Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Morning Indolence

Unusually the temperature is expected to reach a high of 11˚C today which at this time of year gives the effect of distortion and lack of resolution. If one were to ignore this supernatural feature of the day, it otherwise offers a further and diminishing opportunity to ride one’s bicycle which for me is the last form of physical exercise (apart from swimming) I am able to undertake painlessly. On balance such manifestly inconsequential considerations as the weather and bicycling are welcome contemplations on a Sunday morning.

It wasn’t always that Sunday morning was so uninspiring. Historically my reintroduction to reality on Sunday morning was perplexed by innumerable impediments, among them curses upon my misbehaviour, misgivings about what had transpired only hours before, and raging protestations of commitment to change and improvement. All those burdens must have carried their weight of stress, an obscure yet very real disease. In my youth the penalty of the mischief was thankfully a fleeting encumbrance. It does however secure a more prominent grasp upon one’s state of mind with age, a rising culpability, a developing chancre.

Learning to avoid these sources of nervous tension is now my entire devotion, a commitment which is broadly applied to almost everything within the scope of my being. To do otherwise is recidivism. It is astonishing how tolerable life can be when divested of its obvious impurities. Many times of late I have dilated upon the compensation of listening to one’s instincts. Increasingly I am coming to view this process as not merely one of choice but rather one of necessity, even survival. There is always a tendency to relapse into a previously undesirable type of behaviour, conditioned as we are to repeat what we have done for so many years. When at last one sees the value and imperative of catering to one’s own needs rather than to those of others, and when one understands that the decision is not a choice of competing alternatives but instead an obligation for triumph, the formula is instantly transparent and palatable.

It is likely no accident that the past year of my life has been one of divestment, loosening myself both physically and spiritually from the shackles of emblematic materialism and its sycophantic off-spring of maintenance and insurance. I qualify my cupidity by emphasizing its symbolism, without which things are merely stuff, replaceable stuff, and more importantly not the objects of obsession. Stripped of the element of fascination, the material world ripples into the natural world and offers a far wider and considerably less restrictive source of attention and contemplation. How liberating it is to discover that one is able to consume endless bounty from nature without either commitment or consequence!

The happy corollary of such freedom is the ability to dedicate oneself to the accomplishment of what little one is capable of doing to improve the universe, and failing that lofty objective, to be productive on any level. The release from constraint is not to foster a climate of uselessness rather enlargement of dynamics.

Referring once again to one’s early days, one’s sights were set very high. I for one never succeeded in doing all that I had anticipated but for now I can at least dedicate myself to doing what I do well, which I suppose is a small complement in that it considerably circumscribes my ambit of professional activity. Eliminating the desire to address the so-called challenges makes for a more comfortable existence. I am beginning to see this as a distinct luxury, admittedly one which at times I am uncertain I am capable of sustaining. The luxury is to do what one enjoys, which by definition entails satisfaction. By further definition, this necessitates excision of anything remotely distasteful. While this marker is normally adequate to ensure a happy outcome, occasionally it precipitates overwrought avoidance. Such texture only highlights the importance of the decision, perhaps engaging more debate before making the final conclusion. This too emphasizes that action, like most things in life, is best well thought-out before agreed to.

The one little wrinkle in this business is that the rewards are not always immediately apparent. In fact, rather the opposite normally applies. For one such as me, conditioned to Pavlovian booty, such cerebral stamina is punishing. If nothing else the product of second-guessing one’s original inclinations can be extremely taxing. Conviction must come into play; and when it does, invariably the mystery unfolds, usually to reveal the propriety of one’s initial move.

I think I’ll have another cup of coffee!

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