Life is Good?

At 4:30 on Tuesday, I stole out of the local package store with a bottle of wine in a paper sack and a lottery ticket. While it’s not quite as seedy as it sounds — leftover Fettuccine Bolognese demanded a nice Merlot, and friend and I are scheming a great escape — I still found myself on the ride home wondering, “Am I this disenchanted?”

My t-shirt for yoga today reminds me that “Life is good,” and for the most part, I would have to agree. Life is good. There are the continued blessings of good work and dear friends, and an ease in my nightly accounting of gratitude.

And yet there is also unease. It’s quiet and unobtrusive right now—something I can easily name a symptom of too much work and not enough play. For now. But…

The stars are veiled. Something stirs in the East.*

Last night, a quote from a movie piqued my attention:

“It is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical will live the relation to another as something alive.”

It’s a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. Coincidentally, Rilke had wandered into my sightline about a month ago — I’d bookmarked a website and reserved a copy of Letters on Amazon.

I’m supposed to be paying attention to this.

I know I’m supposed to be paying attention, because this morning four emails awaited me.

The first made me think: I don’t want this relationship, it causes too much pain.
The second made me think: I want this relationship so much I ache.
The third made me think: I need this relationship, it gives me great pleasure.

The fourth was from a professor I know of in India who is leading a gathering entitled: “Life is a movement in relationship.” It read as follows:

“…Life is a movement in relationship. And in that movement there is apparently a great deal of conflict and misery….we have made our relationship with each other a sense of fulfillment, pleasure, something to be desired and so on. So why do human beings so technologically intelligent, such extraordinary capacity and energy, why human beings have not solved this most essential question, problem. You may meditate. You may seek enlightenment. You may follow the latest guru, the latest expression of whatever you are following, but if you have not solved this problem, all your spiritual attainments and technological achievements have no value at all. Because our life is relationship….”

– J. Krishnamurti, On Conflict

This is twice in two months I have found myself face-to-face with philosopher and teacher J. Krishnamurti. And he is no stranger. I have been designing books about Krishnamurti and reading his words peripherally for years.

Perhaps it is time to do more than that?

• • •

*Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

8 thoughts on “Life is Good?

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  1. I love the words by Krisnamurti. I learned something profound two years ago when I went through open heart surgery. For days after, all I seemed to be able to do was sit quietly and look at the mountains outside my hospital window. I was devoid of thought or feeling.

    When I came home and began my recovery, what I discovered was that in those quiet moments, I realized somewhere within, that I needed to know that I knew nothing. The more I thought I knew, the more unreachable, judgmental, and self-righteous I was.

    I have better and clearer relationships when I forget what I know and just practice being with whoever I’m with.
    Thank you for your wise and beautiful words.

  2. Don’t quite know why this comes to mind…

    Still round the corner there may wait
    A new road or a secret gate,
    And though we pass them by today,
    Tomorrow we may come this way
    And take the hidden paths that run
    Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

    from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (1987 edition)
    (such indelible monumental literary works, about which C.S. Lewis wrote: “Here are beauties which pierce like swords or burn like cold iron.”)

    p.s. – whenever i get those little life prompts, I renew my efforts to find a new road or a secret gate to get me to the next experience, pausing only to marvel at the scenery and to reflect upon what I (hopefully) learned along the way – as Bilbo said when he finally leaves to go to the Undying Lands, “I’m quite ready for another adventure!” a lot of ground to cover, indeed!!

  3. I think of you walking around Qabbin Reservoir, or in the woods or by the river, walking in nature, with the trees, over the rocks.
    Have you, are you, will you?

    1. At the end of these very long days a voice says: go for a walk. But my body says: sit, eat, sleep. The body’s been winning out – for the past couple weeks anyhow. I DO need to be out – nature, tree, fresh air, water, new life. Keep picturing me there, maybe I’ll hear you?

      I have never been to the Quabbin Reservoir, but have always wanted to check it out. Perhaps I will put that on my list of “Places to Escape To.”

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