Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Samsara, Wrong Number.

I was thinking about this as an experiment. I've tried it, actually. What do you think?



Day 1-

Get up. Turn on the news, eat breakfast, read the paper, have coffee.
Go to work and listen to the news on the way.
Get to work, check email and headlines.
Work.
Talk with coworkers about politics and the war.
Work.
Eat lunch at McDonalds and hurry back to work.
Work. Think about how fucked up everything is.
Stay late because you are behind.
Drive home fast and mad. Listen to the news on the way home.
Get home, turn on TV if it isn't already on.
Eat dinner in front of TV or with TV on, talk to family about the news.
Watch news.
Drink a beer or a glass of wine or three.
Watch a movie or sitcom until you fall asleep.
Crawl into bed and have nightmare.
Get up too early and turn on the news.


Days 2 through 2,000:

Repeat.



Experiment No. 2-


Day one:

Get up too early, lay in bed. Before you do anything, think about what kind of day you want to have. Imagine that this is the very last day you'll have, and that by eleven pm you will be cooling on a slab in a green-tiled basement room somewhere. Imagine that this is a secret and you can't let anyone know. Think about this for a second. Imagine all you'll miss. Notice how all your "problems" of money, stress, job, car, etc. vanish. Notice who you want to be with one last time.

Shower. Check yourself out as you do. Skin, how good it feels. Wiggle your toes. Soap up and let the hot water run all over your bad naked self. Mmmm....

Get dressed. No TV. No radio. No newspaper.

Eat breakfast. You can have whatever you want. Eat it slowly and savor each bite. Don't talk.
Just eat and drink.

Put dishes in sink, wash them, dry them, put them away.

Kiss family members good bye and tell them you love them.

Go to work. No radio. No iPod, etc. If driving, roll down window and listen and breathe. Look around.
Smile at someone.

You may sing as loudly as you wish for as long as you wish. You may tap your toes and the steering wheel.

Go to work and really notice and greet and listen to the first five people you see. Imagine that they are going to be dead by the end of the day, too. Find out something about them you didn't know but that they've always wanted to tell someone if only someone would ask them.

Ignore email. No internet.

Take on the first task and really settle in to it. Breathe. Get it's shape and depth and width and go do exactly what it asks of you to completion.

Take a break. Walk around, get a glass of water. Go say "hi" to the boss and to someone like the guy who empties the trash- go up the chain to the top and down the chain to the bottom. Treat both people the same, that is, as if they were the most important person in your life at that moment.

Go back to work.

Lunch. Eat somewhere new and take a friend and no TV, radio, newspapers, sports talk, bullshit. Just eat in silence, or ask them questions like "What's the happiest you've ever been?" or "What's the best thing you ever did for someone?" and then listen till they are finished.

Go for a walk.

Go back to work and do what's asked of you with a grateful heart and as if it is the last, best, most important thing you'll ever do.

Drive home and watch the sunset or the nightfall and no radio, news, etc. Sing if you like.

Get home and turn off the TV. Eat dinner with family. Savor each bite, savor the faces of your loved ones gathered around you.

Go for a walk in the dark after dinner. Bring anyone who'll come with you.

Read a book for an hour and have a glass of wine unless you are an alcoholic, then have a glass of water or tea.

Listen to your family as they get ready for bed, and check in with them for the last time. Remember, you'll be dead
in an hour or so now, so really let them have your full attention. They can't catch on, only you know what's coming.
But pay attention.

Lie down in bed and look up at the ceiling and replay the day in your mind. Notice the things you did that caused pain to others or yourself, and promise yourself you'll try not to repeat those kinds of actions. Notice the things that you did that made others feel good, smile, etc. and promise you'll try to do more of those things.

Fall asleep knowing that tomorrow you will die.


Day 2 through ??


Repeat.

