Armchair Peregrinations

May 21, 2006

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.


Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much. Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.

William Cowper

I need some words of wisdom today because I feel so unwise. I have need of some simple sentences that contain profound truths because I find myself in that endless regress that takes me round and round the pretty lake of my desires time and again, observing the scenery and meditating on peaceful things, but returning to the old self as if nothing much of a transformative nature had occurred.

You see, I like to think that one day I will return from one of my walks at the nature preserve, or elsewhere, and have a moment of epiphany and suddenly achieve the superhuman resolve I need to live the life I keep meaning to live. But I deserve this, I deserve that, I say to myself. I am this way. I am that way. Nothing can change it. I say and do things that are quite different from what I am thinking, and this is how I survive. This is how I think I keep my sanity when it is really just the opposite. I am courting the opposite of sanity. If I went out and did what I really wanted to do, and if I had succombed to this often enough in my past, I probably would not be here today, or else I would be on the road to not being here. Or, I would be a very different person today. There is something to say for fear of consequences and holding on to your pride and dignity, even if inside you sometime feel you have very little.

I have learned a lot over the course of my life. But I have achieved a degree of wisdom that is still rather superficial because my actions and thoughts are not in synchrony. Not harmonized. Sometimes they are, and when that happens I feel more at peace with myself. I experience little bits of what we call "happiness," although I have to say it is a term I am not too well acquainted with. I have been at peace with the status quo often enough, but I have not been discipliined enough to effect lasting change. Maybe I need to really ask for that change, and seek it much more ernestly, even if it causes me to confront some fundamental things about myself and my identity, and learn finally how to live at peace with myself. I keep resisting this, and that is because it is very, very hard to achieve.

Written July 8, 2001

I wrote this almost five years ago. When I go back and re-read entries from my other online journal, I sometimes am startled when I realize that the person who wrote those words is not the same person who is reading it years later.

How have I changed since then? I know I have in many subtle yet remarkable ways. What have I done to further the elusive goal of achieving peace within myself? Not much of real substance, I must confess.

Right now it seems as if no time at all has elapsed since I posted those words, yet five years have passed. I am closer to the answers I seek. I am more confident in the person I am, but I think also I have reached another one of those plateaus when I really need to continue climbing up the mountain.

I don't think I write as well as I did then. The diary was more fresh and new. Or maybe I have just matured as a writer and thinker.

So many thoughts to ponder. But what I do know is that I have come to be who I am today through a very long and complex process of living. Countless decisions have been made. Endless worrying has occurred, and for nothing. It's pointless, yet I continue to do it.

I think as I get older it really boils down to this: the present moment is all I have. I do what I need and want to do now because there is no way I can ever anticipate the future. And, what I decide to do tomorrow may very well never come to pass.

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