Thursday, May 08, 2008

Thinking More About Less And Less

I am sitting at home right now at the little desk in my music room. Outside my window it is pouring down rain. The air is cool and moist. It is a quiet evening at home. My son Nick is here and home for the summer. I suppose he will just take it easy for a while now that finals and the school year are over. It seems to me that his first year of seminary life went very quickly. After our approaching family vacation is over he will attend summer school while living in a parish. For the time that he is living with me I will need to buy extra food and laundry detergent.

I will be taking tomorrow off. It has been a while since I had a day all to myself and I very much need one. Weekends are usually busy and often full of family activities. I need a day with no agenda or goals. I make no apologies for the fact that I need to do this once in a while. I suspect that other people sometimes enjoy a day where the only company they have is themselves. In a certain sense I am my own best friend. No one knows me or understands me like I know and understand myself. Everyone, friends, co-workers...only know a part of me. I am not hiding anything. It's just that most people's experience of me is limited and so their knowledge of me is limited as well. I've heard it said that your true self is who you are when no one is watching. What you do when you are alone says a lot about who you are. On my solitary days I may do a few things but mostly I am just being. Being is not necessarily sitting still. I can be and move at the same time. On my solitary days I have a sense of being invisible to the world even if I am in a crowded place like a mall or a sandwich shop. On workdays and weekends I often am in a hurry. I move about quickly checking off tasks on the mental list in my head. On my solitary days I move about effortlessly. I am doing what I want to do so there is no inner resistance to it. I am happy and I move about with a spring in my step. In reality the day can be quite ordinary. In spite of that it is refreshing and restful and renewing. A solitary day during a time when one normally works has an entirely different feel than a weekend day. If you don't occasionally take a day just for yourself I highly recommend it. It's not just for introverts like me who have a solitary nature.

My musical hero Jerry Garcia once sang a song with a lyric that went "I'm thinking more and more about less and less". As I get older this lyric makes more and more sense to me. When I was younger I was a voracious reader. I am not talking about reading romance novels while sitting on the beach. I read biographies, theology, philosophy, psychology, and spirituality books. The "lightest" material I read was probably about music or a musician. I was often consumed with trying to understand the meaning of everything that I thought was important. Is there a God? Why am I alive? What is the meaning of my life? Do I have a purpose? Is there more to life than the daily tasks and routines that all of us get locked into? What's the point of anything? Do you want to know the answers to these questions? The truth is that I don't know the answers. I do, however, have beliefs and speculations about all these things. At one time this "unknowing" bothered me. I wanted to know and understand. These days I "think more and more about less and less". I am more focused now on simply trying to live life and enjoy it. I have mostly given up trying to understand life in general and my own life in particular. I have learned that life is not always fair, it doesn't always make sense, and often doesn't go my way. There are things I do because I have to and there are things I do because I want to. Weaved in, around, and through all these tasks of living, I try to be open to all opportunities for happiness, laughter, love, joy, and the transcendent. You can never factor these things into your day so one must be open for the sneak attack they often make on us. For example, I rarely look forward to getting out of bed and coming to work. Does anyone? However, it is often in the workplace that I laugh the most. My friends and co-workers often bring a smile to my face. There's a lot of "doing " in the world and most "doing" requires thinking. I am thinking less, and perhaps doing less, but I am "being" more. For those of you who may wonder, I am not naive enough to think that everyone can stop doing and simply be. I have spent much of my life doing all kinds of things. What I am saying is that there is a time for doing and a time for being. Some of us are called to more "being" so we can remind all of you consumed with "doing" that you need to stop once in a while and listen to the beat of your own inner drummer.

1 comment:

Kat Lemon said...

I like you. You're like a mirror. =D

I stumbled onto your page trying to get the full lyrics of the Bigger Thomas song "Less and Less".

Keep enjoying the existential vibration. =]