The Anonymous Whole

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Another excerpt from Thomas Merton’s Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

This is one of the few real pleasures left to modern man: this illusion that he is thinking for himself when, in fact, someone else is doing his thinking for him. And this someone else is not a personal authority, the great mind of a genial thinker, it is the mass mind, the general “they,” the anonymous whole.

One is left, therefore, not only with the sense that one has thought things out for himself, but that he has also reached the correct answer without difficulty– the answer which is shown to be correct because it is the answer of everybody. Since it is at once my answer and the answer of everybody,

how should I resist?

What is this?

Today I will share my experience with my dealing with negative feelings. Feeling abandoned, hurt, taken for granted, ignored. My mind is preoccupied with what someone else, thinks and how I feel they are treating me. My stomach is churning like I’ve had too much coffee and nothing to eat. I have learned, from reading about mindfulness, awareness, meditating and being present. My masters are Anthony de Mello, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, and most recently Thomas Merton.

As it has been suggested, from what I recall from my reading. I have developed a practice of being aware of the sensations in my body, doing my best to stay with those, without the storyline. Without out my thoughts if you will. My experience with this has been, dare I say, miraculous. I was going to say enlightening, liberating among others. I can actually be with those heavy feet, muted sounds around me, the furrowed brow, tense muscles and feel this all, while doing my best to let the thought of what I think triggered the episode go.

A new theme has emerged in my life these days, where all around me it seems, the message is taking the good with the bad. Enjoying life’s highs and lows. How we are refined by our navigating our way through tough times, emerging stronger and better equipped to help others. And by helping others leads to a more meaningful life. All true but I have started thinking, about how easily I take the good feelings I have for granted.

We are never so aware of ourselves as when we are experiencing, physical, emotional, spiritual pain. It seems easy to want to alleviate that as quickly as possible. But what of the enjoyable elated thrills we all get to experience. So I intend to persevere in my practice, regardless of my feelings at any given moment. And not forgetting to enjoy the wonderful and be present for the “Not So Much”.  As I am enjoying some mango infused supreme dark chocolate and my vaporizer with my favorite e-liquid, with toasted coconut and almonds, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon notes.

I bid you all farewell as I give all the glory to God as is my purpose.

Jeff

 

 

Things We Need

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By Thomas Merton, from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

The things we really need come to us as only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts we have to be open. In order to be open, we have to renounce ourselves, in a sense, we have to die to our image of ourselves, our autonomy, our fixation upon our self-willed identity. We have to be able to relax the psychic and spiritual cramp which knots us in the painful, vulnerable, helpless “I” that is all we know as ourselves.
The chronic inability to relax this cramp begets despair. In the end, as we realize more and more that we are knotted upon nothing, that the cramp is a meaningless, senseless, pointless affirmation of nonentity, and we must nevertheless continue to affirm our nothingness over against everything else- our frustration becomes absolute. We become incapable of existing, except as a “no” which we fling in the face of everything. This “no” to everything serves as our painful “yes to ourselves- a makeshift identity which is nothing

What I find Exquisite

Exquisite

I have an inkling, of what exquisite is, however, I am struck by not knowing the word’s definition. I found that as an adjective exquisite is described as, extremely beautiful and typically delicate. This is very close, if not exactly what the word means to me. It also may describe a feeling, that use of the word is not as familiar with me but, I am intrigued to use it, that way. I also found that as a noun…What? I know Right? Who knew?  as a noun exquisite is a man affectedly concerned with his clothes and appearance; a dandy. I am somewhat lost on that one, I found it on the internet so…It must be true

A couple things come to mind when I thin of things, being exquisite. The writing of Thomas Merton. His command of language astounds me. Here is an example of his writing that I find particularly well done.

A post from my Instagram

Another example of something I found particularly exquisite is a piece of music composed and performed by one of my favorite artists, Orianthi

A feature piece from an upcoming Yahoo Music’s,  She Rocks, Vol.1

From Yahoo Music

Well, I hope you have been touched by my perspective this is my first venture using a prompt from WordPress. Bless all of you and enjoy every moment

Jeff

 

Happy New Year?

The following is a composition I wrote for a writing class in September 1997. The events took place New Years Eve 1993. I am editing today as I transcribe from the paper I turned in…SOME SITUATIONS AND DESCRIPTIONS ARE DISTURBING AND FOR A MATURE AUDIENCE

Happy New Year?

