01 August 2006
Fifty years ago last May when I was born, I didn't have a plan for how the next fifty years were going to play out. I didn't know I'd do this or that or another thing, how I'd earn my living, who I'd love or be loved by, how many children, how many wives. I was just born. Breathed. Cried.
All manner of exciting thing has happened to me over the intervening years, and some of it may even be true. But of course there is a problem with memories and the truth we tell ourselves; I can be as self-righteous as the next person, and have no doubt that I have recast some of my life in a most favorable manner - often with the help of psychologists.
But my point is that I didn't have a plan. From day one: nothing. Even in college. Even in law school. Even now. In hindsight it all looks like a grandiose plan that has played out rather well. I am not unhappy with the results (quite the contrary), but really don't feel I can claim much credit at the end of the day. I simply did what I could, with what I had, at each moment. Sometimes I did well, sometimes I did crap. Sometimes I hurt people, and sometimes helped. But there was never a plan. It's not that I believe karma, fate or god's grace are the be all and end all shaping our lives. I was not predestined to be a lawyer or live here in Evergreen. I don't discount the power of free will. But I am very suspicious of those who would discount luck in their lives. I have been lucky - believe me.
So now I am asked by friends and others to think about the next fifty years or whatever my life expectancy is and asked: what will you do with the rest of your life? And my answer is that I will simply carry on. I will continue to invest in the stock market and buy lottery tickets, continue to take naps, do yoga and run, play scrabble with Charlotte, and continue to cultivate contentment with whatever may come my way.
I have examined my life in all its minutiae, all its trivialities, and all its gossamer moments, and, call me eckhart tolle, I come away with this: what matters is now. This very second that I cannot hold onto, this burst of rain and lightening and thunder across the trees on the next mountain over, a wave of swirling rain riding the mountain. This ungraspable edge of time that is always just a nanosecond beyond my grip - that's what matters.
You can, thank you, keep all the accumulated toys and badges of success that society bestows on the "early birds who got the worms". After all, he who dies with the most toys, still dies. Just ask Ken Lay.
The other day Charlotte and I sat in our wooden swing that looks out some mountains that I still don't know the names of, drank coffee out of a thermos, and smiled like young lovers on their first date. Walking down the hill to our swing, maneuvering through downed trees, and steep pitches, the wind was calm, the sun was warm, and we agreed: what a great time to have coffee at the swing!
The moment we sat down however a fierce wind and big rain droplets buffeted us. The fickle mountain weather, like our lives, tends to be unpredictable. So we hastily finished our coffee, and, with a laugh, beat a quick and wet retreat back to our house.
So, this is the point of it all (sorry to take so long), the perspective winnowed from my whole life: we don't know from which direction the wind will come when we sit down for coffee or even if iwillil rain (though 'tis often does neither):
but if there's coffee, we should sit down for coffee. And enjoy it.
To the last drop.
Just like life.
Om shanti ya'll!