9 Comments:

Blogger netinous said...

heh
samsara & wheels--even those experiments are wheels, except anything to do with intention in life is wheels on a frictionful road--eventually the wheel stops spinning or the idiot rolling around behind you hits you. The second would seem most ideal, I guess, but more stressful--I try a lot to be like that, to really give my entirety to each thing I do--it's like running, though, you go for a jog but when do we stop, unless the legs cramp up or various other physical clampings I've always thought it possible to take one more step--and of course that implies it's possible to take another step further, etc--it's like that, when living like that, to think that it's possible to live even more like it's the last day & when it happens for several weeks there's a normalcy about it, which is surreal, this exertion of care and, somewhat, exposure, that becomes like breathing, an easiness that might shatter the intention in that it no longer requires the same attention & care, if that makes sense. Although the two experiments might be polar either will probably not prove completely satisfying, as is the case with the neutral zone between them, I suspect at least, especially with a mind--I'm projecting here but think this--like yours, observant, self-observant, etc--both ways are ways to place oneself in a vaccuum, as is anything, except vaccuums don't really exist as anything other than overwrought mechanizations or concoctions that are fragile to the touch.

thanks for this, though, really interesting & considered--you have a real voice & a strong one as well


take care

12:25 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

You bring up an interesting point. It's true that these are mind games just like any other mind game, and not, in the long run, any more beneficial than the escapes of drinking, drugs, tv, sex, long distance running...

Essentially anything that requires effort becomes its own
kind of failure.

But there is a 'moving toward' quality that I engage in....say the target is 'stillness' or 'non-effort' but I'm far from that so I'm still 'doing' and 'trying to do' all the time. So why not 'do' and 'try to do' things that are somehow 'closer' to the goal of doing less?

Yeah, okay, so that doesn't even make sense to me.


Another way to go at it is this- these two 'experiments' allow you to glimpse that your own actions and your own 'way of seeing' do have an effect on your perceived reality. You do 'this' for this many days, you see and feel 'that' (ie- immerse yrself in news and media and things look really bad in a little while. remove the media and focus on love and family, things look, if not better, at least different.) Do this 'other' for a while, the world changes.

so this insight leads to the tentative understanding of the possible 'malleability' of reality, at least on a personal level (all that matters?) ....


anyway.


Cool thing to wrestle with.


Thanks for your thoughts. I enjoy your input a great deal.


All the best-

Scott

6:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything that requires effort becomes its own kind of failure. Could one then say conversely: Any kind of failure requires its own effort?

And, regarding your experiement, isn't the real question: What do YOU think, Scott? Can you live every day like that? Live every day as if you were going to die?

I admire you for trying. I think it's tough to live in a constant state of bliss. To live consciously, deliberately. To take and accept responsibility for every minute of your life. You be the guru. You lead the way. You be the shining example. I'll watch you glow and maybe that will inspire me to give it a shot myself.

What's that the Indians would say before riding into battle? Today is a good day to die.

I'd like to think I have it in me to be that brave.

Thanks for making me stop and think about how I'm living my life. And why.

6:15 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Well.

You're welcome.


C'mon. Let's do it together.


yrs-

Scott

7:20 PM  
Blogger netinous said...

damnit. just wrote a tome in reply & accidentally clicked on something & it vanished.
take two.

think Tupac said in something or another, "although complicated life is only what you make it."

moving towards is understandable & pretty clear to me. think our concepts are similar but in different vocabularies--I think of "ecstasy" to your stillness--"ecstasy" for me being connection & unification, of being completely immersed in something to the point of being indistinguishable from it--I mean that everything becomes, if not one, completely inter-dependent and resonant at the same frequency, and that's my ecstasy, where it's involved in misery or elation, of being completely unified with it--this way, to me, I escape a connotated negativity by merging with it, of feeling it completely & not by constantly referencing it to other states of emotion & mind.

etc. feel like I'm babbling now.

it is a cool thing to wrestle with, especially in the light that by altering your focuses some things in which you've felt were just horrible and dragging don't seem so much anymore, as don't some of our highblown ideals--you know, "this is the right way to do something. this is what we're aiming for."

