George Gray

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One of the surprising little books I came across many years ago in my tenure as an under-grad was the book “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters. The story, which is actually a collection of poems, is read in first person by people (all 212 of them) who inhabited a Midwest town in the early 1900s.
This morning, after consuming a short snippet of Neil deGrasse Tyson asking Larry King “if you could live forever, would you?”, I was reminded of George Gray, a character in the book.

The sentences below have haunted me ever since I was introduced to them.

“I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me–
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire–
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.”

If you know the book, you’ll know that all of the characters have died. Some rant, complain, gossip, pontificate, or in George’s case, which is the worse, in my opinion: regret. He lies pondering his life as he looks up at his tombstone: “the marble chiseled for me”. Chilling.

Somos humanidade – We are humanity

Somos humanidade — We are humanity

My son is in high school and this semester he’s taking a class in sociology. Of course when I asked him what the class was about, he said it was the study of society… duh (I need to drag him deeper to come up with a more sophisticated answer). Sociology isn’t just studying society, it is how we are connected and how the choices we make affect each other and our environment, whether we want them to or not. No one is passive in this relationship.

I love Ted Talks. So it was easy enough to google “sociology ted talk” and click on a link. The first link to pop up was “The wisdom of sociology” by Sam Richards, a sociologist at Penn State. He also has one called “Radical experiment in empathy” which sounds pretty cool. I’ll check that one out next.

My son and I sat for 19 minutes in silence as Sam talked bout the invisible web of Sociology. The interconnectedness of people. Connections that can’t be seen with the naked eye but are nonetheless there. Underlying, unavoidable patterns. The conclusion being: we are never truly alone. Even as personal of a decision as one might think suicide is, it can not be extrapolated from the society from which that person inhabits. A person can not be outside of society and a society can not exist without the person. Kind of makes me think about “free will” and whether or not we can truly have any. Does a red blood cell have free will? Hmm.

At the end, my son had a bit of a hard time putting it all together, but I feel he has a deeper knowing even if he doesn’t realize it. If nothing else, he can now go into his class and have something to share.

As I sat alone, hours later, I thought a bit deeper about what Sam was saying. Sociology. It’s a science, right? Hmm. I’m not so sure. The interconnectedess can be described as a collective unconsciousness. A feeling. An energy. A spirit. A vibration. Is this “science” or perhaps spirituality?

I dunno. I’m sitting in my office alone… or am I? 🙂

puzzle

 

Nature boy

“Ego is the glue that holds soul into body”

I was introduced via podcast to Guru Singh recently. He attributed the above quote to Yogi Bhajan, whom I currently do not know. A lot of times I see or hear people talking about getting rid of the ego, suppressing the ego, or letting the ego “go”. We would die without the ego and it is there to protect us. But like a petulant child, it can drive us crazy when it is overactive. I guess this is why meditation works and focusing on breathing allows the ego to, in a sense, take a nap. It will never go away, so make friends with it. Care for it. Understand its nature.

Ego… you bitch!

What are you noticing? What is different? What is changing?

As cathartic as these questions can be, the use of inquisitive words, such as “why” can be nonconstructive, such as “why is this happening to me?”. The ego is a trickster. It is tricking you into dismissing your journey, thoughts, feelings as something that isn’t ‘you’. Trust yourself, being mindful of the words you speak as they not only align you with your frequency, but also have the ability to CREATE reality.

The term “self fulfilling prophecy” has been heard by all of us, but we don’t listen. Hearing without listening. My kids do this all the time. When I hear them say they’re a failure at school/sports/whatever, I have to stop them. Those words have more meaning than they understand. OR, if there is a deeper knowing within my kids, the ego is tricking them to play it safe. Success is a heavy burden.

Have you ever gone blank when trying to remember a name, or during a presentation completely lost track of what the heck you were talking about? Just when you had the perfect(ess) thing to say… blank. Nothing. That’s the ego. She is a cruel mistress.

For 44 years, I have dismissed myself. Going forward, my intention is work from within my deeper knowing and choosing action that honors that.

Maybe, it seems, I think, I believe

These words are killing me! It seems I have a problem with commitment. I believe I may have an issue. Maybe it’s me. I think therefore I am?

These “non-committal” words are poisonous. And I seem to use them way too often. The language we use, even when talking to ourselves, matters. How does it make you feel when the doctor says “I think I know what is wrong with you” or if a mechanic were to say “Maybe it’s your fan belt”. You feel unsure. Un-trusting. You are left in an amorphous cloud of WTF!

The way out of this is awareness. Aware that I (you) am (are) using these words to make damn sure I (we) can remain lazy and not get too uncomfortable. the-stranger