Friday, September 7, 2007

Not satisfied

Yesterday I thought I had about three good ideas for new blog postings. I even jotted a good deal of one of them down.

Yesterday's post was one of those three, inevitably, the one that I found most compelling. My wife crabbed about that post, because she was concerned that I talked about the experience of bliss, and prana, as being available to everyone. She was concerned that a lot of people might not be able to relate to the idea.

I don't feel too guilty about it. My contention is not a new one. Paramahansa Yogananda said the same thing many times. Certainly, I'm not in his league, but if he felt it was okay to tell people you can acquire a direct, constant, and immediate sense of spiritual bliss, why shouldn't I? ...Well, maybe I am a bad person for suggesting this. If the idea bothers you, forget I said it.

Mea Culpa.

Anyway, today I started to write a blog about warriors and Gardens and then I realized I wasn't satisfied with it.

I began to write a second blog about yesterday's visit to a colorful Tibetan masseuse who has a wacky, overgrown garden, and I wasn't satisfied with that.

All of this finally raised questions in me about just what "satisfying" means.

Let me sketch that out a bit more. I'm at work today, and there is no particular reason to feel satisfied. I have been hit with one meltdown situation after another in my business, two of my three assistants are out on vacation, and my boss has been asking for nonsensical charts and reports that have nothing to do with actually making our merchandise and getting it to the customer. My daughter's college has once again delayed up her financial aid package, which drives me nuts.

Today, I deal with this nonsense in a spirit of cheerful cooperation. Because of the organic support I derive from my inner work, I feel generally joyful even as the fan sprays it on me, locally and globally. The support is invulnerable, in a certain sense, because it is not built on the instability of the emotions; it is built within the organic structure of the organism itself. I can keep going back and touching it because it is solid, even when everything else keeps changing.

Every time I touch it, it reminds of presence: "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding."

That's satisfaction.

All of this reminds me of the need to rediscover and enliven the organic structure within ourselves that supports us. It's this endoskeleton that counts, that gets us through these moments when life is a mess. If we don't spend the time to try and awaken the parts within us that create the endoskeleton, we are nothing but soft underbelly. Every difficult event that comes along is a blow to the gut.

Participating more actively in the flow of the inner energy, attending to it more deliberately, can bring satisfaction even when nothing is going on.

Perversely, this illogical overall sense of inner satisfaction is one of the difficulties I face in moments like today, where I am trying to write the blog and nothing seems to work. The odd thing is, I'm still satisfied. Part of me says, "Well, who cares? I don't have to post to the blog today."

While I see that I am already entirely satisfied without posting, another part considers that there is an obligation here to make this effort for the readers who come here seeking, so to speak, a "chocolate chip or even oatmeal raisin cookie" to feed their work today. Of course not every cookie I bake is that savory; there are times when the oven isn't hot enough, or I can't mix a batter in correct proportions. But I have, so to speak, put myself in the restaurant business, so here I am, obliged to serve. Whether I am satisfied or not with my service, I have to offer it, unless I hang up a "closed" sign.

I think that this paradigm of service and satisfaction deserves more examination on my part. I am here on this planet to serve; it does not matter whether I am satisfied or not: my role is to act as a servant for others in every area of life. So I have to go forward and serve, regardless of my satisfaction.

It's true that a satisfied servant does better work. But the servant has to find his own satisfaction first; he cannot count on those he serves to be satisfied, no matter how well he does his job.

This slowly developing sense of overall satisfaction that derives from the state of the organism itself leads me to "do" less and less than I used to. Many of the urges that I used to have to make art, play guitar, and so on, don't seem that important. Just the direct, ordinary experience of whatever is happening in life at that moment seems to be quite sufficient to produce enough stimulation and satisfaction. I come home intending to play some guitar, and at the end of the evening I find out I haven't done that, and it doesn't bother me. I don't feel I have missed anything, and I don't feel guilty. This is so unlike me that it is difficult to explain.

My original group leader, who brought me into the work many years ago, is in her mid-80s, and has similar experiences. She told me not so long ago that she often sits around during the day feeling entirely satisfied just by absorbing the impressions of life around her, and that not much else really seems necessary. She expressed concern that maybe there was something wrong with this.

I don't think so. I think that in moments of this kind we reach a relationship with our essence, which takes in the impressions of the world quite directly, digests them, and understands that our purpose in service here is to perceive, not to deploy the weapon of our artifice on everything we encounter.

One final note in this somewhat rambling set of observations about satisfaction and service. This morning, I had a moment when I saw that it is entirely possible all we are is food for something higher, just as the parable about the magician's sheep in "in search of the miraculous" suggests. (illustration)

What if that is our role? Should we be frightened or frustrated? Should we feel useless or used?

I don't think so. If this is our only role--if this is how we must serve-- then, as servants, we must seek to do it well.

If we must be food for something, better we be food for Angels than food for swine.

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