Busy per the usual. Did you read about Times Square this past weekend? Dudes, I. was. there. And then somehow the next day I found myself swept up by a little vortex of luck and serendipity that dropped me into the middle of a surprise visit by a Buddhist meditation master where I heard a sober call to action for sanity and wisdom in these transitional times. This followed by a bop on the top of the head as blessing to those of us in attendance. Afterwards standing shoulder to shoulder with these 100 or so folks and saying hello through a sea of elbows to some faces I hadn't seen in a decade, but no time for proper catch up as I had a train to catch.
Coming back home after what felt like a year of adventures whose nature I couldn't quite fully grasp was a difficult transition. As though I had aged 100 years in a weekend and now my own people felt strange and far off. But unlike Betty, I have not settled into unnamed satisfaction:
Betty was ambitious from age twelve at least. She would have fame and respect. Most of all she would have wonderful affairs with rebels and poets.
She learned to settle. She would have a stable relationship with Ralph and work hard to produce one thing worthwhile.
Now she is fifty-one and everything has finally come apart. No money, and no safety net. No time to start again. Ralph’s not coming back, she realized that yesterday.
It’s Sunday morning and she’s in bed with a cup of tea. Staring at the wall, wondering why she feels so satisfied.
Onward, now, word-nerds. The new prompt from this quote I ran across from Aldous Huxley and I rather liked it:
'There are quiet places also in the mind', he said meditatively. 'But we build bandstands and factories on them. Deliberately — to put a stop to the quietness. ... All the thoughts, all the preoccupations in my head — round and round, continually What's it for? What's it all for? To put an end to the quiet, to break it up and disperse it, to pretend at any cost that it isn't there. Ah, but it is; it is there, in spite of everything, at the back of everything. Lying awake at night — not restlessly, but serenely, waiting for sleep — the quiet re-establishes itself, piece by piece; all the broken bits ... we've been so busily dispersing all day long. It re-establishes itself, an inward quiet, like the outward quiet of grass and trees. It fills one, it grows — a crystal quiet, a growing, expanding crystal. It grows, it becomes more perfect; it is beautiful and terrifying ... For one's alone in the crystal, and there's no support from the outside, there is nothing external and important, nothing external and trivial to pull oneself up by or stand on ... There is nothing to laugh at or feel enthusiast about. But the quiet grows and grows. Beautifully and unbearably. And at last you are conscious of something approaching; it is almost a faint sound of footsteps. Something inexpressively lovely and wonderful advances through the crystal, nearer, nearer. And, oh, inexpressively terrifying. For if it were to touch you, if it were to seize you and engulf you, you'd die; all the regular, habitual daily part of you would die .... one would have to begin living arduously in the quiet, arduously in some strange, unheard of manner.
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