Gulping down undigested experiences

fingers,

As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?


Notes:

Comments

  1. I hate it when you post something like this and I recognize myself in the lines. I’m not completely oblivious

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  2. it is amazing, isn’t it? and i love the answer, ‘”t would take me forever to tell you, and i am much to interested in what is happening now.”

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  3. Darn, hit post too soon. 😔 Anyhoo, not completely oblivious, but realize that I’m not as tuned in as I’d like to be. I find that getting out of my normal environs makes me appreciate the seemingly pedestrian much more– found myself watching geckos hunt bugs, spiders weave webs, and the world sail by much more carefully on that tiny little island we visited recently. Now to keep that sense of presence with me…

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    • Oh Friend, the post, this one, most of them are speaking to me, the words, between the lines, under the lines. I need to bathe in them. And I agree, change of location, change of drive, change of time, all enable me to see things in a much different and fresh light.

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  4. Love Alan’s work and his voice transports me to another place. He always makes me realise I havent even touched the surface of understanding and knowledge! Oh well, Im young lol 🙂

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  5. I read this nodding…yes, yes, yes…and I test myself sometimes (as silly as that sounds) – what did I notice in the day, what food did I particularly savor, what did I see outside that changed from the day before…I know, it’s a little goofy, but if works for me..

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    • I was nodding along with each word and line too…and chanting, “need to do more” “need to do better” “need to do more”. Good for you to notice. You are well down path of enlightenment. As to noticing or “seeing” – your comment reminded me of:

      The best use of literature bends not toward the narrow and the absolute but to the extravagant and the possible. Answers are no part of it; rather, it is the opinions, the rhapsodic persuasions, the engrafted logics, the clues that are to the mind of the reader the possible keys to his own self-quarrels, his own predicament. This is the crux of Emerson, who does not advance straight ahead but wanders to all sides of an issue; who delivers suggestions with a kindly gesture—who opens doors and tells us to look at things for ourselves. The one thing he is adamant about is that we should look—we must look—for that is the liquor of life, that brooding upon issues, that attention to thought even as we weed the garden or milk the cow.

      ~ Mary Oliver, Emerson: An Introduction. Long Life: Essays and Other Writings (Da Capo Press. 2005)

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  6. I’m reminded of that promotional campaign that Disneyland did years ago. Someone would ask a person who had immediately before done something great (win a Nobel prize, win a grand slam, etc.,) what they were doing next and the person would answer, “I’m going to Disneyland!”. Someone even made a song out of it. How about, ” I’m going to savor this for awhile? ” instead?

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  7. Wow! I am bolting my life…very well said. What brilliance. I will take this with me today and amble to do better 🙂

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  8. Reblogged this on THE STRATEGIC LEARNER.

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  9. Love this perspective from Alan Watts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Soul searching, thoughtful posts always make me feel guilty. I do remember seeing snowflakes gently falling out my morning window; the tart taste of saurkraut and the garlicy wisp of homemade polish sausage; and cuddling with Tom Cat as I fell asleep. But that’s only yesterday. The day before? Gets fuzzier by the moment.

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  11. Alan Watts. passage made me think of individual(s) choice and their impact, generationally.
    Unfortunately, Life has a way of overwhelming many. A gradual development becomes a sneaky allowance of losing the quality of inward and outward life. People sigh, falter and loss the strength to make affirming positive life choices. At the same time, People have a hunger to connect to others. I think that for some making a needed attitude shift towards slowing down, garnering their strength and choosing to be Grateful & Joyful. The challenge is to look at your past, your current life and forward and to recognizing the gift of Life and the Beauty and Joy in it. This must happen! Otherwise, the influence of an exhaustive, empty life leaves our children learning that there, is no marvelous beauty, spontaneous joy or hope. Children have such a bright energy, thirst for wonder & not doing our best for them leaves them devoid of wonder at an early age.and a future so uncertain..We all must nurture ourselves & others. We must engage in whole hearted -laughter, outside activities, traditions & exercise compassion and extend kindness. Alan Watts is correct marvelous patterns exist in our environment.(I myself love watching the development of a Sunflower head, there is much power in a seed) I know that there are also patterns in our approach to life, that we pass forward. No one should miss out on living a full, My heart if filled with Joy listening to the infectious laughter lofting down the hall from my daughter room, I am, Grateful.

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  12. Christie says:

    Thank you 🙂 You’ve made me blush. Thanks for over looking the punctuation errors, typos and a word omission.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This has me a bit speechless. There is stunning truth in these words. My worldview is slightly different, so when he says, “How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god?”, I think, (after I sober up, as I get drunk on the beauty of the words), not of myself as a god- but of myself as a magnificent creation, which has been intricately designed by the God of all creation. I stifle my potential and I do gulp my experiences. If only I could tap into a full percentage of what is available to me. Thank you for sharing this… It will change me. I posted a video today- which I had seen several days ago, featuring the words of Alan Watts. You have probably seen it- as a million others have- and maybe you have even posted it in the last two years- it is a commentary on culture.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. p.s. perfect illustration to go with it!!

    Liked by 1 person

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