We start the first full work week of 2009 with the Letter B: B is for Being. Our culture is very alert to and focused on doing, and less aware of the benefits of just being. While I was thinking of "A" words last week, many of them came from my desultory meditation practice:
- ahimsa -- non-violence
- anahata -- the heart center
- anapanasati -- meditation form of vipassana
- anatta -- or "not-self"-- which results from meditation
Which led me to thinking about being versus nothingness, the nature of existence, and the Buddha's last words, "Do your best."
Part of the source of thinking about existence came from reading The Intellectual Devotional in the bathroom the other morning. I opened randomly to Rainbow (p. 235) and got stuck in footnote #3. "It is physically impossible to walk under a rainbow. They literally exist only in the eyes of the observer." Long pause to think about the role of the observer in maintaining the existence of the universe, and the baffling nature of the little amount I know about quantum mechanics. And then my mind comes back down to earth and starts correcting the claim about existing only in the eyes of the observer. The proper claim is that rainbows exist in the mind of the observer, not the EYES. Rainbows don't exist in the eyes.
Of course this also caused me to froth and rant about one of my favorite pet peeves - misuse of the word "literally" when the author literally means "figuratively" or "metaphorically." I'm reading Thomas Friedman's book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, and there it is, on page 16. "Congress...literally gagged and blindfolded the government..." No, no, no! Wrong! Argh! Congress cannot literally do either of those things to the government. Argh!
And you can see why committing to spending some time Being instead of ranting and frothing is a good idea for me.