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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer


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Spent last evening quietly at home, helping B pack for her trip. She left this morning at 5:30, and I've just returned home after a meeting offsite and a quick bite, preceded by a nap after dropping her off at the airport.

The weather is beautiful, and I feel more like being outside in the sun than I do working in the basement, even though it's nice and cool down here. I have a lot of things to take care of before I leave myself next week though, and I don't want to be surprised by any of them before I leave.

Details. They keep you going in the real world, don't they? In this meeting this morning, I was struck by how hard my old co-worker F was clinging to our mutual past together at our previous company; thankfully, the events of this past fall and winter have washed those thoughts clean from my mind so that they no longer catch unwanted emotional debris throughout a given day.

One of the guys I met was a VP. Ah, I thought, the time-honoured position of the Vice President. He or she should be the kind of person who has a clear enough hands-on appreciation for their company's work that they always understand what they're asking you to do. They should also have a clear vision for the future, able to plan strategically to realize your corporate objectives.

This guy was fairly typical for a VP Sales. He was probably in his mid- to late-30s, clearly an ambitious guy, who worked hard to push his way up the corporate ladder at this company. With his stiffly coiffed, slightly graying hair perfectly in place, he stood from his desk to reveal the requisite Nautica label on his pants and the red-and-blue Hilfiger flag on the $85-dollar golf shirt. His handshake, of course, was like a rotating vise that also gave your arm an itinerant jerk about every one-and-a-half revolutions; it felt like your shoulder was being dislocated at the same time as your knuckles were squeaking together in his grip.

"Well, I'm very interested in hearing more about this opportunity, um -- what was your name again? Oh, yes -- I'd love to meet with you after I get back from England next week and talk about this some more."

I looked over my calendar. "Sorry," I said, "I won't be available until early June. How would Tuesday the fifth suit you?"

"My son is graduating from the RAF on Sunday," he replied, ignoring my question. "He's graduating at the top of his class." I tried to tell if he was genuinely proud or if he was trying to sound impressive. Either way, I hadn't asked what his business was in England. He didn't speak, beaming at me.

"Congratulations," I replied mechanically. "You must be very proud."

"Well you know, he got a letter from his squad commander to the effect that he was the strongest new pilot they'd seen in years. He was invited to the admiral's house for a private dinner just last week."

I had no idea why he was telling me this, and I suddenly felt impelled to leave. "That must have been a real treat for your son," I replied. "Did he enjoy the experience?"

"Oh sure," he said enthusiastically. "He was right proud to be there."

I softened, realizing that the guy was just trying to make a connection. He was a salesman after all, and he had to try to establish rapport. "That's great," I said. "So, how was that day for you in the end? Is the morning of Tuesday the fifth any good for you?"

He turned towards his computer. "Ah, let me see, here..." he said, looking down his nose at his monitor and moving his mouse erratically all over his screen. He had started a help file at some point in time, because his main window was split down the middle with it on the right, and his Outlook calendar was squished so small he couldn't even make out the dates.

I resisted the urge to tell him how to fix his problem outright, but broke down after watching him fumble for another twelve to fifteen seconds. "I've been caught by that one myself," I said conversationally. "I found that if I closed that help window on the right by single-clicking on that X there, that the Outlook window would return to its original size and everything would go back to normal."

After a hearty laugh and a look through a few more menus, he followed my suggestion and booked me into his calendar. I continued to observe the rest of the conversation, and watched myself leave his office with F a few minutes later after having gained a business card from him. So unaccustomed was I to local, face-to-face meetings, that I had forgotten all of my own cards on my desk back at the office.

Yesterday, mid-afternoon: When you're doing what you want, everything that needs to get done just seems to get done, he said. It's harder if you have to do things you don't want to do or that don't make sense to you. Then the work becomes a job, and then it becomes hard to do. I think that at least 50% of the energy people expend at jobs is just dealing with the stress of the workplace, your boss, your job, your performance, and all that. The people you work with make up most of the stress in your day.

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awesboss May 18th, 2001
Great image of the VP of Sales. and I enjoy seeing the working world through your eyes.I bet you're in even less of a hurry to give up working at home! It's interesting though how you have to re-position yourself mentally when you have such meetings in the outside world. I remember when we had our business in the country, I'd drive into town for supplies and stuff and it was difficult for me to imagine working for 'the man'.

