Thursday, March 17, 2011

on the eve of a big trip.

The woman beside me on my morning commute posted to Facebook this morning about two people on our train car--one who was obese, one who was anorexic. I'd noticed both of them when they'd gotten on the train this morning, but hadn't thought to blog about them until I snuck a peek over the shoulder of my bench buddy and noticed she was making some pithy, witty comment about them and the fact that only in the U.S. do we have health problems like anorexia and obesity. I found her attitude about the whole thing rather uncharitable. What if the woman (women) had some thyroid problem(s) that made it impossible for them to take weight off/put weight on? Fat people and ugly people do have it prejudicially worse than just about anyone in this country; maybe they have enough trouble fitting into toilet stalls and avoiding fainting all day long, and they don't need any of us to comment on them on our blogs or Facebook pages. If we can't think something compassionate about them, then maybe who gives a fuck what's on our minds this morning.
So,
the following is lingering from the second read of a book that, the first time I read, I was too young, and ignorant, to understand. This time around, as a piece of writing, and as a comment on knowledge, relationship and the human mind, it falls on me quite differently. I've been trying to finish it before I get on a plane tomorrow morning (at the God-awful hour of 7 am), and bring instead a collection of Mavis Gallant stories I'm working through (thank God) rather slowly; but now, twenty or so pages from the end, I might just reread it again, from the top, and think again about the writing, the voice of the teller, the use of punctuation, the way we get to see everyone in the midst of a scene as the scene moves. I don't know if this is a great teaching tool, as books go, but it's an interesting book. And I share a love of it with the lady I'm visiting this weekend, so that's another reason not to leave it behind.

You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working. Never give way to laziness, either.
Perform every action with your heart fixed on the Supreme Lord. Renounce attachment to the fruits. Be even-tempered [underlined by one of the calligraphers] in success and failure; for it is this evenness of temper which is meant by yoga.
Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work down without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahman. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.
--"Bhagavad Gita"...
O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!
--Issa. ...
God instructs the heart, not by ideas but by pains and contradictions.
--De Caussade. ...
"Don't you want to join us?" I was recently asked by an acquaintance when he ran across me alone after midnight in a coffeehouse that was already almost deserted. "No, I don't," I said.
--Kafka.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you.