Trying to formulate a way to relate this concept: I wasn’t ready to truly experience Armchair Zen 20 years ago. Maybe I should say I thought I was trying to live a type of zen life, but it was more like boot camp. I was doing drills and following directions though I had no sub-conscious competence. Still, my mind and focus were filled with and attached to the material world, the manufactured society world, the looking-glass world humankind scurries around in.
My brain desired all the elements of ACZ. Coveted them. Fought for them. Judged those that would fail to desire them or stand in the way. Isn’t that ironic? To be in a fully realized state of Armchair Zen, one must put all selfish thoughts aside. One must never judge another existence in a Universe you neither control nor fully understand. Fighting is right out.
So, give me a break, and give yourself one, too, if you’re me of 20 years ago.
Controlling the money to get the thing was the myopic goal.
Forget things, and you’ll find they take a very comfortable place all around you, and you may enjoy one another without conflict.
“Keeping” “Someone” from interfering with my life, forcing me to do what I wanted not.
No one can really force you, now can they? Perhaps you may have to work to stay on your path. Perhaps you may have to abandon fear and need for control, control itself, power, worry, and predicting the future. Sure, humankind has taught you a lot, but learning to discern the subtleties between good lessons and bad is not easy.
If I do this and this and this it will equal three. Damn, why isn’t this working?
You didn’t finish primary education in a year, or college in a week or pregnancy in a day. Seeds planted yesterday just look like wet dirt. Life has a waiting game because it takes that long. Period. No reasoning, nothing deep. If you prefer to paraphrase it you could say “Because that’s how long it takes.”, or “It takes that long because it does.” or any number of catchy enlightened phrases.
Listen, in spite of popular opinion, life, for the majority of us achieving the dubious distinction of an average one, is very long, punctuated with frequent and sometimes lengthy periods of boredom, life in the trenches. Call them ruts if you choose, but work is happening in trenches. Work that needs to be done, and somebody needs to step up and do it. Work that benefits many more people inhabiting the level ground above.
I equate this time with the several decades of marrying and raising children and working jobs and all the living, breathing moments tied up in the busy work required of living and breathing. Brains are only so large, and have a limited capacity, and when you overfill them, things spill out to make room for more. Just keep breathing.
So you’re learning. You’re working towards something. You’re discovering something. (Ready or not. Discoveries can come at the most surprising and sometimes inopportune times.) You’re gardening in your head and caring for all the little sprouts and trying to deduce which are weeds and which are glorious flowers.
How will you know when you’re ready? Well, I think different areas will be ready at different times.
One year you’ll be ready to fully realize the relation of possessions to our lives. Valuable, but fleeting and not truly important.
One year you’ll let yourself be lost in the magical inebriation that is great wonder. Once it starts, it grows increasingly more encompassing, like a ringlet on water.
One year you’ll fully realize forgiveness when you catch yourself being forgiving.
First you will understand how to forgive everyone else.
Ultimately you’ll realize that without judgement, there is nothing to be forgiven, and that goes for you, too.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.
In the meantime, cut yourself some slack. You weren’t expected to do algebra in kindergarten, were you?
Okay, okay. You’re not required to live a peaceful life in harmony with the buzz of the cosmos.
You’re welcome to hang on to all that strife and worry as long as you want. Liberty. It’s your life.
Whenever you’re ready.
Be at peace, (or study for it),
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