Thanks for keeping you journal going consistently at a high level of quality.

iamom May 18th, 2001
You're right on all counts. I had a meeting in Corporate Hell today, and it was all I needed to see to remind myself that I don't need to work in that kind of an atmosphere ever again, if I can help it.

You're right about the mental positioning required in those situations, too. I feel like I have to concentrate in order not to say the most preposterous things in situations like that.

fey May 18th, 2001
I love your story about the VP of sales. You make the man seem so.... alien. *grin*

And this: Yesterday, mid-afternoon: When you're doing what you want, everything that needs to get done just seems to get done, he said. It's harder if you have to do things you don't want to do or that don't make sense to you. Then the work becomes a job, and then it becomes hard to do. I think that at least 50% of the energy people expend at jobs is just dealing with the stress of the workplace, your boss, your job, your performance, and all that. The people you work with make up most of the stress in your day. Pure wisdom. And completely true. What is it about people... how do they change once they enter the building where they work? Suddenly, they struggle, don't return calls... hold up progress... hm.

I suppose the best thing is, as you say, to let things unfold naturally.... (I wonder, if this has something to do with the detachment?)

~~S




iamom May 18th, 2001
I feel like I just commented about this on your your journal. Yes, I do think it has something to do with detachment. It's hard to let things unfold naturally without trying to interfere unless you're not identifying with what's happening (i.e., you're being detached). In some ways, adopting that detachment in a healthy an constructive manner is an enormous challenge; in others, it's the easiest, if not the only, Way to Be.

fey May 18th, 2001
*smile*

That's what I was referring to, your comment in my journal. They seemed to tie together for some reason. (I dunno, maybe I'm in a haze or something.)

Yes--constructive, "good" detachment is a good Way to Be.

Not always, though. Sometimes it just feels good to throw yourself into an experience, and feel it completely. I think there are many ways to enlightenment. (But that's because of my faith.)

~~S



2 items of interest

(Anonymous) May 19th, 2001
I found two items very interesting:

1)
>it's only through completely submitting myself to >the inherent nature of a given situation in life do >I ever feel any real sense of peace about my life.

2)
In paragraph 2 you say that you are going to leave yourself next week. Please tell me how. I would like to leave myself, too.

G

Is that you, Grammar Dog?

iamom May 19th, 2001
Arf! Rowr.

1) On submission: I just find it pointless to resist what's happening, be it "good" or "bad." There's always a way to act or feel in any given situation that doesn't go against the grain at the time; in order not to experience conflict or impede my progress, I try to go as much as I can with that inherent flow of life, as it occurs from one moment to the next.

In practical terms, that can mean a lot of different things too numerous to begin discussing here, but my general theory is grounded in that ideal.

2) On leaving myself: LOL - I just meant that I was leaving, myself, next week. I guess I should have added another comma. I'm going away on a trip, I'm not leaving "myself." However, this begs the question, why do you want to leave yourself? Don't you like it in there anymore? If you actually are Grammar Dog, from what I know of you, there's lots of good things to like. And even if you're not Grammar Dog, I'm sure there's still lots of good things to like. I love you either way.

No, it WASN'T me, iamom...

(Anonymous) May 20th, 2001

But thank you. :)

Grammar Dog

iamom May 20th, 2001
I just checked with Grammar Dog, and she says she didn't post this. That means you're someone else!

So now I'd really like to hear more about how you'd like to leave yourself. Please do tell me more.

gfullr May 27th, 2001
My goodness, it's only nine days since I made my post? I would have guessed three weeks. Ain't time a blast. Why do I want to leave myself? Well, through my own backyard intensive, my self disappeared once, and I thought I might try it again. Don't think I'd want to stay there, though. Of course, at that point there's no I who could stay. But a body stuck in a nonvolitional world may not be so hot. Still, there were some benefits. When the sense of a personal self came rushing back, it was a very warm and wonderful feeling. Of course, the previously banished personal problems slowly reintroduced themselves; so pretty soon I thought it might be nice to try that noself thing again. I think if I could figure out how to alternate between self and no self, it might be an ideal situation. Ha! In the meantime I'm going with Sunyata's comment, "Why harrass or kill egoji, when one can be free in its play as a needed, useful tool."

iamom June 2nd, 2001
Good quote, and true. I've also heard something similar. 'What is wrong with the body that it should die and no longer be of use to you in the world?' someone once asked. 'Better you should leave the body alone and just let it live out its own nature - it does so without the requirement of any direct influence from us.' Or some such thing, anyway - I don't remember exactly how he put it anymore.

