Some say “love” is the greatest word they know. Others say “God”. Various words have been favorites of mine over the years, but “why” is the greatest for me. So I must ask myself, why continue posting these observations? It’s certainly not for money. Is it for fame? I actually prefer anonymity. In fact, years ago when my yoga students showed hints of ‘guru worship’, I went out of my way to discourage that. Do I just need to vent? Well, there was some of that urge early on, but I’ve pretty much said all I really need to say. So why continue?
One reason is the art and yoga (work) of it. My most intriguing observations pop into my mind during headstand, while soaking in the bath, in dreams during the night. Writing them well enough to resonate with someone else is the challenge—the yoga—of it. I don’t suppose this is any different from playwrights, for instance, who dreams up scenarios and writes plays. Posting my observations is like putting on a play… way off-Broadway, of course. Okay, that makes sense, but only so long as it makes sense. Indeed, “why” must be the deepest existentialist question of all. One I’m still asking myself.
I was searching for a question mark-like graphic (?) to go with this post. I recalled the graphic I made for my first serious attempt at writing (1976). Looking it over, I see one of the main reasons I write; I am working life out on paper, so to speak. I have thought of this as mostly just ‘reinventing the wheel’ because what I discover is simply why things have been the way they have throughout time.
Anyway, it is interesting to see how much my thoughts have changed, yet not in some fundamental ways. Toward the end I started placing a (x) when I really wished to disavow the ‘dumb’ idea I had back then, with an eye to updating it. Then I realized, what has changed over the 40 yeas is not anywhere near as important as what has remained more of less constant. Like the “thread running through the way”, what stands the test of time is worth noting. Therefore, I have left it as is, except for attempting to correct spelling.
The major change really is my flip-flop away from an advocacy of free will, and towards “mystery sameness” (a makeshift description to be sure). Still, if you are into free will, you may find the essay hits the spot, but again, keep in mind that it comes from where I was at nearly 40 years ago when I thought “A Practical Way” was just a matter of free choice.
Curiously, son Luke said my writing back then (or at least earlier) was better than now. I can’t really believe that is so as I’ve worked so hard over the last two decades to write as well as possible. Then it occurred to me that when you can really understand clearly and easily what a writer is saying, that writing would feel like it was written well, and visa versa. The “A Practical Way…” is easy to understand, very straightforward and written with a righteousness flavor and style similar to the Bhagavad Gita of which I read daily back then.
Below is this essay’s introduction to which give the flavor of my thinking back then. If you are interested to read more, download the whole essay, “A Practical Way to Eternity“. My wife says the poems in the essay are her favorite part. At least they help lighten it up and make it more digestible.
* * * * * A Practical Way to Eternity * * * * *
I wrote some poems to give delight
While reading about my spiritual plight
You’ll probably see I’m too uptight
Well, here is the Way I make it all right
I fought and thought and wound my mind too tight
Broke the mainspring and saw the light
I wrote this essay so all of you might
Also decide it’s better to put up a fight!
Most of us humans spend our whole lives finding fault with the “condition” of the world, marriage, government, job, life, and so on. We expect everyone to do the right thing and become annoyed when they don’t i.e. Nixon as president, communist repression, wife’s overspending, children’s misbehavior, worker incompetence, capitalist spoiling the environment, permissive society or too restrictive one, and so on. We insist on everyone doing their “best”.
However, when it comes to taking care of, improving, nourishing our own body and mind, of ridding ourselves of the imperfections in our own personality and life, then we all of a sudden become very tolerant of faults and laziness.
How can we ever honestly expect the outside world to be any different when we aren’t even willing to do our best for our own “inner world”. The “inner world” is one thing, the only thing, we really do have a chance to control and improve. Indeed, without the “inner world” what do you have? Death!! And those who care not for the “inner world” are living a “life in death”.
An improvement in your inner world improves the whole universe by a small degree, depending on the extent of improvement. Buddha improved his to a high degree and so had a big effect on the world. If we all did our best for our inner world, the outer world would take care of itself easily.
Therefore, we must cease blaming and finding fault with the “outer world” and do what we can for the “inner” one. I wrote this essay to help you and me towards this goal.