Accidental Enlightenment

March 12, 1997

I have recently come to another of those cool realizations. I have been unknowingly leading a very Zen-like life for the last few months. In short, "I desire nothing. I have all that I desire. I am content." Of course, it's not quite that simple. If it were, I could just as well be a vegetable. But desire is the focus of these thoughts. Two weeks ago, though there was no situational change, I became unhappy. I also noticed the return of my desires at that time, though I made only vague and quickly-forgotten connections. Last night, I watched a performance by Ellipsis, a band composed of friends of mine. They were beyond awesome. I don't know whether I've ever gotten so into the music, and its aspects. And I understood them, and the songs, and each instrumental part, and was at the same time amazed by the quality of the playing. I grokked. The intensity of the experience was such that I was thrown forcibly (though unknowingly) back into my "Be here now" attitude. I was suddenly happy again.

Today, while just starting to read the Tao Te Ching, something clicked, and I understood what had happened, and why. And I realized the answer to a dilemma that I had posed to myself back in December. (The dilemma was: If enlightenment (Satori, specifically) causes one to no longer have goals, does seeking it constitute a betrayal of those goals one has? This is made worse because wisdom is a goal, its culmination presumably being Satori. Where does happiness even come from, once in such a state?) I now see that I can still put huge efforts into mighty projects, strive for things, and find happiness, all in the absence of desire. It changes little, except to make me more comfortable with what I have, and to strengthen my existentialist nature. This is changing a lot after all.

I feel like I was absent for my own enlightenment. :-)

For some of you, I'm sure I've said nothing that is new. But I felt like sharing a glimpse of one of my steps away from the cradle.

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