Hadrian 2…

Below, another small excerpt from Yourcenar’s  Memoirs of Hadrian. It speaks to the necessities of combining self-examination, observation of the world around us, seeking the thoughts and ideas of others through their writings, and the other arts. Sounds like a well rounded approach to understanding one’s self.

“Like everyone else I have at my disposal only three
means of evaluating human existence: the study of self,
which is the most difficult and most dangerous method, but
also the most fruitful; the observation of our fellowmen,
who usually arrange to hide their secrets from us, or to
make us believe they have secrets where none exist;
and books, with the particular errors of perspective to
which they inevitably give rise. I have read nearly every-
thing that our historians and poets have written, and even
our story-tellers, although the latter are considered frivolous;
and to such reading I owe perhaps more instruction
than I have gathered in the somewhat varied situations of
my own life. The written word has taught me to listen to
the human voice, much as the great unchanging statues
have taught me to appreciate bodily motions. On the other
hand, but more slowly, life has thrown light for me on the
meaning of books.”

 

Through the woods across the mountains and

Endless Sea, is the context of the path. The 

Way is followed by stepping over fallen trees,

Leaning into the ascent of mountains, not

Overcoming obstacles, as the work that needs

Doing, and being the path that leads to the Sea,

Whereon we encounter new mountains and

Rivers that may seem familiar though now the

Path is less frightful and cluttered, go carefully.

Becoming aware; and see that straight line 

Followed is in fact an upward

Spiraling. At last, looking up from the path,

No longer bewildered, at ease, true home is

Everywhere. Here. Now. Soon. Then. Was.

Hadrian 1…

Below, a quote from  Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar.

“The landscape of my day appears to be composed, like
mountainous regions, of varied materials heaped up pell-
mell. There I see my nature, itself composite, made up of
equal parts of instinct and training. Here and there protrude
the granite peaks of the inevitable, but all about is
rubble from the landslips of chance. I strive to retrace my
life to find in it some plan, following a vein of lead, or of
gold, or the course of some subterranean stream, but such
devices are only tricks of perspective in the memory. From
time to time, in an encounter or an omen, or in a particular
series of happenings, I think that I recognize the working
of fate, but too many paths lead nowhere at all, and too
many sums add up to nothing. To be sure, I perceive in
this diversity and disorder the presence of a person; but his
form seems nearly always to be shaped by the pressure of
circumstances; his features are blurred, like a face reflected in water.
I am not of those who say their actions bear
no resemblance to them. Indeed, actions must do so,
since they alone give my measure, and are the sole means
of engraving me upon the memory of men, or even upon my
own memory (and since perhaps the very possibility of con-
tinuing to express and modify oneself by action may constitute
the real difference between the state of the living and of the dead).
But there is between me and these acts which compose me an
indefinable hiatus, and the proof of this separation is that I feel
constantly the necessity of weighing and explaining what I do, and
of giving account of it to myself. In such an evaluation certain works of
short duration are surely negligible; yet occupations which have extended over a whole lifetime signify just as little. For example, It seems to me as I write this hardly important to have been emperor.”

 

What a fine thing writing can be.

Capturing the stray other; which,

Formulating a sense of being,

Seeks to explain it’s Self to itself.

A merry-go-round indeed, but

So satisfying in a nebulous way.

As in ‘Nacht und Nebel’

The privilege of aging…

I have had a week of rest after returning from Bay area and plan on getting some more. Had about three weeks of being very busy, a smallish car accident, my fault; and, just turned 70.

I told someone, not too long ago, that I had been telling myself that I was “older”, and that once you hit the “70” number, you’re old, period. That person said that 80 was the new 70. Great! I’ll go along with that. Reprieve, and even though only older sometimes I feel old.

That is not a complaint, bit of a grumble, maybe. I never in my wildest dreams (certainly before I got clean and sober and started practicing Buddhism; almost half-a life-time ago), did I ever think I would live this long. Yet, here I am and I feel OK.

That OK-ness mostly has to do with what I learned from the 12 Steps and the practice of meditation within the context of Buddhist principles and teachings.

Sometimes I don’t want to admit that I’m a Buddhist because I act like a jerk, or a general fool, and I don’t want to give Buddhism a bad name, but then again, trying to live by Buddhist teachings doesn’t mean one transcends human-ness, but rather, one tries to be fully human and aware so that when mistakes are made, or one goes SPLAT, then one (this one:), does one’s best to rectify those mistakes, stands up straight, looks up, asks for help and then, and this is the important part, one steps forward into life and tries one’s best, one more time…

Simple but not easy. The hard part is finding teachers who can not only teach the what and the why, but also teach and show, the how. I have been very fortunate in that area. I have been very fortunate in all areas.

I can still complain and snivel and whine a little, but when I stop, take stock, look around, and see, my life and its reality; I can see that all of life is a teaching for my own good.

I was with a small group of people a couple of days ago and several expressed their fear, doubt, anxiety and worry about the condition of the world. That it all seems to be coming apart at the seams. It can certainly feel that way to me at times as well, but I have noticed that those particular feelings usually coincide with my not getting what I want; the world not comporting to my wishes or behaving in accord with my standards, and generally not following  a path of comfort or peace of mind, for me.

Where in that view/place is there any possibility for change, that I can effect?

In how I look at things?

In how I view 

This uncomfortable reality.

Daggnabbitt!

Life  is  hard!

Yep!   But,  there

Is Conduct,  that

Eases   the   Way.

Un-clenching,  not

Insisting,  for one’s

Self,  or, others.