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Posted 6-29-12, started 6-19-12 - Motivation, Inspiration, Intention

Been sleeping a lot the last few days, don't feel sick - no fever, no bad feeling, just sleepy and a little weak. It's not like lazy cause I see that as not wanting to do anything when I have the energy. I don't know what this is - a very mild flu, a bug? I believe in rest in such circumstances, let the body use what energy there is to recover. There are tons of things I want to do on the home front and the CCA (Crooked Cucumber Archives) front - putting a list of that here. I want to get stuff done. Sometimes I need a jump start to get work done, feel like I'm trying to get behind myself to push. How do we do anything, not to fall down and give up? Entropy? I think of Frank Sinatra's "Whatever gets you through the night" as a starter - from the bottom - the full quote completes with the choices of booze, pills, or prayer.

For motivation at times I think of the old Hindu admonition to do your duty. The Gita uses that to have Krishna tell Arjuna to go on and kill his cousins but I don't take it that far - especially since I'm flying with mother to Ohio this Friday for a wedding of her great niece with various relatives in attendance. To keep going often I tune in to my overdeveloped desire for completion, surely one of the basic delusions. I consider my responsibility to others - in service of all sentient beings. I think of the expectations of others. Descending downward again, I think of the praise and meager financial rewards I'll possibly receive from doing a good job. Going lower, I threaten myself with the fear of humiliation and am soaked in fear of failure. I remember when I was working on Crooked Cucumber I'd think I didn't know what to do, would tell myself to finish the book no matter how poorly it's done, take the last check, and split the country to go somewhere where I could live cheaply in oblivion and hide in shame from ridicule and derision. It worked out a little better than that.

I draw inspiration from all sorts of sources all the time. A bedtime story of the Scott, Robert the Bruce, defeated again and again by the English hiding in a cave watching a spider try over and over to cast a thread from wall to wall, not giving up till she succeeded - and then he succeeded. People I've known who kept plugging away - parents, mates, sons, Suzuki, many others - their effort pushes me, pulls me, lifts me. I used to run on a little trampoline watching the 49ers each give their all play after play and I'd take a sample of that with me to the office and if there was a gap in time I'd leave that juice untapped till it's put into practice, not used up by marveling over it. More from pop culture this week like the Sixty Minute piece on Taylor Swift and watching the Wallenda walk that wire over Niagara. What motivated him most deeply I gathered was that he hoped his feat would help others to realize their dreams. When someone tells me or emails me what they've gotten from reading something I've written, I say thanks, and quick as I can, bring it down from the head to tuck it away in my fuel storage compartment.

It used to perplex me when Suzuki would say it's best if you're forced to practice, that monks at Eiheiji who were there because they had to be did better than the ones who were self-motivated. That's not really a problem though. Motivation from outside or inside has to be dropped to go deeper. It's probably just easier to let go of the type we resist. But there's no need to think, "Oh I'm practicing because I want to, not because I'm forced by someone. I'll never understand." It's just a hint to drop our reasons for doing what we're doing and that can always be done in an instant.

Doing things for no reason without any idea of a result is really getting in gear. Suzuki said, "Just do it," admonished, "When the bell rings, get up." Developing habits creates a driving force for this. That way things become their own inspiration. Age quod agis - do what you're doing, the motto of the Jesuits.

I just read a book about published in 1932 - Mohammed: the Man and His Faith, by Tor Andrae, translated from his German. I took from it is his determination, concentration, certainly not all the particulars. What got me most was on page 49 where the author was on the subject of revelation and inspiration, and I stopped at the sentence that read, "Many inspired persons have observed that any trace of intention, and any vestige of personal initiative, has a negative influence upon the free and spontaneous flow of inspiration."

In his early days in America, Suzuki frequently spoke of way-seeking mind. The way-seeking mind is not something that evolves out of our intention. It comes in spite of it. One develops a practice that allows the way seeking mind to seek the way. It is what it seeks. "Wisdom is seeking wisdom," he said. It wakes up to itself. When one drop of awakening falls, it covers everything.

I take a walk and the breeze is my lover, every face says we're doing this together, into the woods the trees and the birds, the clouds, a fence, a butterfly on the fence - take me away.

Note: What happens when I see a Christ on the Cross? Can that be inspiring?

6-16-12 - Awareness of Suffering

When I was very young, maybe four or five, my mother read to me the story of Hannibal crossing the alps with elephants to attack Rome and, as I remember it, at the end of the story he drank poison from his ring and died. I started to cry inconsolably. I was crying for Hannibal, for beings, for myself, at the realization that we die.

