Tapas

Seven thirty.

If it’s like yesterday, the sun will be pretty intense today, though they forecast a few degrees lower. Right now the silence in the neighborhood is deafening. The previous day, I sat with a little book by Freud on Civilization / Discontents. The take home for me so far is the contrast between happiness and peace. There’s a big difference. The first can involve the experience of intense pleasure. But the second has more to do with quenching desires, as in the practice of certain major religions. It hits me as odd how people tend to demonize the instinctive drives, the way that Robert Louis Stevenson associates Mr Hyde with Satan and evil… A friend I used to know remarked on the people living in a Buddhist monastery. She said they’d been gutted and seemed to lack something vitally human, like a kind of living death. Her observation scared me a little, but I believe she was right. It’s probably undesirable to snuff out the flame of passion forever. Whether or not passion is evil I’m not qualified to say. But I think I pick happiness over peace because peace is too easy.

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Spring Showers

Five thirty five.

At last the dust settles and stability returns, as well as my peace of mind. Life is like the weather, a constant tradeoff of sun and showers. I was very stressed for two days. It kind of threw me off balance in a mental way, but nothing is permanent except impermanence itself. Just now the rain falls moderately from gray skies while I sit rather idly inside. It’s good to feel an absence of disturbance, and the rain is a narcotic that lulls you to peaceful reflection. Tomorrow is only Thursday: it seems like a long week already. I take a look at my maple tree in front: it hasn’t started to leaf out yet, and in general nature is quite confused. Some plants are blooming and some are still naked from the wintertime— and it was a very long winter in the Northwest. It still isn’t very springlike… I saw the mail carrier bring a package to Roger’s front door but evidently the books I ordered are still in transit from Des Moines. It’ll be nice to open the package when it arrives, hopefully before Saturday. And then I can give Gloria the neat little book, new and shrink wrapped in plastic, almost like Christmas or a birthday present. Something for Poetry Month.

The rain relents for a while as the daylight grows brighter and I sit here lazily with my iPhone. I’ve had a decent day. 

Quiet Day

Quarter after ten.

I am abominably tired this morning. There was no way I could walk a mile to church again today for service. So I stayed home except to go to the store around the bend. The clouds earlier were blue in layered bars against white sky. It rained on me a little as I arrived to market just after seven o’clock. Nothing remarkable happened, but my right foot hurt from time to time so I limped a bit. The rest of the day should go pretty quiet. I’m thinking about reading from one of my Free Press philosophy books later on. A little of that goes a long way. It’s a good thing to do on a rainy Sunday. The neighborhood is quite dormant but for the activity of wild birds. The mourning doves are always around to feed on seeds and make their cooing calls. The whole day is a wash of green and gray from the overcast skies, and not many signs of life right now. I don’t know what ideas are popular today, except Christianity never goes away in America. Is it a deficiency in morals not to believe what seems very improbable as far as physics can allow? I think it’s better to tell your truth than be an imposter, standing in the pews saying words you do not mean. 

Apparition

Quarter of anytime.

I was dreaming of having an extended moment with an Asian girl. We were sitting on the floor in an out of the way place in a building of the campus. She impressed me as very wise as well as serene and beyond even reason. She said she didn’t analyze or critique anything logically but attempted to describe it, as an artist makes a drawing or a photographer takes a picture of a subject. I explained to her how my mind is trained to understand things like a Socrates or other Apollonian thinker… The moment was enveloped in silence and tranquility, and a peace and calm that were somewhere past understanding, like the Sanskrit shanti.

Peace Tea (No Drama)

Noon thirty.

My Precision Bass, modified with the Model P pickup, sounds rather barbaric, but I won’t really know until I change the strings. Obviously I didn’t attend church yesterday. I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t. The posts I made last fall, through the end of the year, were mostly reactions against the church pastor and his medieval opinions on a lot of things. I really needed to shake it off and be free. Now that I’ve succeeded, my writing isn’t as good as when I had something to fight over. Funny how that works. Gray clouds still block the sun today, though it comes and goes as they allow. I went for the gusto this morning and bought a two liter of Coca-Cola. It isn’t doing much for me. I think I like Peace Tea better, and of course my standby Snapple. The intellectual warfare with the church is ended, clearing the way for peace, even if peace is boring. I have to find something else for stimulation, perhaps something better than petty conflict with others. A rebel without a cause must adapt to changing times. A warrior out of war, like Hotspur, will be food for worms if he doesn’t speak the language. And today the lingo seems to be pretty ordinary: no puffed up rhetoric, no personas to hide behind. People are bored with ostentation anymore. The days of self glorification are over…

Michelle

Seven twenty.

