Monday, November 17, 2014

the real feast

It's definitely the season for tea and oranges. And one can't really think of such without next conjuring Leonard Cohen's song, Suzanne. 

On the quite wonderful and very popular site, Brainpickings, there's an article about the new book by Pico Iyer titled, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

Iyer begins his book by interviewing Leonard Cohen who was then living at the Mt. Baldy Zen Centre near Los Angeles. From their conversation:

"Sitting still, he said with unexpected passion, was “the real deep entertainment” he had found in his sixty-one years on the planet. “Real profound and voluptuous and delicious entertainment. The real feast that is available within this activity.”

Iyer is also quoted as saying:

"We’ve lost our Sundays, our weekends, our nights off — our holy days, as some would have it; our bosses, junk mailers, our parents can find us wherever we are, at any time of day or night. More and more of us feel like emergency-room physicians, permanently on call, required to heal ourselves but unable to find the prescription for all the clutter on our desk."

Needless to say, this is a book I now have on order.

I've long been guided by Joseph Campbell, who said:

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

And I like it when good advice accumulates, repeats, echoes. Some more good advice from the buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield:

"If you want to live a life of balance, start now. Turn off the news, meditate, turn on Mozart, walk through the forest or the mountains and begin to make yourself a zone of peace. When I return from a long retreat or from traveling for months, I’m amazed that the news is pretty much the same as when I left. We already know the plot, we know the problems. Let go of the latest story. Listen more deeply."

Although I've taken this advice to heart for years, and in fact, I've worked very hard to contrive it so I do have time in my room, hours to myself each week, the difficult part is not feeling some guilt. As much as I've tried, even, to refer to my writing days as 'work,' there are still certain people in my life who will never see it as such. Other people are always working much harder than Rob is or I am, is the intimation. And I do find it sort of amusing, that though I'm nearly fifty years old, I'm still spleened by this sort of thing.

But let's forget about that. Let's turn on Mozart. Let's sit still, maybe with some tea, some oranges.

Let's partake of what Cohen calls, the real feast.

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying to teach myself how to do this. A new year's resolution: scheduling the time for my own 'work'.


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