Monday, August 12, 2019

What’s Your Number?

What’s your number? I wrote yesterday about essences, and how they basically don’t exist. What we are is mainly constructed by our imaginations. To a vulture feeding on our body, I might just be a tasty delight, or maybe just something to “tide him over” until he finds something better.

A better photographer would have captured his number. It was 18.
It is hot in Austin. Today I went out in the afternoon and then came home and slept. I don’t know why it is so tiring to be in the heat. I think the trick is to stay cool. Luckily our house is well-insulated.

Suicide is an interesting choice. Seems like things can seem so bad that it is better not to be alive. Sometimes it is understandable, and sometimes not. This is a fascinating article (https://www.history.com/news/stock-market-crash-suicides-wall-street-1929-great-depression) contradicting what we’ve believed about stockbrokers jumping from windows when they went broke. “…the number of suicides…in Oct. and Nov. 1929 were among the lowest of any month that year.” I was always curious about that… whether losing money would be enough to get someone to jump out of the window of a tall building.

People come to the temple to try out meditation. Like any self-help endeavor, they think they will benefit and instead find something difficult and uncomfortable. It is more like staring into a mirror for an hour. But the mirror doesn’t just show how you look but how you are. I talked to a psychological nurse practitioner today who told me that he never asks his clients why they are the way they are because they would just feel attacked. We don’t ask ourselves that question in Zen. Rather it is a process of noticing how we are. Are we hot or cold, hopeful or suicidal? And, in the end, we just become ok with however we are, realizing that’s our number. Like the stockbrokers, even though they had lost everything for themselves and others, there was something that kept them going. I suspect that if I asked my 100.5-year-old father-in-law how they survived the depression he would just say, “we did what we needed to do.”

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