In Buddhism, zen, especially, since that was what I was involved with for a while, and even some forms of Vedantic hinduism, there is a strangeness of reconciling having the ultimate goal, satori, samsara, etc. while heading to it, since the goal itself is very likely a desire, and desires veer one from the goal. The solution is that one must already be there; that's why it's an awakening & not exactly a gradual process. The process is in transforming the mind, awareness, perception, intention, as you've shown here, and, as discussed, of course ultimately it doesn't bring you anywhere, but you are moving towards, even if your desires are perhaps pushing it further back--eyes set in the towards direction; to take these desires & actions in stride--I mean to want but not feel as if the want is a need, it passes like weather & suddenly there is nothing but sky, even one's body & thoughts.

Even if you haven't attained that I think it's useful to think of that, to think like that, at times, for practical reasons--it's calming & the only thing that can be completely even & in absolute equilibrium is that which is indivisible & omnipresent--nothingness, Brahman, the atman, whatever.

Thanks for bringing this up. Been a few years since I've really thought about it. Was involved in zen pretty heavy in college several years ago--was a philosophy student & approached it fairly well, although perhaps too curiously and analytically.

7:32 PM  
Blogger netinous said...

damnit. just wrote a tome in reply & accidentally clicked on something & it vanished.
take two.

think Tupac said in something or another, "although complicated life is only what you make it."

moving towards is understandable & pretty clear to me. think our concepts are similar but in different vocabularies--I think of "ecstasy" to your stillness--"ecstasy" for me being connection & unification, of being completely immersed in something to the point of being indistinguishable from it--I mean that everything becomes, if not one, completely inter-dependent and resonant at the same frequency, and that's my ecstasy, where it's involved in misery or elation, of being completely unified with it--this way, to me, I escape a connotated negativity by merging with it, of feeling it completely & not by constantly referencing it to other states of emotion & mind.

etc. feel like I'm babbling now.

it is a cool thing to wrestle with, especially in the light that by altering your focuses some things in which you've felt were just horrible and dragging don't seem so much anymore, as don't some of our highblown ideals--you know, "this is the right way to do something. this is what we're aiming for."

In Buddhism, zen, especially, since that was what I was involved with for a while, and even some forms of Vedantic hinduism, there is a strangeness of reconciling having the ultimate goal, satori, samsara, etc. while heading to it, since the goal itself is very likely a desire, and desires veer one from the goal. The solution is that one must already be there; that's why it's an awakening & not exactly a gradual process. The process is in transforming the mind, awareness, perception, intention, as you've shown here, and, as discussed, of course ultimately it doesn't bring you anywhere, but you are moving towards, even if your desires are perhaps pushing it further back--eyes set in the towards direction; to take these desires & actions in stride--I mean to want but not feel as if the want is a need, it passes like weather & suddenly there is nothing but sky, even one's body & thoughts.

Even if you haven't attained that I think it's useful to think of that, to think like that, at times, for practical reasons--it's calming & the only thing that can be completely even & in absolute equilibrium is that which is indivisible & omnipresent--nothingness, Brahman, the atman, whatever.

Thanks for bringing this up. Been a few years since I've really thought about it. Was involved in zen pretty heavy in college several years ago--was a philosophy student & approached it fairly well, although perhaps too curiously and analytically.

7:32 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Well, yes, there is an inherent contradiction in trying not to try, in moving towards stillness, etc. It beats me what I'm up to ultimately, but I know that these explorations help me to be better to myself, to be more simply myself...the idea that there are these dualities we exist with on this plane (the only one we really have consistent access to) and that we make room for them at the same time that we might 'nudge' against them to try to achieve a slightly better symmetry...well, it makes some things easier to handle for me.

I'm happy to be bouncing these ideas around with you.

Thanks.


Scott

7:45 PM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Yes.

10:20 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

You really are exploring!


I'm glad of it.


yr new friend-

Scott

5:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home