|Given: we are all deeply immersed in
ourselves and in the world.
And the immersion does lead to certain rewards, certain pleasures. Who is to gainsay us
the pleasure of rest after a hard days work, the ineffable beauty of a recording of
Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations, the thrill of a perfect lay-up on a par 5
hole, the heart filled with joy as a child graduates from college?
Think for a moment about the path, the way to those moments. It seems, more often than
not, to be either a hectic freeway filled with rambunctious drivers and lined with raucous
brightly colored signs, or a barely cleared jungle path full of brambles and surrounded by
dark glades where who knows what terrifying beasts lurk.
Here we are, with little time and less energy for paying attention to anything but the
next step, and the next. Often, we round a corner and encounter marvels, wonders,
experiences which, as we put it, "make life worth living." But also often, we
round a corner and fall into misery, deceit, despair, experiences which make us doubt our
own value and that of the world.
Is it possible, in our headlong rush toward a goal which is at best only vaguely defined,
to ease the way? Is there something we can do, internally, silently, at any moment, at any
place, on such a helter-skelter, baffling path? Extraordinary minds who came long before
us have left clues and, at times, even rather specific instructions which seem to indicate
the burdens can be eased, the path made, if not straighter then at least more
comprehensible, a little more bearable.
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