Friday, January 21, 2011

Writing up blind alleys

"Love tells me I am everything. Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Between the two, my life flows." Nisargadatta Maharaj (an Indian guru, from what I can tell)

I heard this quote on a podcast recently and loved it. Living is about being in tension between many paradoxes. That's what makes it so interesting. Balance seems to be of great importance, finding the middle way.

Seeing the comments on my previous blog post made me reflect on how blind I am, as a writer, to others' reactions. Rereading that post, it was just another rambling reflection traveling a twisted path with lots of blind alleys. Yet it apparently expressed some human quality that was felt and reacted to by others. I'm going to give Henry James the credit, for his beautifully perceptive story that I invited into my blog in extremely summarized form. Its spirit came and infused the post with something extra. I'll have to include quotes by brilliant people as often as possible, to invite the spirits of these great ones to hang out here and share a little of their awesomeness!

I think every writer has this problem of figuring out what the reader will think. (Tell me if you agree, fellow bloggers.) We have absolutely no idea. We only can gauge by our own interest and reaction. Yet, some people churn out really dull stuff which they seem to find endlessly fascinating. I have no way of knowing if I'm one of those people! I know I find my own posts to be of deep and profound interest, to me. At least I'm not totally boring myself with what I write! I think that would be a terminal sign.

On another gander (that's another word for ramble, folks) ... The first week of tax season is over, and I worked 48 hours. This is the most I've ever put in at any job in a week, yet it's not much compared to what a lot of other people do year-round. From what I have heard from others trying to make it in this economic downturn, 70 hours/wk is the new 50.

I am beginning to realize that the stress of my previous job has left me (perhaps to be replaced with new and improved stresses in the future!). The work itself was not intellectually challenging. However, the workload was more than could be done in the hours I was working, and that was a constant source of stress because I simply could not do a top-notch job.

Now, my new job is much deeper intellectually, but the most important thing is to do a high-quality, careful and thoughtful job. No problem! That's where my inclinations lie anyway. We'll see how the time-crunch aspect progresses heading toward March and April.

I feel very fortunate to have a boss who is really concerned about me. I don't want to say more now and spoil the mood. We'll see where things are in another 12 weeks or so.

One more thing I wanted to reflect on, a topic I've visited before, is why I go to church. Sometimes it seems such a faint reflection of the spirit actually makes it inside church doors! And there can be so much human strife within the church that threatens to snuff out even that faint light. I am disappointed that we are not much more service-oriented and socially activist in mainstream Protestant churches, and I blame the American way of devoting too much for material goals, and for the cult of family, while neglecting the community and completely ignoring the wider world.

Even with these many drawbacks, there is such a deep spiritual hunger and yearning, inside me, and it must be fed somewhere. So I feed it at church. I do have moments of feeling a real communion with others, and experiencing the spirit that way. Probably I feel this just about every Sunday, so that's reassuring.

So much rides on our really faulty perception, as well. If we dwell on the apparent negative, it overwhelms everything else. Given that what we experience is largely illusory, why not seek the great beauty and wonder of life, and rejoice in that.

Another reason I go to church is that I find it's difficult to experience a higher spiritual dimension alone. Thus the saying, "When two or more are gathered in my name, there I am among them." All people have a profound influence on those around them, for good or bad, so we must try to be good influences and not be negatively impacted by others. It helps to find a supportive and uplifting community.

In a number of religious traditions, the most spiritually advanced members withdraw from society, go climb the proverbial (or actual) mountain, and live their ultra-devoted lives as isolated hermits. I don't think we are all called to react the same way to our spiritual drives, by the way, so it is fitting that some people choose this way to respond.

But in this hurting world, it is very important to share the light of awareness with other people, in the simplest ways, on a daily basis. That is what I earnestly try to do here, with my audience of at least three! (Four counting me) So I keep practicing.

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