Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Hiatus Sweet Spots

As I've been enjoying my hiatus -- really, a whole lot -- I've been reacquainting myself with some of the simple joys of life.

Just today I was out on the lawn with the dog, thinking of the simple joys. Like flower buds, maple seeds, mosquitoes. Once in a while it suddenly hits me that it all works together. The maple seeds scatter all over the place profligately. Life's basic desire is to put out a half million seeds to maybe get one tree. It's sort of like Dad and Mom's great desire to reproduce -- with Dad having how many countless cells swimming and they ended up with me.

So I'm happy to be here, but I guess if I weren't here there wouldn't be anyone here (me) to feel sad about it. In a way it doesn't make much sense to say I'm happy to be here, since whatever happiness I have is very much a conditioned and conditional thing. I think of this whenever I hear people say -- like I believe I heard somewhere just yesterday -- people complaining about getting old "but it's better than the alternative."

Anyway, for whatever reason, vain or not, and I tend to think the universe has a right to enjoy itself, there I am, rhapsodizing, pensive, mulling, and appreciative -- then of course my dog takes a crap. I'm suddenly on edge because she's maintaining the hunch a little too long, meaning there might be a blockage, and meaning I might be called upon to shake her entire backside, then perhaps do some cleanup spritzing with the sink sprayer. But it's all part of life, which, while not the most enjoyable part, at least contributes to her happiness in not having to walk around the rest of the year with encrustation.

In all my rhapsodizing and mulling today I've been thinking of life's sweet spots. And if it weren't for this hiatus, I'd be right in the thick of the rat race and not fully aware, so that's a sweet spot right there. There's so many sweet spots it'd be impossible to list them all. Everything seems to have one. Like say you're pumping water. The pump is rusty and it's making a whining noise. You pump it up and down and can hear the various workings down there. With a little more work, you sense a fullness and presence and you know the workings have made contact with the water. There's a slight rush and definitely a sweet spot of knowledge when you know the water will be pouring out ... now.

I mentioned the dog going to the pot. We do it too, like taking a number one. That's just like the pump in the yard, especially when you get older, being rusty and taking work. When you're a baby, you're just peeing in your diaper. Then you're a slightly older kid, the on switch is no problem. You're peeing, laughing with your friends, messing up the side of the barn. But you get older and it can be tougher to get started. Especially like in a gas station toilet where you have several big truckers to your left and right standing over a six foot trough. Which hasn't happened to me lately, since 1) I try to avoid all such experiences; 2) They've retired most of the troughs now and have gone to your basic individual wall fixtures. So anyway, let's say it's sometimes hard to get started. It's partly mental. But then something happens, and you suddenly notice a sweet spot right in the center of your brain, and a full release is now your blessing.

I would love to study the phenomenon of sweet spots further. It's like they're peak experiences that could probably be multiplied. I think Zen is really a philosophy of sweet spots, but in that it's different from our Western distinctions of pleasure and pain, good and bad; in Zen you're seeing everything as a sweet spot. How they can see this entirely is beyond me at this point, because I still think their feelings would be the same as ours, and that pleasure would be a more objectively true sweet spot than pain. Like a mosquito to the neck. How is that a sweet spot? Maybe it's a sweet spot because mosquitoes have to eat too.

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