October 8 — Day 15
This morning as I surfaced to consciousness, the usual thought tapes started playing: experiences of the past, regrets, unhappy thoughts. Then all of a sudden, without my input, an idea presented itself as a way to deal with these. As I tried to actively replace unpleasant stuff with more upbeat thoughts, a checklist suddenly appeared. It was like one of those “Jobs to do” lists we stick on the fridge, only instead of items like “laundry” “floors” “pick up birthday card,” there were items like “memory of saying X” “Regret about not going to party,” and “What I shouldn’t have said to my boss,” for example. Just as an animated program shows us how to access various computer features, words were printed in front of me and a check mark was put next to each item. My mind was showing me how to deal with unpleasant thoughts — just check them off as “done” and add pleasant thoughts to the list. Amazing feature of the mind! I tried it and thought up some nice thoughts and, hey presto, my whole mood changed just like that.
Before I went to sleep last night, I was reading a book about an American who became a martial arts expert and was ordained as a Daoist monk in China in midlife. He wrote about physical and mental feats of strength, flexibility, and endurance that were truly astonishing. Many of his exploits turned me off, frankly, as he was a real “tough guy” kind of writer. I’m not into physical fighting. I suppose if you’re training to be a grand master of the various schools of martial arts though, sooner or later you’re going to be fighting people who will hit you hard if you don’t hit them first.
One thing I liked about the Daoist philosophy that he wrote about was the belief that all life is equal. The trees in my garden are as important as I am. It’s basically a pantheistic kind of thinking that avers the sacredness of all life and demands that everything be treated with respect for its true nature. That lets fracking out then.
Thinking about the idea that all life is equal and that everything in the universe is alive (and what do they mean by that?) I had a wasp buzzing around me in my kitchen yesterday. I tried to encourage it to leave, but it preferred to stay. I was going to hunt it down and “liberate” it, but then I thought to just leave it. If I accidentally got stung, then OK. However it wasn’t heard from again until this morning. As I was chopping apples, it started buzzing around me with a definite interest in the apples. This time I was able to open the back door and encourage it out. Afterwards I thought about this all-life-is-equal idea and wondered, is that wasp as important as me then?