It’s Michelle’s last day at Community Market and she’s telling everybody so, and saying her goodbyes a little sadly. I asked her if she’ll be keeping in touch with someone here. She said she is friends with Deb and Cathy on Facebook, so maybe we’ll hear about her from them. Michelle told me that she appreciated me during the time she got to know me. I related to her that Suk referred to her as a very nice person. Suk is hard to read, she said, but it was nice to get that feedback from her employer.

I hear the screech of scrub jays in my front yard and one crow cawing. It is partly cloudy and was below freezing an hour ago. Misty texted me yesterday afternoon to say that I’m still stuck with her as my case manager for a while. The other person no longer works at the agency. I feel thankful for the coming spring after a long and rather difficult winter. Before I got up this morning, I dreamed about my brother, and now I’m reminded of the importance of being nonjudgmental. Usually the most critical people have bigger problems than you do. Always consider the source when a person gives you a hard time. I ran into Patty at the agency yesterday and she had forgotten my name and struggled to remember who I was, but I think she was preoccupied with other things. All in all, I feel at peace with people today. 

Peace

Nine o’clock.

At the store, a guy showed up in a green Chevy truck decked out in a complete Santa costume and went in to give Heather a candy cane. Heather didn’t know this person from Adam. She was wearing headgear with two Christmas trees on springs. I bought a Coke and more than the usual treats for Aesop. My friend on WordPress gave me an Amazon Gift Card late last night that took me by surprise. I’m thinking I’ll get myself a new set of bass strings with the money. The church gig last night went pretty well for being under rehearsed. We’re not professionals and our church is small… A small miracle I’ve noticed is that my back pain is a lot better than it was a year ago. I tend to believe that the pains I’ve had since being on my medication were side effects that came and went. So I’m not as old as I’d thought. But the medication is indispensable because without it, my interior experience would be a living hell. Thanks to modern medicine I don’t have to suffer like that. Aesop and I are spending this day alone together, and that’s fine with me. It’ll be a time of peace and quiet to hear myself think. A day of shalom. Peace that passes understanding. Shanti

Golden

Quarter after nine.

Doomsday is just ahead. What I fear the most is condemnation by people.

Wee hours of Saturday.

Friday’s big adventure is over with. Aesop is still exhausted but now we don’t have to do that again for another year. I don’t have any plans for later today; a good opportunity to relax for a day. Right now, the room is absolutely silent. Silence is golden. 

Depth Psychology

Nine o five.

Just when I think I’ve succeeded in being independent and free, I rediscover the truths of psychoanalysis. I read somewhere in Joseph Campbell that higher education is like a nurturing mother on which some students try to depend forever. Taking a step further, my obsession with books suggests a very similar thing: dependence on the mother. Now I wonder why this is. Could it be that my real mother was an inadequate parent, leaving me still needy and unprepared for life in the world? This situation can conceivably produce both schizophrenia and alcoholism in a grownup child. But psychoanalysis doesn’t indicate a prognosis and course of treatment other than mass doses of psychotherapy. It seems to me that a person who has the illness, if she is insightful, must undertake her own healing process and not rely on healthcare professionals. I guess that’s what journaling is for… I once had a copy of Symbols of Transformation by Jung, his first really independent study, marking his break with Freud. Sometimes I feel that my life experience lacks depth and quality of feeling. I’m actually torn between two directions, to climb higher or to dive deeper. This is the condition of the Capricorn sea goat, if I put any faith in the zodiac. The danger of depth psychology is getting the bends and not knowing up from down.

Ten twenty. I’m just enough of a weirdo to buy a new copy of the Jung book. As if in reply, the same smoke detector just started pipping at me again in the hallway… I’m looking into Jung because I want to, not because I was forced. Probably I shunned him for so long due to forcible indoctrination, but that’s over with and now I’m coming back around. 

Becalmed

Seven twenty.

I got up and took two ibuprofen right away. My dad’s birthday would be tomorrow. I’d like for my mind to be tidier than it is, but just accept it, I guess. I used to have a big dream of freedom for all individuals, but in practice it gets political and very tricky. Right now I’m too tired to think about it. It’s almost enough to watch the squirrels have fun in my backyard. I think Aesop wants me to go to the store. I hear some kind of sirens going on outside— speaking of freedom.

Quarter of ten. I’ve been hearing from quite a few people that I know. I’d been thinking the worst, yet such exaggeration is usually not realistic. It’s good to review the tenets of cognitive therapy when my mind gets unruly. In general, I might enjoy going back over Enlightenment thinking, and dare to know and be optimistic about knowledge. Right now the sky is powder blue and there’s no wind. A blue garbage truck just drove by my house because it’s Tuesday. By and by I’ll settle into a groove of the day. I stopped the cholesterol med five or six days ago; it had made me feel crappy, so it wasn’t worth it… I can’t seem to get my brain kickstarted today. It wants to relax and simply feel something. This wouldn’t be bad after being hyperactive for a long time. 

My mind is as motionless as the absent breeze.