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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Monday, June 11, 2012

life and the universe...

    "Even if you're feeling optimistic now, you must still handle issues that can bring you into direct opposition with a formidable opponent. Although you are prepared for battle, you might secretly wish you could just walk away. It seems as if your life has become a series of powerful transformations. You are not who you once were, yet you're not the person you are still becoming. Nevertheless, take it easy even in the midst of conflict, for real change takes time to unfold."

For some reason today's horoscope struck home; Rick Levin seems more in tune than most--and it put me in mind of EST (Erhard Seminar Training) that I participated in back in the mid 70's. There was a saying at the end like: 'what it is' or 'it is' that could be reversed.. I looked it up but couldn't find the exact wording...every participant was given a little booklet at the end of the seminar and there was this whole thing about whether you 'got it" or not. I remember feeling bewildered and kind of spacey at the end--did I get it? I didn't know. Here is Alan Watts essay that describes 'it':
"To the individual thus enlightened it appears as a vivid and overwhelming certainty that the universe, precisely as it is at this moment, as a whole and in every one of its parts, is so completely right as to need no explanation or justification beyond what it simply is....the mind is so wonder-struck at the self-evident and self-sufficient fitness of things as they are, including what would ordinarily be thought the very worst, that it cannot find any word strong enough to express the perfection and beauty of the experience...The central core of the experience seems to be the conviction, or insight, that the immediate now, whatever its nature, is the goal and fulfillment of all living."
I truly want to believe these words. 

I remember a conversation I had with my brother many years ago about Buddhism. He had a misconception, in my opinion, of the attitudes which are as stated above. To him it seemed an excuse to not do anything about the problems we face as human beings on this planet. He thought of it as supremely selfish. Since then he has changed his mind but what he said made me think about things a bit more...if I accept that everything is exactly as it should be then how do I deal with politics, hunger, the homeless, cruelty and on and on and on? The answer I've come up with is about attachment, one of the most important concepts of Buddhism. If some issue that bothers me arrives in my path, I do what feels correct in the moment. I know I don't have the power to fix anything. And my anger and frustration only hurt myself. I can do what I can to help without agonizing over it. Do it and then put one's mind on something else or nothing, in the case of a Buddhist monk. Easy words to say. 

Living away from town with a view of mountains that have been here for god-knows-how-long, helps. We no longer have cable or a newspaper. I can't find my liberal talk shows on the radio...I know that Thom Hartman can be found on the internet but so far I've chosen not to listen. When I drive somewhere I turn on NPR just to find out what's happening and mostly I end up turning it off.

This approach to life can be applied to writing and marketing as well as anything else. Do what's necessary in the moment and then let it go. I think we humans have very little idea about how the universe really works. We are so small, like ants down here. Our minds are capable of so much more and yet we use a fraction of our brain cells. I could go on with this thought but I'll save it for another day...


  1. Nikki,

    Not sure what "it" is either. There are some things I can do, though.

    I can quit treating myself as two people. If that sentence didn't stop you, then you didn't get my point. As per Alan Watts, I cannot treat myself, just as my index finger cannot point at itself, your eyeball can't see itself. We violate this concept all the time.

    Step one: act like there is only one of you.

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  3. hmm...not sure I get your point, Dane. Are you referring to the 'it' in Est or the 'it' Alan Watts talks about? Two people? I may not be smart enough to get what you're saying--just exploring my own limited thoughts on the subject...

  4. Do what's necessary in the moment and then let it go. Thanks for that, Nikki

  5. Thanks for reading, Mike. Hey, did you hear about the ancient site uncovered in Monmouth? That is where you live, isn't it? Fascinating stuff.