The air was thick and still. A fog had settled onto West Capital Boulevard. Across the Sacramento River from the capital city of California, it was in another county, another world. Two thousand motel rooms line the next two miles of road, which I affectionately referred to as, West Crack and Smack.

The year was 1993, New Years Eve. The mighty Jester of the cosmos had guided my path into severe addiction. I was, at that time, a crack cocaine addict, and was selling heroine to help support my habit. I sold my wares, late at night to prostitutes and others on the strip. My supplier handled the demand during the day. Everyone on the street goes by an alias, mine was Pollo, “Chicken” in Spanish. Cavaillo, was my supplier and “mentor”. Little did I know, at that time, that there had been many just like me, to arrive on the scene, then to disappear without a trace, beaten, broke and used. The street takes it’s toll, Cavaillo and the others knew what was happening, I was headed to “the curb”.

Tonight, I was on my way to a room at the Pacific Motel for a celebration of sorts. Crystal, one of the old-timers on the street had invited me to a small gathering. She had been trying to get close to me ever since I arrived two months prior to the evening’s festivities. Victoria, was the girl who introduced me to Cavaillo and was very careful, before tonight, to keep me clear of other girls on the street. Vicky and I had a falling out, due to my discovering that she had been stealing from me. I caused a commotion, that led to me being arrested for possession of paraphernalia, and Vicky high tailed it away just before the cops showed up. That was Christmas Eve. Vicky knew all the crack dealers and she kept me away from them so I couldn’t score without her. She used Crack and was addicted to heroine. Tonight, however I was free to do as I pleased, I chose to hang out with Crystal and her friends.

The mood was dark and somber. Another year had passed, we were all still stuck  “On Stupid”. Next year would be better, maybe. We were lonely people, doing our best to fill the void by surrounding ourselves with others of our kind. I sensed a phony attitude of optimism about the future, but that was probably just me. I arrived fairly early, only Crystal and a man named Bill were there, when I got there. Bill was a tall man with a medium build. He wore a cowboy hat, so I naturally kind of looked up to him, due to my background on the ranch. He was very polite and friendly. I assumed that he was one of Crystal’s regular customers. Crystal was wearing something flimsy. One could see the lines of experience on her face. She had dirty blonde hair, cut fairly short, and with a dated style. The was an aura of independent wisdom about her. She was resourceful, confident and had a cynical sense of humor. Crystal greeted me and made me comfortable.

The room had two beds, a small table a dresser and a TV. Small talk ensued before the arrival of more participants in our modest celebration. A quiet knock on the door interrupted our conversation. Crystal got up and let them in. Larry and Rex were introduced. These two were meth addicts, the looked virtually the same. They were emaciated, wearing torn faded jeans, grayish white tee shirts and old sneakers. their hair was dirty and stringy. They were in constant fidget mode. I thought that they would jump right out of their skin at any moment. They were talking about how someone had done them wrong and the revenge they would get. I thought to myself that they were doing the easy part, talking about it.

Just then, came another knock on the door. It was Brian, he appeared normal enough, wearing a Polo shirt and khaki slacks. It turns out Brian was only there for service by Crystal. They politely excused themselves to the bathroom. I remember being surprised at how quickly the “deed” was done. Then Brian was out the door as quickly as he had arrived.

The conversation was dwindling, as we all really didn’t have anything of substance to talk about. My pager went off, time to go to work. I dialed the number on the display. It was Beth; she was new, only for me as she had recently gotten out of jail. We made arrangements for a rendezvous. The addicts love me. I sold Cavaillo’s dope, the best on the street, but I also answered and delivered quickly. This is vital, when a junky is dope-sick from the onset of withdraw. I did well selling heroine, as long as I did not smoke up my bas capital for another batch. It was time to go though, Beth would be waiting, just a few blocks down the road. I rode a bicycle, I found that this attracted less attention than a car, or in my case and small truck. I found Beth, and the transaction went smoothly.

