One breath; one breath at time.
A breath-on-breath is all we get,
and you cannot take it with you
What use are our whirling activities, puffed up ambitions and noisy anxieties?
They are as empty as hollowness
People live and die, epochs come and go,
while historical patterns perpetuate their lessons
False optimism expands, explodes and returns to reality
Breezy enthusiasm blows in, rushes past, and fades out
Fluid thoughts drift through, are interrupted, and then go back to old pre-occupations
Endless emotions entangle with insistent insecurities
While recurring destructive patterns reiterate their devastation
North, East, West, South,
News repeats global gossip
Moods endlessly rise and fall,
on reasons to be sad, in places to feel glad
near an excuse to get mad,
knotted in dread
Fixed attitudes exercise certainty, but neglect thoughtfulness
History repeats obvious errors
What has been pronounced will be repeated
Wisdom never changes
Yet despite all this
Our resounding insecurities seldom let us stay quiet
So what’s new? Nothing!
Humane lessons were ingrained in our yesterdays,
Are entrenched in today
And will be embedded in tomorrow
Who am I to say all this?
I am someone who has started to know myself
I have opened myself to change,
exposed failed feelings
and wanted transformation
I have stopped trying to be right,
ceased seeking perfection
and rejoice in life’s ironies
But first I had to travel the world of compulsions,
and be at home with self-destruction
I saw what was going down from underneath,
denied, evaded, minimized and trivialized goodness
until I broke
I manipulated affections,
I taunted affliction, enjoyed decline, perpetuated neglect,
and clung to unsurpassed abandonment
Swaggering with my misdeeds,
I was lame about what was right
Then I realized that
I couldn’t change a thing, except myself
But how could I do that?
At my wits end I tried to figure out what I knew,
but it led only to more anxiety
Numbed out, I stuffed my feelings.
I tried to cope with too many facts,
and sought material evidence
I told myself to quit beating up on myself,
What does it matter?
I told myself,
Let go, be happy
Life is just a joke—unless you take it seriously!
But I couldn’t escape into laughter
I delved into weaknesses,
craved without doubt
I tried mind-altering drugs, stupefying alcohol, and dangerous excitements
on manic highs, psyched for change.
But perpetual novelty soon got old
I became a workaholic,
commited myself to other peoples’ causes
in order to realize personal ambitions
I expressed myself in the arts,
sought satisfaction in music, poetry and performance
I went to parties, schmoozed up to anyone who might help me,
and wore designer clothes
I envied the high-life,
admired celebrities, and emulated their charming deceptions
I wanted to be in a club with those who think alike,
feel the same, and enjoy identical things
Abandoned, I balanced at the edge of wild experience,
too far out to take it in,
but all I took in was myself
and my presence shriveled
Until I realized that thoughts can make anything of anything
All my explanations were based on self-centered immaturity
I thought I was the only one who suffered,
but now I realize that to every life there is
a period when you are lost in the wilderness, and a space to find yourself
a lapse into self-hatred, and a turn toward recovery
an interlude of peevishness, and a stretch in which to mature
a point of breakdown, and a pause to heal
an interval to try new things, and the motivation to settle down
a decline into revenge, and an opening to forgiveness
a stage when you reject, and an opportunity to receive
a session for sharing, and an interest in being alone
a moment when you win, and a shift into loss
an inclination to hold on, and a realization to let go
a habit of strife, and the opportunity for peace
a regression into whims, and a condition of total commitment
a rush to compulsion, and the calm of reflection
Where does fighting it get you? We all experience these things. All the stories of the world contain reflections of normal experience. We learn mighty epics of public history in large scale, and we know their microcosms in private life! Who are we fooling if we deny the full range of normal experience? Ourselves, as usual. We fool only ourselves.
We are designed to accept serenity, yet struggle against the acceptance of our selves—the only
way to serenity!
We say we want to be happy, and ignore the patience that brings happiness
We yearn for joy, yet deny the self-honesty that creates it
We feel we have a right to bliss, and still argue with ourselves
If nothing so far has released your intrinsic happiness, why not rejoice in your own presence of life?
The presence that brought you into this world,
the life force that creates creativity itself and minds to create
the embryo of emotion that seasons into compassion
the impulse that we call God, because no other name is good enough to extol all virtue
You want to be fulfilled?
Thankfulness feeds your essence
Generosity raises assurance
Compassion grounds your faith
How do you learn this? Just go about your own business with an open mind
Your job is to go about your own business, openly.