More on life

    Things are getting a bit busy but not too crazy yet. I’m starting today on my law review “comment” (15+ pages is way too long to be only a “comment”) as I want to have it finished by Friday of next week (which means I have to put writing my book aside until the comment is finished).

    The good thing though about getting the “comment” done is that I’ll then be free the following weekend to go Austin that for a friend’s wedding (and get to see another dear friend as well which will be nice). It’ll be a quick trip but even a few days in Austin is a joyful thing.

    The other major thing in my life is that I’m in the midst of a personal decluttering/organization/health/spiritual awakening campaign. In short, this summer I want to start being the person that I’ve always wanted to be… a man who knows who he is and lives out of that awareness in an intentional and deliberate fashion. I’ve tried to be this person for a long time but my own personal disorder (messy house, messy car, fast food eating, etc.) has kept me from this for too long.

    So far it has gone well. My car is clean (my friends are shocked by this to say the least) and my return to Atkins has gone well, but there is still a lot that I need to do. One big change for me is that I’m no longer watching TV before I go to bed. This was a bad habit I had got myself into (I live in very small studio apartment, with my front door and window about 25 feet from a busy highway, so I used to have the TV on almost all of the time to drown out the road noise.) but the change has been good. I sleep much better without the TV yapping (the big trucks driving by are loud but at least they don’t invade my subconscious the way having the TV on when sleeping does) and even falling asleep is not as hard as I thought it would be. Now I just read until I get sleepy.

    I’m still not brave enough yet to get rid of my TV (silence might be good but it is scary too) altogether but I’m beginning to think I ought to.

    Reading wise I’m still plugging away at Emerson: The Mind on Fire. The bio is very interesting but also very dense. Emerson is definitely an interesting person. I dig a lot of his ideas but he makes me sad too. He seems so close to connecting with God but never does. I don’t understand that.

    I’ve also been doing some reading on Asian philosophies, especially Taoism and Zen Buddhism. Both are intrigueing and have some interesting commonalities with Christianity (but of course so major differences as well).

    The books I’ve been reading are the Tao Te Ching, The Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living by McClain & Adamson, Thoughts on the East by Thomas Merton (Merton, a Trappist Monk and author, has been one of my best teachers in the the discipline of Christian contemplation and meditation), and Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and friend of Thomas Merton). — After I finish these books, I also want to read Zen for Christians which from the reviews of it on Amazon sounds worthwhile.

    But, despite my interest in Eastern thought right now I can’t get past the non-theistic viewpoint of traditional Buddhism. My own experiences seem to say so clearly that there is a God. Sometimes God seems close, sometimes he seems far away, sometimes I wonder if he’s asleep and ignoring this world altogether, but even in those moments of doubt, I never doubt that He exists.

    What I do like about Buddhist practice (but Zen particularly) though is the idea of mindful living and making time for stillness. It really fits in well with the changes I’m trying to make in my life right now.