Every morning I awaken torn between the desire to save the world and the inclination to savor it.
— E. B. White
I've made a big deal about my mostly Buddhist spiritual path during the past couple of years ... searching for answers, searching for comfort, searching for inner strength, searching for the ethical rules I should follow ... searches that kicked into higher gear a few months after my father died ...
A couple weeks ago I decided to face, skip beyond, and then deconstruct a couple of the most difficult emotional obstacles limiting my life: existential fear and existential guilt. Afterward, I began to feel deeply calm.
Then I began to feel a paradoxical joy at my own unimportance. That's Thomas Merton's fault:
I think the chief reason why we have so little joy is that we take ourselves too seriously ... to penetrate the truth of how utterly unimportant we are is the only thing that can set us free to enjoy true happiness.
We are often a self-important species, viewing ourselves as the highest of life forms, making claims that we have personal relationships with the Creator, worrying about apocalypse and striving to build utopias. Maintaining elaborate portfolios of opinion and belief, we construct systematic and detailed methods for attaining peace and tranquility.
We don't have to become monks to see how silly and unimportant we humans truly are ;-)
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