Another strong memory is when I five or six walking with my mother, holding her hand, in Dallas in the lobby of a theater after a show. I think it was a stage production of the Wizard of Oz  . A girl my age was walking toward us holding her mother's hand. I looked at her and for no reason felt so sorry for her and started crying. I could see her suffering, or I projected it or whatever.

Whenever someone asked, "If you had one wish what would you wish for?" I'd always say, "I wish that everyone, everywhere would be happy forever." I couldn't imagine why say anything else.

I remember as I grew older looking at people on the street, in a classroom, on a bus and at times feeling great pain for their suffering. I can remember as a teenager being alone and crying and rolling on the floor and groaning, letting the angst of life overwhelm me.

In the late spring of 1964 I went to Mississippi to see if I could help in the civil rights cause and that led to spending some time with SDS in Ann Arbor and Chicago. I wanted to help people but could see I was pretty confused myself and wasn't really being any help. I messed around in New Orleans, Fort Worth, and Dallas for a few months wondering how I could help people, knowing something would come.

In early 1965 I started smoking pot, took some psychedelics, and lived in Mexico and traveled in South America. This all brought about a great change in how I perceived myself and others and I saw the situation we people were in on a bigger more amazing stage and didn't worry about everyone's suffering so much, more about wanting to know the deeper reality we all obviously shared.

In 1966 at 21, newly arrived in San Francisco and staying with stoner (heads back then) friends, we took some LSD up top of a hill in Golden Gate Park and lay on sleeping bags looking at the stars and being quiet. I remember cops driving up there late but they left us alone. In the morning my friends returned to our apartment in the Mission, I stayed and walked around the park. I remember straddling a wide concrete pipe spilling water into a pond, watching the water flow out from down between my legs and some people walking by laughing which made me laugh cause I knew it could be seen as me with giant member peeing. The acid was wearing off but still I had plenty of expanded consciousness, was pretty clear, not a lot of tripping thinking. I decided to think about something and focused on a person who was close to me. Instantly could see their life, mind, suffering. I could see they thought they were a particular person and couldn't see the bigger truth in front of them, had a sense of it but avoided it constantly by distracting their mind with trivia, things to do. I burst out into tears and began to sob so loudly that I ran to a bush to hide in. After that trip I thought about the importance of getting enlightened so that one didn't suffer unnecessarily from avoiding truth. Wasn't sure what to do though.

Notes: Suzuki on suffering. I used to feel bad about the suffering of others, now I think suffering is beautiful. You should suffer more. (his use of the word "should" here needs to be clarified - maybe better to suggest another word)

Reading that in the Abhidharma pity is an unwholesome dharma (aspect) and compassion a wholesome one and seeing a lot of my youthful angst about others being unwholesome pity.

Issan Tommy Dorsey had no pity, was compassionate. Was sort of cold, indifferent to the pain of others, just tried to relieve it.

I try to avoid horoscopes but glanced at mine today in the FW Star Telegram (no byline) which read, "Aquarius: You've already lived through the past, so look toward the future. Learning from past mistakes is OK, but dwelling on memories is unhealthy." How true I thought and then thought about what my plans were and the were first to finish this piece on my past and I agreed it was a bunch of worthless crap, a waste of time, so I'd better get it out of the way quickly while holding the equivalent of my nose. And when I was typing that and got to the "OK" I thought about how Liz Tuomi, my dear former and deceased mate, used to type "o.k." and I'd have to change them to OK and how it always irritated me and I said, "Hi Liz."

6-14-12 - Be yourself.

Mother likes to watch Meet the Press and the other news shows on Sunday morning which because of my political prejudices I find irritating. She was having trouble finding a show last Sunday at nine so I took the remote and didn't find anything either and surfed up to the PBS station which was doing a fundraising drive featuring Wayne Dyer. I thought a little hit of his ultra positive would be okay so we landed there for a while. He was doing a visualize what you want to be, know you're already there, and so forth, the type of message I was raised on. I have found it to be more helpful than "Everybody hates me, nobody likes me, I'm gonna eat some worms," though that does have its appeal. He had a guest on, a woman wasting away with cancer who'd been given up for dead, was down to 87 pounds but then she had an epiphany and miraculously recovered. Whether her change of heart was the cause of her recovery or not, she'd experienced an awakening. She said something that turned the show around for me. She said it's not enough to be positive, that the key is to be yourself. I've been exposed to a lot of healing body/mind talk but I don't remember anyone coming at it that way. As the saying goes, it resonated with me.

Notes for follow-up: Odel waxing Granny's floor, Suzuki on be yourself.