Archive for October, 2012

I’d Pick More Daisies


Norris has shared a meaningful article, written by Don Herold and published in Reader’s Digest in 1953:

I’d Pick More Daisies

“Of course, you can’t unfry an egg, but there is no law against thinking about it.

If I had my life to live over, I would try to make more mistakes.  I would relax.  I would be sillier than I have been this trip.  I know of very few things that I would take seriously.  I would be less hygienic.  I would go more places.  I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.  I would eat more ice cream and less bran.

I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary troubles.

You see, I have been one of those fellows who live prudently and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.  Oh, I have had my moments.  But if I had it to do over again, I would have more of them – a lot more.  I never go anywhere without a thermometer, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute.  If I had it to do over, I would travel lighter.

It may be too late to unteach an old dog old tricks, but perhaps a word from the unwise may be of benefit to a coming generation.  I may help them to fall into some of the pitfalls I have avoided.

If I had my life to live over, I would pay less attention to people who teach tension.  In a world of specialization we naturally have a superabundance of individuals who cry at us to be serious about their individual specialty.  They tell us we must learn Latin or History; otherwise we will be disgraced and ruined and flunked and failed.  After a dozen or so of these protagonists have worked on a young mind, they are apt to leave it in hard knots for life.  I wish they had sold me Latin and History as a lark.

I would seek out more teachers who inspire relaxation and fun.  I had a few of them, fortunately, and I figure it was they who kept me from going entirely to the dogs.  From them I learned how to gather what few scraggly daisies I have gathered along life’s cindery pathway.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted a little earlier in the spring and stay that way a little later in the fall.  I would play hooky more.  I would shoot more paper wads at my teachers.  I would have more dogs.  I would keep later hours.  I’d have more sweethearts.

I would fish more.  I would go to more circuses.  I would go to more dances.  I would ride on more merry-go-rounds.  I would be carefree as long as I could, or at least until I got some care – instead of having my cares in advance.

More errors are made solemnly than in fun.  The rubs of family life come in moments of intense seriousness rather than in moments of light-heartedness.  If nations – to magnify my point – declared international carnivals instead of international war, how much better that would be!

G. K. Chesterton once said, “A characteristic of the great saints is their power of levity.  Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.  One ‘settles down’ into a sort of selfish seriousness; but one has to rise to a gay self-forgetfulness.  A man falls into a ‘brown study’; he reaches up at a blue sky.”

In a world in which practically everybody else seems to be consecrated to the gravity of the situation, I would rise to glorify the levity of the situation.  For I agree with Will Durant that “gaiety is wiser than wisdom.”

I doubt, however, that I’ll do much damage with my creed.  The  opposition is too strong.  There are too many serious people trying to get everybody else to be too darned serious.”

Complexes and Meditation

Buddhist teacher and practitioner Reggie Ray discusses complexes and how they can arise in meditation in a Sounds True interview called Dark Retreat with Tami Simon. You can subscribe to Sounds True podcasts via iTunes, or you can listen online from your computer (you may have to sign up for a free membership to listen).

Reggie Ray: “The purpose of meditation is to help us make a transition in life, beginning with us being locked up in our habitual patterns, and in the pettiness of our whole self-maintenance project. To be a human in the ordinary sense is to be looking for comfort and survival and to ward off whatever pain there may be out there. In the service of that project we construct this idea of a self-identity that we’re always trying to promote and protect. We use everything in our environment to try to feed our desire for pleasure and we’re fending off an awful lot of what life brings to us, pushing it away and trying to avoid it. The purpose of meditation is to help us dismantle our armor and the self-protection that we put around ourselves so that we can experience our lives in a much more open and naked way—much deeper, much faster, much fuller—so that we can develop in ourselves, really, a sense of freedom from this ego prison. . . .

We have to dismantle the patterns of pettiness that are activated when we’re in our ordinary life. What happens in the darkness is, once the mind really starts opening up, you start meeting some very interesting people. These interesting people are people from your past who are affecting you and actually taking you over right now as you live your life. They are undeveloped or incomplete parts of ourselves—what Jung called complexes. They are little bundles of conditioned response that have developed in relationship to all kinds of situations throughout our whole life going back to probably when we were in the womb. . . .

As children, all of us have this experience of being very little and having these big people in our environment. The problem with the big people is, in our estimation, they were supposed to take care of us, and they had the power to resolve things that we couldn’t resolve—pain, hunger, fear, whatever—and they often didn’t do it. That experience is in us and the resultant response of resentment and anger and even rage, is activated all the time in our lives. It comes up all the time in relation to anybody we perceive as big. The problem with that response coming up is that we shut down and we actually live in the emotional state of that two year old.

. . . That’s what we call samsara: that we live from one limited state to the other, depending on which external situation is going on out there. Do we feel betrayed? Do we feel undermined? Do we feel undernourished? Do we feel abused? Whatever it may be, we never get out. That’s what the prison is: It’s the kaleidoscope of these inferior parts of ourselves.

What happens in darkness practice is something will come up and take over the field of consciousness, and I become the two year old. The interesting thing is, usually in life when that starts happening, we go call a friend, or we’ll turn on the TV, or we’ll eat some chocolate, or we’ll have a drink, or we’ll get in the car and go shopping, but in the darkness, there are no breaks.There’s nothing you can do about it. You’re stuck! Amazingly enough, that’s how you resolve that person: by becoming that person and living through the experience that person had from the beginning to the end.”

Quote of the Day

“Every person must live the inner life in one form or another. Consciously or unconsciously, voluntarily or involuntarily, the inner world will claim us and exact its dues. If we go to that realm consciously, it is by our inner work: our prayers, meditations, dream work, ceremonies, and Active Imagination. If we try to ignore the inner world, as most of us do, the unconscious will find its way into our lives through pathology: our psychosomatic symptoms, compulsions, depressions, and neuroses.”
Robert A. Johnson, from the book Inner Work

Quote of the Day

“. . . we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion. This then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddha or God, or follow some other religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.” —His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from Ethics for the New Millenium


The NWA Friends of Jung meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month in the library at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The Sunday Dream Group meets the 1st and 3rd Sundays from 2–3:30 in the library at St. Paul’s.

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