You said something interesting here that directly relates to your stated wish to retreat from the self now and then, especially with respect to the personal problems that have reappeared since your sense of personal self returned to you. You said, '...at that point, there's no I who could stay.' I think you're fairly correct about that, and I think that's a truism that carries through just as strongly to your ordinary life. There's no "I" to whom your problems are actually appearing or bothering - those problems are really just an ordinary part of the fabric of your wakeful existence. If you cease to identify the problems with the self, and cease to assign quality to the self (which, truthfully, cannot be assigned quality or accorded a description), then the personal problems of which you spoke will no longer have such a seemingly strong hold on your psyche. In reality, they kind of disappear from View, permanently.

That's something I've noticed for myself, anyway, and I'm not totally sure that that experience extrapolates easily and directly to everyone else; I just don't know. How deeply have you probed into the nature of this "no-self" yourself? What kinds of conclusions or reflections have you come to regarding it?

gfullr June 2nd, 2001
Problems are just the fabric of my life? This makes perfect sense. Or perhaps more accurate would be that they are not problems at all -- just the fabric of my life. It is the 'not
liking' of this fabric that is the problem, and it is a personal sense of self that allows the 'not liking'.

How deeply have I probed into the nature of this "no-self"? What kinds of conclusions or reflections have I come to regarding it?

My conclusion is that we can step back into a world of primordial awareness, a world of nonvolition, in which we lose none of the
abilities we have already attained but will have no motivation to attain any more. I call this the other shore. : ) My hypothesis is that
we can step forward with the personal sense dissolving into the universal without completely disappearing and losing its qualities(Your "frogs' raucous singing" experience.) Ha! I should have told you I'm a bit of a maverick. But I qualify everything I say by readily
admitting I know nothing of ultimate truth.

There is clearly more to say, but I still live in a world of time. Talk later. Well, one more thought. Instead of ceasing to identify with problems, how about identifying (merging) with them to such an extent that they simply dissolve into who you are, or who I am? Kinda like when I have a headache. I can separate from it or merge with it. Either way seems to help.

iamom June 15th, 2001
I think if I merged with my problems as you just described, I would get depressed and too wrapped up in them. I become one with the problem, the problem becomes me, and so on. The most successful approach I've found has to do with non-identification with the problems - maintaining a bit of an aloof stance above them, or beyond them, recognizing that the problems which may be happening aren't really happening to ME - the true Self.

That 'other shore' thing is good. kundalinidreams just put it in another neat way I liked, about how we're all containers that share the same energy through a hole in the bottom, and that the walls between the containers are also pretty low - that is, we're all closer to one another than we might really think. However it is we describe it is not ultimately important, however. But how we get past the myriad descriptions is, I think.

gfullr June 3rd, 2001

As far as probing into the nature of self or no-self, there has been a sliding scale or perhaps a teeter-totter. On one side there is simply resting into what is. On the other is great intensity, the more the better - like solving a great mathematics problem that has you stumped. When you finally give up in exhaustion and frustration, the answer explodes onto the scene. Everyone seems to be ignoring the intensity side nowadays. It has been difficult for me to generate the necessary intensity without the catalyst of unhappiness. Oh, I can get mad, upsest, or whatever, but behind it all I still recognize that I come from primarily a happy position. Seen in this light, "unhappiness" seems to be a wonderfully mavelous opportunity if it will generate the needed intensity. On the other hand, one's own natural wonder of life and this world seems a more healthy and natural way to go. At any rate, my attempts are to explore the entire teeter-totter and hitting between the lines where there are no words to explain what's really going on. On one side of the attempt is to make no attempt. The other side is to exhaust oneself. Then there is all the inbetween. I've been primarily on the take-it-easyside for a long time. Well, this is primarily getting aquainted stuff I guess.

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