I was on my way back, when the lights of a police car, came on behind me. Fear clenched my heart and sent a spike into my gut. I was carrying about $900 worth of dope, prepared into packages for sale, and $600 in cash. Cavaillo had coached me well for times such as these. The dope was stashed, none, too comfortably, in my crotch. The money was folded neatly in the palm of my hand, under my riding glove. I stopped and waited patiently for the officer to get to where I was. It was not far but everything was now, moving in slow-motion, or at least it seemed so. He asked to see my I.D. and said seen me talking to Beth. He inquired about my knowledge of her history. I played stupid. He commenced to pat me down, while asking if I had any weapons. He told me that Beth was a known prostitute; “really?” lol 😀 He put the handcuffs on me and had me sit down while he went back to the squad to check for any warrants on me. After what seemed like half an hour, he came back and took the cuffs of and told me that I was in the system but there were no warrants. “Get a light on that bike, and go straight home” he told me. “Yes sir” I responded, and off I went into the fog.

What the hell am I doing here?  I thought to myself. The next thing I thought about was getting a nice big hit of cocaine smoke into me and I could forget everything while the rush hit me. It was all that really mattered to me. Escape from reality. That is exactly what I did. The party was still going on when I got back. I told everyone about my encounter with the police, and how clever I had been to travel light with nowhere really to search. We all laughed and carried on; I would get a lot of mileage out of that story and still am lol 😀 We all went out to eat breakfast and I went to bed.

I remember this night as a reflection of my state of mind at that time. To some it may be disturbing. Maybe sick, twisted, even immoral. To me nothing else mattered but getting high and keeping the ways and means intact to continue. I was running away from how I felt. Quite an exercise in futility, at least doing it in that way.. It was, however, very necessary, as I look back on it today. I have grown to have a deep appreciation for life and no longer have a need to escape how I feel. I am looking for, (pilgrimage), and finding ways to make a contribution to life instead of demanding life contribute to me. I have embarked on a path to improve my life, with it’s incumbent fits and starts, and to connect with others. I am immensely grateful for my new found attitude, and am willing to share my discoveries with anyone who cares to listen. We are here, I believe, to love, learn and all laugh at the joke that the mighty jester shows us.

Peace

Jeff

 

 

 

People and Things

The more I rely on people and things, the more desperate I become. People are self interested and things fall dismally short.

The more I rely on God the more at peace I find myself. As He is in me and I in Him. I find miracles everywhere I look, every moment of every day.

I love people, don’t get me wrong, they provide a mirror from which I perceive all that I am, good and wretched, which I acknowledge and embrace

I am free to love and help instead of turning away in discomfort with our mutual plight.

Deliberate

adjective
dəˈlib(ə)rət/
  1. 1.
    done consciously and intentionally.
    “a deliberate attempt to provoke conflict”
    • verb
diˈlibəˌrāt/
  1. 1.
    engage in long and careful consideration.
    “she deliberated over the menu”

What are you doing?
Are you even paying attention?
Are you not doing as good as “your best”?
Are you being less than honest?
What is your intention?
Do you like that about yourself?
You can’t control what you’re not aware of.
That which you fight or deny, you give power!
If you desire to be better, (from my experience)
You must embrace and acknowledge the flaw in your character.
When you pay attention and embrace the fear underlying the act,
change will occur naturally.
Pay attention to everything in and around you
and especially your reaction to it.

Easier

It was easier for me to continue to be dishonest, deceit had become an ingrained habit and because there was a grain of truth in the story or even once was true, it was more believable than an honest expression of what was.

I couldn’t exist comfortably in who I really was, I had to embellish my existence, then there was a split, the true definition of neurosis

It continued and the lies got more dramatic and I had to cover for the initial withholding, eventually it evolved into psychosis and none but divine intervention saved me.

“Seriousness” and “Achievement”

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By Thomas Merton

In our society, a society of business rooted in puritanism, based on a pseudoethic industriousness and thrift, to be rewarded by comfort, pleasure and a good bank account, the myth of work is thought to justify an existence that is essentially meaningless and futile.

 

There is, then, a great deal of busy-ness as people invent things to do when in fact there is very little to be done. Yet we are overwhelmed with jobs, duties, tasks, assignments, and “missions” of every kind.

At every moment we are sent north, south, east and west by the angels of business and art, poetry, and politics, science and war, to the four corners of the universe to decide something, to sign something, to buy and sell. We fly in all directions to sell ourselves, thus justifying the absolute nothingness of our lives.

The more we seem to accomplish, the harder it becomes to really dissimulate our trifling, and the only thing that saves us is the common conspiracy not to advert to what is really going on.

Thomas Merton

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