My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In a Fast German Car

It has been brought to my attention that there are actually a few people who read this blog, so I am going to make an effort to update at least every few days. I would write anyway, just to stay sane, but of course I want people to read it – I’m not out to exist in a vacuum. Hell, I’ve got my ol’ Five Star composition journal for that. Pages upon pages of illegibly scribbled blathering. Not something anyone would want to read. I don’t want this blog to be a one-way conversation into the void. But most of the time, that’s what it is. I try to make each one meaningful and worth reading, so that when you’re done you don’t regret the time it took you to read it and wish you’d done something more useful and productive like whack off to internet porn or call your mother. Most blogs, after all, are just people rambling about their day with no thought of cohesion or purpose (or grammar, for god’s sake). I try to make mine a bit more polished than that. The problem, really, is this: what the hell do I have to talk about? Like anyone else, my life is rather boring most of the time. I get up and go to the bathroom and putt around my room doing this or that most of the day, eat, listen to music, etc etc ad infinitum. And these things are only really interesting to me occasionally. But if I can put some thoughts or emotions down here that transcend the mundanity of my little existence, then maybe it will have been worth your time. At least I hope so.
I guess my point is that if you feel something from what I write, I hope you’ll respond or let me know somehow. Comments or emails or whatever. It’s a vast and lonely internet, and anything is better than nothing.

Okay. Moving on.

It’s my experience that we can be told all the Great Universal Truths in the world, and until we learn them in our guts, until we come to them on our own, they’ll just bounce off us again and again. Like a song you hear so many times that it stops meaning anything. It just becomes sounds.
Moreover, we handily keep forgetting whatever revelations we've had, so we can come back later and realize them all over again! How profound it feels! Just like the last time! I’m a little bit older, but wow!
One that has been recurring in my life is the painfully simple fact that all we have is the present moment. Yes, we all know this. But I still spend most of my time elsewhere, thinking about the past (leads to wasting the present) and worrying about the future (ditto). Nice little cycle of self-sabotage I’ve got going here. I meditated for the first time in a while last night, and as I sat there I just kept telling myself Okay, at least I’m here for ten minutes out of the day. That’s all this is. Just be here. Really, that’s what meditation boils down to, if you strip away all the fluff about contemplating great philosophical questions or mulling over Zen koans in your head: sitting in one place and being present with yourself. It's simple. It’s practical. You are just paying attention for once. Over time, this practice will lead to more presence in all areas of your life, and it’s amazing the calm and clarity that come from it (for a far more articulate explanation of meditation, read this entry by the inimitable Ms. Palmer).
Today I kept trying to be in the present, and to think about what that meant. For instance, I was expecting a phone call, but then considered how much time I could spend checking my phone constantly instead of just being where I was. The phone will ring when it rings. Come back to the moment. So I’d go and do something else, like organize my room or work on a mix cd and Christmas presents and drink green tea. I would paint my nails Hedwig blue and put on my shiny red Yes, Mistress lip vinyl and then unwittingly get it all over the bathroom sink before going to make some quesadillas (and let me tell you, it feels silly to see lipstick on tortillas).
The difficult thing is to let go of one set of moments and move to the next. Say you were completely present while doing something, but now it’s done, no two ways about it. I always want to dwell on it, congratulate myself for doing something right for once. No! Keep going! Once you start down that path, it's a slippery slope straight into the arms of long periods of inactivity! Come back to the present.
I got a lot done this way. Being someone who gets really easily distracted, it helped me keep focused on one thing at a time and move on to each item on my to-do list without too much delay. It didn’t even really matter what I was doing, as long as I was paying attention. After all, we only have 24 hours each day, and they’re gonna pass one way or another. So buckle down and choose to do something you like. Something that will make you happy. You can only hope to spend the time well. When we die, all we can hope for is to look back and know we lived as well as we could. Isn’t avoiding those thoughts, denying death and all that, just more avoiding the present? It seems somehow connected. Although I’m a bit rusty on all my Buddhist doctrines.
Now I’ve gone on and on about this... I wouldn’t ramble so much except that it is still a very rambling dialogue in my head, not clear or settled at all. Throughout life I keep getting sidetracked, then putting myself back on the path, then losing it again. Revelation. Forgetting. Rinse. Repeat. And that’s okay. We’re not perfect. But dammit, eventually this practice is going to stick. If I keep at it I will become more and more resistant to slipping into a constant daydream. It'll be easier and easier to just be where I am, and then maybe I won’t look back on my whole life and feel like I was never really there, that it wasn’t ever happening to me.
Maybe.

3 comments:

  1. I know the feeling of realising nobody reads your blog. I had a few readers once, but then i disappeared over the summer and when i returned they didn't. I probably am a little self absorbed when writing my blog, it isn't a list of the mundane things i did each day; just a picture of the world according to me!

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  2. ummm yes, i do have alot of blogs now...I don't write in embrace anymore- i should really delete it but can't bring myself too. Tears of innoncence is my blog-blog (if you get what i mean) and the others are just archives for poems and photos i take. I'll read your blog too.

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  3. Thank you for fixing the grammatical errors. *upgrades Dave's grade to a B+. It would have been and A but there is no excuse for not proof reading before hand. =) Anyway, thanks for inviting me out this evening. I had much fun. Shannon and Ryan rock, if not as much as yourself. *patiently awaits the next blog installment.

    -Nick

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