I think that instead of committing to a single day to post my ponderable quote (since we all know how spectacularly terrible I am at sticking to an ed cal) I’m just going to post the quote sometime around the weekend…ish and call it the “weekly ponder”. Deal? On to it, then.
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, the impermanence of life and the silliness of the things we worry about. I was reading Turning the Mind into an Ally, a wonderful book on meditation by Sakyong Mipham, and he essentially says that everything changes and we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. We become attached to our notion of what will make us happy, and we believe that once we achieve this goal or acquire this thing or fix this problem everything will be good and remain good. But that’s never the case. We grasp for an illusion that, even if obtained, will not remain with us forever anyhow. We might as well accept it and go with the flow.
I guess that’s sort of me projecting my recent experience onto Bukowski’s quote. There’s more to it, though. The real idea is that, even though life is ephemeral and we’re all in the same boat, we choose to build up our petty fortresses of expectations and dissatisfactions and turn against one another in our illusory quest for permanent happiness. Our lives are consumed fighting – ourselves and others – for the things we falsely believe will make us happy forever.
So how can this quote change my behavior this week? First, I will not be derailed by the petty trials that come my way; they are small, and they will not ultimately stop me from being happy. Even once I am happy, that will change, so there’s no point in swimming against the current of life. Second, I will remember to show everyone compassion because we truly are all on the same quest, to lead happy lives in the only ways we each know how. I want to help people on that path more than hurt them.
This post is a little fragmented, I know. I’m tired and I don’t feel good and I’m not concentrating very well, but I think the idea is there. Even getting this mess of thoughts sort of organized will help me remember Bukowski’s words throughout the week. On a semi-related note, I finally got the lotus tattoo I’ve been wanting for about two years now, which will serve as a reminder to be compassionate and guide myself toward peace whenever I lose my way. Plus it’s really pretty!