“The intelligent and the brave
Open every closet in the future and evict
All the mind’s ghosts who have the bad habit
Of barfing everywhere.”
– Hafiz, The Warrior
“You’ll see the miracles that happen to you when your senses come unclogged.” – Anthony De Mello, Awareness
A month ago I had one of those head colds that just gums up the works, making it hard to focus on anything. I caught it in London, carried it in Scotland and then back to New Hampshire with me. You carry on in circumstances like that, but you know you’re not playing your A game. Perceptions, mistakes, past glories, biases and self-limiting beliefs are like that head cold; holding you back and keeping you from doing things for too long or forever.
I’ll confess I’d never heard of Anthony De Mello until this book was mentioned on a podcast, but it’s one of the most profound books I read this year, and I keep pulling quotes out of it. They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear, and this year I’ve been heavily invested in my education. And I think it comes back to the writing. You commit to writing daily, and sometimes you’re writing about some woman in a kimono or a battle that took place where you stood that day, but other times you mine the mind, clearing away years of crap and dig deep for the good stuff. Maybe it comes across in the writing, or maybe I’m not there yet, but I feel the improvement and the refinement that comes with daily discipline.
The rest of that Hafiz poem is worth reading, and I thought of posting the entire thing, but instead added a link to it. Hafiz put a spotlight on my own ghosts, barfing away in the mind, needing to be evicted. We all need to clean out the past, stop planning for a future we may not see and live in the now. Easier said than done of course. And it doesn’t mean to ignore the past and not learn from it. Nor does it mean to ignore the future. To live in the moment is to eliminate the concerns of the past and the worries of the future. We’re all going to the grave one day, but if we’re lucky maybe not today. So given the blessing of being alive in this moment, why not make the most of it?