Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2012


I recently watched Bill Murray’s movie “Groundhog Day” again on netflix for the first time in what, almost 20 years now since it was released? (I had to look it up…). In this movie a man is doomed to live out his life over and over again on the same day. At first he believes he has discovered heaven on earth. He can apparently do anything he wants, anything at all, and not suffer the consequences because the very next morning the clock is literally reset and all is forgiven and forgotten. But then, alas, he realizes that life with no uncertainty is actually a living hell. He even tries unsuccessfully to commit suicide over and over again, but like some tortured, irredeemable Christ-Gandalf-Comedian figure, reincarnates every morning at 6:00 AM to start all over again. So he is forced to innovate. To start to learn things about the small Pennsylvania town he is trapped in so as to manipulate his reality into something just barely tolerable. He robs an armored car. He takes piano lessons. He tries to cheat death and save an old man. He takes up ice sculpting. He contrives to learn everything he can about his love interest Rita, played by Andy MacDowell, so as to lure her into satisfying his carnal cravings. However a curious thing happens on the way to the bedroom. Life actually gets interesting again. Of course his contrivances to land unsuspecting Rita in the sack backfire, leading to more and more contrivances and correspondingly more and more interest in Rita as a person. It is an interesting modern parable, isn’t it? I mean, alongside the scheming, contriving, cynical, wanton and cavalier Phil is also the dedicated, unyielding, stubborn and creative Phil who wins the day (of course) and in the end gets the girl. What a fabulous redescription of our modern Faustian dilemma! Think about it as an allegory: alongside our driven, contrived, draconian, comfort and perfection mad society perhaps we also have the makings of a culture of curiosity, commitment and honoring which can someday break out of this endless repeating cycle of pain and suffering – what the Buddhists call samsara –and help us to discover the healing power of authentic connection.



Read Full Post »


when you the reader encounter a fiction, you have to do some work. you complete the work that the author started. but sometimes that work is the work of no-work. the work of observation. notice what effect the work is having on you. just notice and get curious. who am i in relation to this experience? buddhism is often mis-perceived as a passive practice. but this is mis-informed. was galileo being passive when he observed the moons of jupiter? investigation into the way things are is not a passive process. wise observation is an active process. though it may not appear to “produce” anything, it is an integral part of wise effort.



Read Full Post »



ryokan: i want to drink up his words forever
so the fountain of a river stream
runs through me and all of time.
his is the food of an unmet life.
his, pines in a crisp cool wind
far from any city.


Read Full Post »


sea spray covered my life
and saw nothing
form the too wide aperture
that obtained.
will you claim the progress
of an enlightened mind?
yes i see that you will.
well, i too should like
the advancement of contracts
never resumed.
so i’ll sail downriver.
be exhumed.


Read Full Post »


hegel and marx were the philosophers of history who thought that history would end with their understandings. i rather agree with derrida and rorty that history has no end and that metaphors are the interminable events with which we realize our future now. every poem, every image, every event constructed in the manner of what the zen tradition calls “silent illumination” is a throw into this unconfirmed future. believing that, as dick allen observed, “if you talk to nowhere long enough…meanings are reduced to surprises,” i think we all ought to contribute.


Read Full Post »



So it’s no secret that for most of my life I’ve struggled with my relationship to relationship. Relationships have been what I’ve craved most and been least able to sustain or achieve. And the suffering has been such that at times I have not wanted to continue living. Recently I’ve decided that seeking “romantic” relationship is no longer helpful or wise. And so I’ve decided that it is time for me to explore a different relationship to my desire for relationship. To that end, I’ve taken down all my online dating profiles and hope to actively cultivate a different relationship to my desires for relationship with others, whenever such desire arises. I have lots of doubts about these decisions. I’m not sure if my behaviors are wise or not. My brain is giving me arguments on both sides of the fence. Therefore I am committing only to awareness. My goal is nothing more than to increase awareness of my desire, and to “speak without involving listeners.”


Read Full Post »


you may have noticed from my postings that i am a kantian agnostic with regard to theological matters. what this means is that i see the idea of god as something that we are commonly led to contemplate as the result of our musings about good and evil, but that divinity itself is not anything that can be given in experience. wittgenstein and kierkegaard taught me what it means to be an agnostic: to live in a place of uncertainty, what existentialists generally would call abandonment or facticity. it is an uncomfortable place to live, because it means that i must confront the very real possibility that my suffering has no meaning or redemption in this empty, boundless universe. in the end i cannot depend on the affirmation of a supreme being or beings, and am left merely with the occasional kindness of strangers such as yourself.



Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »