I’ve been pretty sick lately. Due partly to arthritis, partly to two chronic sleep disorders, partly to who knows what else, I haven’t been in deep sleep in about two months. As a result I have migraines nearly every minute of the day and can barely function. My mind is like a boat in fog. I haven’t been out of the house in over a week.
My very dear friend Charlie (he of the amazing poetry, magic camera, and sagely teeshirt slogans) wrote to me today:
I hope you will be doing better soon. I don’t like you to suffer.
I’m not exactly suffering. It’s interesting. My body can hardly move, it hurts like hell when I roll over in bed, I have a migraine 24/7, I haven’t been out of the house in almost two weeks … and right now I’m as happy as a clam.
Maybe those old dead guys were on to something when they said, “You are not your body or your mind or your feelings.” I don’t especially feel that I’m one thing or another but maybe that’s the explanation.
Looks like your sadhana is working well if you’re able to be settled and peaceful in the midst of that physical discomfort. I admire that. 🙂
I answered him:
Whatever I got, it surely wasn’t from sadhana. 🙂 I barely ever did any. Well, I hardly ever did any voluntary sadhana. Involuntary sadhana — that’s something else. This situation is lucky in a way but it’s about as admirable as having toenails that grow. I can’t take credit. It’s not something I’m responsible for. 🙂
The Goddess told me the reason I got what I got was simply because I wanted it. I had a desire for God and the desire for God is automatically self-fulfilling. That is its nature. I never chose that desire. Nobody chooses their desires. Desires are given to us not chosen. Put those two ideas together and I suppose we can call them “grace.”
When I was about 24 [40 years ago] I wrote a song with a chorus that went like this:
You can’t want what you want to want
You only want what your heart’s got
A-throbbing and a-kicking and a-burning and a-beating
Inside it’s fevered hot spot
Hot spot! Hot spot!
No idea what made me write that song — oh yes I do, it was John Bailey’s book about Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina. Bailey says something like, “Anna Karenina is one of the few great novels of which it can be said, it has a simple moral, like a fable. The moral is, ‘Getting what you want doesn’t make you happy.'” At the time I was a typical 20th century American pseudo-educated person and all I could think was, “Wow, that’s the exact opposite of what Sigmund Freud says!” Being a typical 20th century American pseudo-educated person, I knew Freud but not Buddha. I didn’t know that Tolstoy was only saying what Buddha had said, and what many other of the wisest humans in our whole history had said.
But despite my ignorance I recognized that Bailey’s remark was very profound and still remember it 40 years later. But how did I get from there to the fact that the objects of our desire aren’t voluntarily chosen? I must have thought about this stuff a great deal. That was probably one of the things that pushed me toward spiritual things.