On Beginnings; or, What If We Rendered the Full Catastrophe More Thoughtful?

I’m starting this post, this blog, with a quote from Philip K. Dick’s The Man In the High Castle (p. 243 in the online edition):

I feel the hot winds of karma driving me. Nevertheless I remain here. My training was correct: I must not shrink from the clear white light, for if I do, I will once more re-enter the cycle of birth and death, never knowing freedom, never obtaining release. The veil of maya will fall once more.

That about sums it up, what I want to say in this blog, through myriad ways: Do not shrink from the white light of your potential.  Do not choose not to choose.  Do not shirk responsibility.  And never, never stop learning.

To speak personally, I’m at a crossroads of sorts: I’ve got a new business pending (a yoga studio), and in the not-too-distant future I’m expecting challenges untypical of your average 40 hour a week, non-profit corporate finance job, which is how I’ve been feeding, clothing and sheltering myself for the past decade and a half.  There’ve been times during those years I felt on auto-pilot and complained to my wife about my “soul killing” work.  But I did not get off the track, not until I’d burnt up 14 long years.  Then I started wondering if things could be different (don’t worry, I’ll tell that story in a near-future post), and everything changed…

For now though I’d like to list some of the concerns looming largest in my mind, that will be subjects of future posts.  Here they are, in no particular order—and in ALL CAPS just so we’re all clear about their importance:

CHOICE

ATTITUDE

ETHICS-MORALITY (Are they the same?)

PERSONAL CULTURE/GROWTH

MEDITATION

LEARNING

MEANING

HUMAN POTENTIAL (The field within which all of the above happen.)

Considering this list, my decidedly lighthearted blog title might now stand out with somewhat more significance and gravitas.  “Karma,” to adopt the Buddhist definition, means “action,” and specifically willed or intentional action.  (“It is volition, monks, that I call karma.  For having willed, one acts by body, speech or mind.” -Anguttara Nikaya 6:63)  It is thus something of a double emphasis I’m giving the word when I say that we should Drive our intentional actions, which is an ungainly way of saying Wake up!  Take responsibility for what you’re about to do!  So this is my take on living intentionally, with wakefulness and clear-headedness and integrity.  Living Truth, that is.

Regarding this blog going forward: I’m not for a second pretending to know it all or have the answers—or any answers, for that matter.  But I’ll quote Chad, a friend and “intellectual comrade-in-arms,” on why one should voice one’s thoughts on these and similar fronts, even if one feels unprepared, ill-equipped, or badly informed:

It seems to me that problems are solved in only one of three essential ways: contemplation, conversation, or coercion. Without those willing to abandon coercive means (I include in this things like political correctness) and to press their contemplative practices into the service of conversation, there’s no hope for ourselves and our fellow primates.

So, my dear fellow primates, here are some of fruits of my contemplation, some gestures towards conversation…