Monday, April 7, 2008

Self-centeredness...

I've been reading Everyday Zen. I'm finding that it isn't as accessible or impactful as Nothing Special (by the same author) that I so enjoyed last year. Anyway, it still makes me think and one of the things it is making me think about is self-centeredness and the amount of time in which a person spends thinking about themselves and how things affect them, bother them, etc. Daydreaming about the future (and all about ME and what I'm going to do), thinking about the past (and about ME and what someone else did or didn't do and how that impacted ME), etc. It is remarkable once I've started trying to label my thoughts (the author suggests labeling thoughts exactly, so, not just, "thinking, thinking, thinking," but "thinking about my haircut" or whatever), how many have to be labeled, "thinking about myself." It was embarrassing at first, but as I thought about it more (about ME and thinking about ME, LOL!), I realized that I think it is a normal and common thought pattern. I don't think I'm an abnormally self-centered person. Also, I am me, living my little life, and so it is also reasonable that my thoughts would include thoughts about me, since it is me thinking them? (or, is it? Since, I suppose maybe there is not really any self [or me] at all....This is what ties my brain up in knots and then makes me want to stop reading books like this and ditch Zen approaches to life altogether!). Anyway, simply realizing how often I have to label a thought, "thinking about myself..." has been eyeopening. It is also really interesting to me how the process of labeling *poof* evaporates the thought (and then I am left with "now" and "what is really happening" or "life as it is," which I suppose is the goal. Except, there is no "goal," just life as it is. There goes my head again!! ;-)

Okay, so the whole point of my post was to share that I'm reading this book and doing this thinking and what should my $1 Shop Zen calendar produce for this weekend's quote?!

"Keep your heart clear and transparent
And you will never be bound.
A single disturbed thought, though,
Creates ten thousand distractions.
Let myriad things captivate you
And you'll go further and further astray.
How painful to see people
All wrapped up in themselves."

--Ryokan

So, I thought that was fitting. How many times to I create "ten thousand distractions" too. Lots! Since I've been struggling with having too many interests and too many projects/things to do recently too, this also spoke to me on that level.

Then, lest I become too completely wrapped in too much thinking, analyzing, trying to be perfect, trying to figure out ultimate reality, etc. there was this quote on my calendar:

"My advice is not to inquire
why or whither, but just enjoy your
ice cream while it's on your plate."

--Thornton Wilder

This was just what I needed. What did I do without my $1 Shop Zen calendar before? I love this thing! :-D

1 comment:

Sheridan said...

This is really interesting. I got up early this morning, I couldn't sleep because I was "thinking" about my 10 year olds school situation and what we should do. I think maybe homeschool, but when I think about homeschooling, I think about ME, how it will effect ME. It will just give ME more things to do.

Your post gave me pause and I will try to think of it from a different perspective and see if that changes how I feel about it.