I can’t know knowledge. Trying to know knowledge is My Head getting in the way of things. I can’t fix the fixer. If I have to tell the plumber how to fix my toilet, I never needed him. I don’t have to tell myself how to act because I already know. After all, I grew a heart and lungs and nervous system, well we all did it together, but I don’t remember reading about, or asking anybody else, how to do it…. it just happened. Like a child playing. So that’s why Today, I just fixed a hole where a rat got in. (Rain getting in is much more poetic, but the Beatles beat me to it).
The damn rat was in my kitchen , right there in front of me. I think he was scared because he didn’t see me at first. I think that , because I was scared because I didn’t see HIM at first. So he runs into this very small opening under the dishwasher.
So, Today, I pulled out the dishwasher. There are these tabs you have to bend down by pushing up and you can’t really see them. It’s very counterintuitive. Then there’s the water line to disconnect. I had to turn the nut on it about an eighth of a turn at a time because it was about a quarter inch off the ground. Very frustrating. Then , even though I turned both the hot and the cold water valves off under the sink, where I could plainly see the water supply for the dishwasher was connected , the water started gushing out as soon as ( I should say, “as late as”, it took Forever) I got the nut loose. Some genius put a 3rd, separate shut off BEHIND the hot water shut off that could only be seen with a high powered telescope. But I found it, damn it, because I was in the moment:)
I finally got the dishwasher out of it’s comfort zone and vacuumed up rat turds. Nothing counterintuitive about that. I plugged holes with steel wool. I screwed wood over gaps. I cut, measured, and fitted. All in attempt to make nature fit my needs. Does the rat have any less business here tan I do? But Today I played the role of the arrogant human. I can totally blame this on my wife. There’s no way she can live in the house with a rat. So I HAD to do it. Please understand. Well, really on second thought, there’s plenty of room outside for the rat. I’m only claiming a few square feet of ground for my house and he can take all the rest. That’s definitely fair.
I got it all buttoned back up and now the rat can live peacefully UNDER the house. It was an amazing experience. I learned a thing or two about rats, dishwashers and steel wool. I borrowed tools from a friend and pleased my wife. I learned you need exactly forty seven tools to perform a fairly simple task. I learned that there are plugs and wires that go to nowhere under the counter. What a great day, happens all the time.
I just pulled the Crème Fraiche from my fridge and ate a couple spoons full. To say that it was a Dessert would be true but totally inadequate. To say that it was Beautiful would be closer to the truth. To say that it is a nectar of the gods might touch on the essence of it. Another miracle. Another ordinary day.
More bread today. St Patrick’s Day is coming up so I’m making Irish soda bread for our friends and family. Today was a single small loaf to make sure it would come out well. I think I’ll make it just a tad bit wetter and add a touch more baking soda for the actual performance. Making Irish soda bread isn’t quite as magical as bread baking but it’s a very good excuse to eat raisins and bread together.
I’ve planted some herb seeds and I have to water them twice a day to keep them moist. There’s nothing better than walking out to the yard from the kitchen with a pair of scissors and snipping my own herbs. The bed gets watered and the sun is warm , the day is bright and breezy, and each time I water I look closely to see if the first seedling has emerged yet. Not yet. But when it does, talk about magic! A complete plant from a seed, just add water!. It’s the miracle of birth in the plant kingdom, happens all the time.
Here in Florida we have a little bit easier time with growing things. There are many plants that I can simply take a cutting and stick it in moist soil and it grows. Just skip the seed part. What a magical place we live in.
So far I have written about how to live in the moment. I write about IT, I think about IT, I think about writing about IT… and I read about IT, and when I (or you) think about THAT , I’m not DOING IT.
So no more bullshit dear readers.
Today I’m making bread. Making bread is magic. I will contend here and now that the smell of fresh bread baking tops the smell of bacon. You know I’m right. AND you don’t have to kill an animal to get it.
First there’s the starter that magically grows cultures from just flour and water. Then I get to make dough and the second it is combined enough to use my hands I knead it with my hands. I am actually feeling my food now. Then this magic ball rises in perfect uniformity and the wonder of the world is before my eyes, and if that’s not enough I get to feel it again by kneading and now shaping. Now I get to watch the magic a second time while the oven is heating.
