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18 November 2007 @ 12:43 pm
Tao of the Day  
At Palisade brunch this morning with Phil (gkr), I got my hands on this quote.

It's hard to detect good luck. It looks so much like something you've earned.
- Frank A. Clark

My college degree falls into that category. I earned my degree, but luck gave me the jobs I needed to support myself, the wealthy great aunt I needed one semester when I would've otherwise dropped out, the various roommates who took on an extra portion of the rent burden, the various friends who fed me something besides waffles and peanut butter.

As I thought about it, I began to modify it like so:

It's hard to be grateful for things. Earning it doesn't preclude gratefulness.

I guess what it made me realize is how easy it is, for me, to take for granted the things that I earn. I sometimes forget to count among my blessings those things that I have earned: my job, my salary, my work schedule, my moderate proficiency in several languages, my college degree, the trust of friends, my apartment, the respect of my manager at work, the amazing breakfast I bought this morning, etc.

One of the keys to "walking with the Tao" on a daily basis is the acknowledgment of the yin and yang of the mundane. A bad experience every morning before coffee with a partner is still a bad experience. A good sandwich everyday is still a good sandwich. Letting the daily things stay in the forefront instead of slipping into a for-granted state is an amazing way to stay more fully present in the moment.

What have you earned?
Are you grateful for it?
Did luck lend her hand?
Have you had a good sandwich lately?
sculptruth on November 18th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
Beautiful sentiment; timely as I've been counting my blessings in meditation lately (carefully guarding sanity). Fun to hang out with you and Miss. L the other night!

Kburgunder on November 18th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
Hi, beautiful! That was a brilliant time :) GRiN

Meditation, eh? Tell me more. I've been trying to get in the practice of it, mostly through the literary instructions of one Miss Pema Chödrön, American Buddhist nun.
sculptruth on November 18th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Ah, I have a yoga-centric approach to meditation-- I've learned a lot from Mindfulness, in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (I know, corny title but straightforward material), and also through yoga practise itself. I wake up in the morning, focus on pranayama and meditation before I do anything else; at the end of the day I do the same, only after everything else. Right now, I think it's the only thing that helps me keep going. I truly believe it to be vital to my well-being--after all, the goal for me is to attain that kind of positivity, peace, and clarity throughout the day, and be in the moment as much as possible.

Edited at 2007-11-18 09:46 pm (UTC)
Kburgunder on November 18th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
I've been getting back into yoga again in the last 2 months. I go to a drop-in class at SCCC on Tuesdays with an instructor that I think would probably start bar fights if not for yoga. I'm totally going to pick that book up. The Buddhist approach to meditation is too quiet for me - I suspect it's a good ultimate goal but I think I've got to take some baby steps to really get there, or get some additional guidance. I'm up to about 5 seconds of silence at any given moment in meditation, and my Second Thoughts are always saying, "Wait! You just said 'I haven't thought anything for 5 seconds!' That's thinking!"

Thank you.
sculptruth on November 18th, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)

The beauty of it for me is *that* I'm thinking; something I don't get to do often because I'm so frenetically busy. The mind needs time to process and rearrange. It's like defragging your disc drive (these things go [here]). Yoga is a great way to meditate because you have to be in the moment, and focusing on the breathing is a great way to slip into that through motion. It's amazing what you can accomplish :)

I wish I could take time and money for classes. :( Mostly I'm practising at home, and guidance is awesome.
sculptruth on November 18th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
p.s. I can certainly lend you my copy of that book, if you like!
(Deleted comment)
Kburgunder on November 18th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
Petti Rosso, so noted!

My very favourite place in Seattle for sandwiches is The Other Coast over in Ballard.
nplusmnplusm on November 20th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
Oddly enough, I don't really believe in luck. I mean, sure, maybe a good die roll at the craps table might give you one thousand dollars or what have you, but still, it's just a statistical anomaly in my brain. I can't speak for others, but what I find the most perplexing are the things people attribute to luck. You're good friends that helped you in times of need were likely earned. You're wealthy aunt's good will, the same. The jobs you got were no more lucky than the jobs you didn't get were unlucky. Trust of your friends, respect of your manager, your work schedule....all earned. Blessings to be sure...but earned blessings.

I have earned my life that I live...the good...the bad...the ridiculous.

I'm grateful I live in a universe that allows us to exist in a causal fashion, where we exist in the world we make...if only in our brain.

Certainly statistics weighed in my favor from time to time, as they weighed against me from time to time. I am grateful that the random events that can strike and decimate you (such as meteor strikes or sudden genetic degradation) have not taken me thus far. However, I promise when they do come...and I find myself struggling for no reason I own, I won't curse luck (I may curse the meteor).

Well, nothing of note lately. I have had some good soups, and a fine biscuit or two.