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When the dust settles

I get bored easily. I can’t do the meditational thing and sit in a chair doing nothing. My mind feeds on constant activity. I need to be doing something at all times, even if it’s only thinking about doing something. This, of course, is the disease or dis-ease of the human animal. Those of us who haven’t spent the last twenty-five years contemplating the moment of our demise on a frozen lake, or sitting cross-legged in rooms filled with incense, simply can’t buy into the concept of doing nothing. It can’t be good for you.

Ambition is not a bad thing in itself. Without it there would be no great works of Art, no architectural wonders and no Burger King. All these creations were once the concept of a single ambitious individual, who, like most of us in the Western hemisphere, hadn’t bought into the idea of doing nothing either and was keen to implement a more direct means of self-expression.

Problems arise when ambition becomes the sole focus. The inner life of the artist becomes the only territory worthy of exploration. Visits to the supermarket, filling in tax returns and standing in queues at the post office are not acceptable diversions. The mundane and the trivial, tediously unworkable manifestations of ordinary existence are to be endured and, perhaps, written-up in heavily embellished form at a later date.

As you can see from the above ramblings, I am at this moment patently bored. This is Sunday. As a non-churchgoing member of the community, I have little to look forward to in the way of regimented activity. As a supposed aid to my weekly writing schedule, I choose to have Sundays off, thus resting my batteries and, hopefully, my illusive creativity. The downside of this is that I tend to be irritable and unsociable, deploring the wastage of this, my unexamined life.

Meditation helps, if you can manage it. Life is, after all, nothing more than a glorified series of in-breaths and out-breaths. If we could all grasp the essential nature of this reality, we could save ourselves no end of trouble. Timor mortis conturbat me. Fear of death appals me. Perhaps ambition, in all its pretentious and self-absorbing forms, is no more than a distraction from the impending moment of our departure from this earth.

The grand sum of all knowledge, of all achievement, of all materialistic striving for more is – nada. Nothing. The sound of the Universe when we’re all dead and gone.

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