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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

THE INNER GAZE

slope




The end of the year is at hand. Looks like I'll be doing New Years with friends, the Carpenters, from Georgia. They're driving up tomorrow with daughter Meredith and Meredith's husband Greg, who are in graduate school in California. Future Scientists of America. Meredith is in biology and Greg chemistry. Both of them fields that pass me by. Too left brain for me. With the mind Meredith has, she could pursue any field she chose. She chose Molecular Biology, I expect for the challenge of it. I'd go for something easy like Existential Drama or Egyptian Archaeology. I didn't have the self-discipline or clarity of mind to study well enough to make all As. I was one of the kids that does well in courses he likes and not so well in courses he doesn't like.




I went through school with no intent to use it for a job. Started with the notion of wanting to teach, but by the end didn't want any more to do with the educational system. Evidently I had expectations about it that were off the mark. I've always under worked my education, because I never wanted a hi-end job. I knew when a child that I would spend my entire life learning, following curiosity. I also knew I'd be going through several big changes in adult life. I wanted the freedom to go with it as the change occurred, rather than having to put it off on account of a good paying job and a wife locked down with a job. I knew then that I'd live my adult life simply and in a manner classified as poverty. I wanted the freedom to do that.



I have a friend who likes to challenge the rationality of a lot of principles I hold for myself in a values kind of way. I agree many of them are not rational, but I don't believe rational is the only approach to living one's life. He doesn't either. It's a good tool. An excellent tool for making decisions and friendly interpersonal relationships. I like to allow for that which is not rational too, the other half. The left hemisphere, the right. The balance of the two is the ideal. I believe I'm about all right brain, only interested in art, visual and written. Would rather know the person in people I know than their position.
My bank can tell you I'm not a good money manager. I can tell you that better than the bank can, because the bank only knows the done deed, I can tell you how it got that way if you're willing to listen like a psychiatrist. I wouldn't do that to you, so don't fidget. Though writing to you like this every day is something of a psychotherapy, letting it out. Woody Allen saw his psychiatrist every day about all his adult life, then divorced his wife and married their 19 year old adopted daughter. His films since then have been 3rd rate. If he operated from rational mind, I don't see much evidence of it. Maybe he allowed himself passion.




I've become suspicious of self-examination beyond a practical point. In the 1950s and 60s we had a cluster of poets called the confessional poets. Ann Sexton, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, all poets who will never be forgotten, ended up killing themselves. I'm all with know thyself, pay attention and understand self, be well acquainted with who that is within, but not necessary to make every thought, every written word self examination because dwelling on self leads only to depression. It's hard not to be depressed looking inward all the time, looking at ongoing dissatisfaction. Unless one is looking at God within. Looking at God within can take you to a whole new place. Looking too deeply at self within, looks to me like leads only to a heavy heart. Characters in Chekhov's plays lament 'if only,' wallow in their loneliness and depression spending summers isolated at their country estates. If only, dwelling in the past on that which is no more, and never was then, missing the flow of the living present.




I don't mean to imply I'm something special when it comes to being in the present. I'm just as much in past and future mentally as anyone else. I also believe I do connect with the present moment from time to time. It's this present moment that our pets live in. It might have a great deal to do with why humans don't understand animals and have to buy books that tell you how to dominate an animal to make it do your will. That's the left brain way.
I've never seen a book, though there must be at least one, on my way, to love them. They love us. Love them in turn and real communication flows back and forth on wings of love. I've never trained any of my dogs or cats. They automatically want to please us, love them in turn, allow their love something besides disappointment and they learn fast because they want to please. No need to carry treats in the pocket to reward good behavior. A touch on the back, a few words is the reward most deeply appreciated.




When we look within we tend to judge ferociously. It's good to know about ourselves and not be one of those people who believes others want to hear me talk without end. I saw a cartoon today of a man and a woman at a cocktail party, holding drinks, talking. The man says, "Allow me to interrupt. You're really boring." That's not how we want to get our self-knowledge, but sometimes it comes to us that way. It feels better to get it the gentle ways. Like discover it yourself and say, Oh My, I must do something about this, and set about it. Sure. For me, it takes something like God putting a pinto bean in a slingshot and bouncing it off my head. That's ok. It's part of the fun.

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