Nah, you know, rewind, all the way back. All the way back, lad.
What should be in your life?
Well, this should be Spanish and Writing, yes? Any kind of Spanish, any kind of writing. This has been totally out of wack since I've been sick and stressed over the holiday work surge. I shouldn't need an especially compelling book to make this happen. I need markers, milestones. I need to get my kindle reading going. Perez-Reverte's history of the Civil War, (or the one he refers to?) would be an excellent choice. History in general, if available. Profitable reading that doesn't have to be literary.
In any case: there should be a minimum of two hours' Spanish work daily. Get real about this, Dale. A hour and a half of hard reading with vocabulary building, half an hour of listening to videos. See how that goes: see if the tempo accelerates. I think it will: but record the time. And make yourself really do the listening. Use your earbuds and just do it. The half-assed stuff really doesn't cut it. Do you think you're going to live forever?
I'm getting ready to retire, in my mind, which means it's probably a damn sight closer than I presently know or understand. Eight years from now is the longest timeline. Think some more about this. Think about the transitions. Think about whether a three- or four-day work week would make sense, after the end of the year. All that. A lot to think about here, actually.
Right now this absorbs a lot of "soft" time -- social media "checking in" that I think is pretty low-nourishment for the amount of time spent, and has lots and lots of negative side-effects. A lot of these habits were set when I was low-level prowling for flirtation prospects all the time, honestly; and I don't need that shit any more. Maybe less of open facebook, more of closed-group... something? This bears a lot of serious thinking.
The exercise, really, feels like its stable and handled, or will be anyway when I get over this damn cold. Daily back exercises, three workouts per week, five walks to and from the train per week. Done. Handled.
what's it for?
So really -- it's handled, all handled, except for: what the hell is it all for? What is this life? I mean, you have to fill in the days, one way or another, and this is one way. But might another way be better? And how would I know? I'm beginning to feel that I need a... vision quest? A psilocybin trip? An intense artistic imagination? The pieces must all be here, somewhere in this fluctuating chaos of a mind. How to locate them, to order them, so that in moments of bewilderment or dread I can get my bearings?
My Buddhism didn't so much collapse, as fade. I didn't really want to be wired in to a group and lodged in an institution. I didn't want this -- this heart center -- to be muddied with wanting to please and impress people. I wanted it to be a different kind of thing than that. No disrespect to people who find that helpful. You use what works. But for me... I think of Prince Andrei, murmuring, "this life... this life is not to my taste."
Of course, one crossway is the Christian, or Deist, one, which frames the question -- disingenuously but sometimes fruitfully -- as, "what does God want me to do?" As if that was something a creature could usefully discern! And as if you could actually do anything else. But we are wired that way, partly: wired to look to the Big Man and fret about whether we're pleasing Him. Another of those things: you use what works, and no disrespect. I don't think that one is going to work for me either, though. I want truth, or as close to the truth as this poor mortal can cut.
The mushrooms, if they worked, could be a shortcut. But they could only work, really, if the stuff is all here in my mind already. Whatever can be imagin'd, said Mr Blake: and he should know. As Martha said, what's available by way of mushroom should be available by way of meditation. It's just that you'd have to walk rather than drive. And what has my life of the past three years been, but a continual demonstration that driving is actually slower, more expensive, and more roundabout? You end up serving the car, not the trip. There's more enterprise / In walking naked.
Walking naked: the dream of the Puritan. No priest; no middleman; just you and God, face to face on the blasted heath. (Heh. As if anyone could keep their feet in the gale.)
But enough: the grandiosity doesn't serve, either. All it has to be is the discipline of turning. Even with your eyes closed, you know where the sun is, and you can turn towards it.
But, but, but -- and here is where the Buddhists can really help me -- it ain't worth a damn if it ain't a practice. Turning toward the sun once a year, because you're stressed out by work or by Christmastime, just means you turn toward the sun thirty times -- or more accurately, you imagine turning toward the sun thirty times -- before you pop into your pine box for your nice refreshing nap. Is that the program? If so, then gluttony might be a more rewarding one.
This -- this, what I'm doing right now, tippety-tappety, hunched over a keyboard at dawn; a skinny-fat virus-ridden old man with his head thrust forward at an unattractive angle, his face lit ghastly blue from beneath -- this is maybe the half of it. Bring myself back, reel myself in, tease myself into remembrance with bucking and prancing words. Because eventually the sun comes up. And eventually, you -- even you, Favier, even you -- can be brought to remember: Oh yeah. I need to turn toward the sun. I need to close my eyes and do this thing. Like, now: not next year, not next month, not tomorrow. Now.