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Happy. Is there a problem with that?

March 23, 2021

34 of 40

How happy is the little Stone

That rambles in the Road alone,

And doesn’t care about Careers

And Exigencies never fears—

Whose Coat of elemental Brown

A passing Universe put on,

And independent as the Sun

Associates or glows alone,

Fulfilling absolute Decree

In casual simplicity—

Emily Dickinson

My great Grandmother Summey, never met, is reputed to have said: “Would you rather be a pig satisfied, or a human, unsatisfied?”

I sometimes long for pig status.

This morning I had it. Had I expiated guilt via another full weekend of work? Had an ethical dinner done the trick? Well, I did have chocolate cake. But no booze.

The night proceeded like any other – moans in dreams so pronounced that my wife assumed that I had leg cramps. I did not, I was just fully lost in the Yale Architecture School, with no hope of exit. Then the start awake at 1AM (like all of us). And then 4 full, hours, in sleep, ended by listening to some organ, happily.

What had I done wrong?

Nothing. And nothing right, either. I was given a good half night. It’s scarcity leads me to question it. But I did not make it, ask for it, or earn it. It just was.

Zen, to me, is totally bogus in the waking hours.

The scales of just retribution and reward are fully unknowable and completely self serving. As Philosopher Summey opined, we are all “unsatisfied” or we are pigs.

But, like Emily Dickinson, we know those stones in the road. Not the 4 tons of them I carefully arrayed in full exhaustion to fringe my driveway in artful self-justification. No, the random, unplaced, uncelebrated, unreasoned rock that simply sits there, like the pig, satisfied.

Well for that wake up moment I was a pig. Rather than pig out in this Year of Lent, we have had a flood of horrific dreams, most of us, and insomnia, suicides, overdoses, abuse. And mostly fear. We have been fully unsatisfied by our complete inabilities.

The Yin of our completely unjustifiable existence, has the Yang of God’s Creation. Like the maddening balance of Zen, these are not two things, but The Thing. Unlike Cher, I will never, ever, “Get Over It!” As the other Great Philosopher Mick Jagger put it, “I can’t get no satisfaction, and I try, and I try, and I try.”

But I did wake up this morning in a sty. That’s enough for now.

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