Thursday, December 14, 2006
Finding all the value
Life is a prickly process. A lot of it seems irritating or boring. Prickly and boring invariably provokes fear, and a run-away response.
Most of this is a product of my sleep. Every time I come back to myself I'm surprised to see that I have forgotten that the value is right here. When I dream, all the value is out there, somewhere else. The value of people is elsewhere. The value of things, events, and circumstances is outsourced to some ephemeral future date when what is later will be better than what is now -which I am not paying attention to.
At such times I couldn't even find the value in the moment of now if I wanted to. I'm not there for it. I have already dismissed it. What a shock it is to realize that the only moment there is is now, and that I am forever dismissing it. I don't honor the moment. I don't try to make it sacred through appreciation. Instead I depreciate it, which was hardly the intention I began with. I mean, I don't (at least I hope I don't) get up in the morning thinking about how I am going to mark down the various moments of the day to the cheapest possible price. But the red pen comes out early in the day drawing lines through everything I think is undesirable.
The other mistake I seem to make a lot is in assigning different classes of value. This part of life is good, that one isn't. So I'd rather be in this part than that one, or that one than this one, and so on. My value becomes a function of my dreams and my subjective ideas about how things ought to be arranged. I always want to be elsewhere so I'm never here. It's perverse: I want to get value out of life, but I am not paying into life with the hard coin of attention to the present moment.
In order to change any of this I need to find all the value. Not just the value I think I want, but the value that is actually there. So I have to accept everything I encounter as having a value of some kind. That is to say, there has to be a paradigm shift in which I finally see that everything is worth something. The only worthless moments are the ones I fail to invest attention in, and they are only worthless because I have made them worthless. In and of themselves they are completely valuable, completely true. What is false is me.
When I invest in now- that is, clothe myself in it- I generally see right away that it has a value I have forgotten. The value is always there. It's me that's not there.
Instead of assigning value willy-nilly, I think I have to become more willing to let life itself assign the value, and show up to register it.
Inner gravity can help with this. It gradually becomes a force that rejects less material and draws more in. Draws it in with the air, depositing a fine material within the body that appreciates life in a way the ordinary mind doesn't.
Every breath that I can physically locate my value in is a blessing. It just takes time.
Time, and attention.