable, then, by all means I’ll continue the art of perfecting that skill; if not, then I let it go like a bad habit. Or, at least, I try.

    I really appreciated you bringing up the Buddha in today’s lecture. I think it’s important for people to realize how society needs people to take responsibility–something that has been lost in Western Philosophy. The Buddha was very much into this notion of people learning to develop the skills necessary for making the world a better place (the Mahayana tradition is committed to cultivating such a person–the Bodhissatva). As you can probably tell, this whole talk is encroaching upon what my paper will be in this class.

    Finally I can say people aren’t seeing Buddhism as a religion nor as a politically passive practice. Perhaps in the Theraveda lineage, there has been a tendency to focus more on one’s spiritual enlightenment than the Other, but this has definitely changed since the rise of Tibetan (and Zen, too) Buddhism where the focus is on the Other’s enlightenment (many Tibetans will call this invoking of compassion the third vehicle). What I hope to do in this life time is to bring out another vehicle, the fourth vehicle–Western Buddhism (which is already on its way, I think!) whereby the practice is geared towards brewing individuals of God, to use Sri Aurobindo’s term, that specialize in spiritual, intellectual, and political enlightment, where the process of change is not on any particular path but for the greater good of humanity. This means positive change in every realm, and not just the spiritual. It is just that the spiritual practice really gives that ability to make this possible as it is a great instrument or tool in invoking compassion, strength, and happiness. At any rate, you’ll learn more about this when I write my paper.