Now the smells begin. Now the magic of my nose creates an aroma from water and flour and heat, and it lasts for a long time. The golden brown color is easy to get perfect, another visual treasure.
And the tasting of course is more smelling, and cutting (and or tearing), and seeing the color, and feeling the crust, and finally putting it in my mouth. This is absolutely exciting. I’m having a great day.
The voice in your head speaks and You, listen. So You, the listener, the knower, the observer, should be very discerning about what you pay attention to when your head speaks. Because it likes to babble.
Today my wife is away seeing a friend. That friend passed away. Today. When I found out I cried a little. We knew she was dying but it’s still hard. It’s hard because I was faced with my own death. I started thinking , what is it really like? when you know it’s really happening. Sounds selfish. I just hope she wasn’t really scared.
After I cried a little I had to go outside. I want to die outside. It’s probably a fantasy because I’m going to be scared shitless and run myself to a hospital. But if I’m lucky I’ll be home and not scared to death. I’ll say to the loved ones around me: ” just at least open every window in the house” or ” roll this wheelchair out the front door” so I can breathe the fresh air.
After I found out she had passed, I went outside and picked up the debris that was all over the yard because it was a windy day. I’ll never say I don’t like the wind again. How can I complain about wind when there are friends that will never experience it again? Being outside helped. It always helps. When I’m close to nature and not thinking any negative thoughts I feel like I’m helping. I’m adding to the goodness of the world. I’m thinking that my wife’s friend saw a white light. That’s what happens when you die. Prove me wrong.
My wife’s friend loves fresh food. She’s a foodie like me and my wife. I made bread this morning and thought of her because she was into making her own bread too. So after I came inside from crying and picking up the debris, I started cooking. I started cooking a meal that I had more or less planned out before I found out that my wife’s friend had died.
But as I prepared it I started thinking that I was being selfish again. How could I enjoy a fine fresh meal when she had just suffered through her last breath? So then I thought I wasn’t going to eat it. I would just cook it all up. She would have loved this meal. I would keep it warm for my wife in case she makes it back home tonight, but my wife won’t have much of an appetite.
But it was coming out really well. She would have loved it. It was all finished just sitting on the stove getting better as all the flavors melded and became the perfect temperature. I ate it, and I like to think my wife’s friend and I had the meal together.
Dear Alan Watts,
I know you’re dead and I’m sorry you didn’t even reach the age of 60. But of course dying wasn’t a big deal for you. You knew that we are all connected and that life is one big happy dance that has a myriad of different faces. My face and your face and the faces of every plant and animal, and the faces of all the stars and galaxies are all a reflection of our united consciousness .
I get what your saying! For a second. Then it slips away. I mean Alan, really, can we really ever think that we don’t have to hold on to this life tooth and nail? I know , we have to transcend all that wanting… but it’s so hard.
But I’m trying. I mean, no I’m not, because like you said if your trying to live in the moment, then your not. This is a really difficult thing to do .There I go again, I shouldn’t be “doing” anything right? I should just be.
Ok, let me start over.
( I feel like we’re on a first name basis now that I’ve exposed such weakness to you)
Thank you for your great philosophical books and lectures. You really brought an awareness to my mind that might have otherwise been missed.
My interest in your work stemmed from my interest in cosmology. Cosmology seemed like the ultimate science: Explaining the Universe! Wow that’s the ultimate subject. I read about stars and galaxies and the speed of light. But the study of the Universe leads past science because it brings up questions that are unanswerable by science. Questions like “what is infinity?”. And especially: “how can observing a particle change it’s position?”.
These are questions that are philosophical in nature. But the interesting thing is Alan, that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a correct answer to them. The answer seems to lie in… Our consciousness. The answer is… the world, the universe is, it is, as we perceive it. The answer is “In Your Head”. The Universe is all right there. It reminds me of a quote in The Book that I’ll paraphrase: “we don’t need to travel out in space because a smart scientist knows we’re already way out in space” . Very insightful on your part.
But getting back to living in the moment. How does all this help me live in the moment? I feel enlightened being aware of all this but I somehow still can’t help longing for stuff, you know? But on the other hand, there are times like this that I’m doing something that feels useful, that I enjoy, and that I feel grateful that I have the time and ability to do it. My mind is 100 percent on the subject and for this moment anyway, I’m living in it. Hey! Thanks for that Alan. Now I have to go wash the dishes.