Posted by: David Weimer | March 2, 2010

Born to Wonder book-in-the-works excerpt (journal entry)

These last journal entries illustrate a change in perspective that I had recently gone through.  This is a time right after Kathy divorced me.  It’s also three months after I had spent an interesting week in the West Virginia woods on the Rose farm in a tent followed by my ‘night of hell,’ as I used to call it.

After Kathy insisted that she was serious about our divorce, I moved out of Oakland into a house on Suburban Avenue in the South Hills of Pittsburgh.  It used to be an ashram, a place where spiritual seekers, truth seeker guys, would live in the company of other people similarly obsessed, in a setting that supported their chosen life’s aim—it was a contemporary ad-hoc monastery where one could read, study and meditate without external distractions.

There was only one person living there still when I arrived.  Paul worked at Borders, in Monroeville I think.  He was a fellow TAT member.  This ashram had retired itself from being an active center ten or more years before.  There was a spare bedroom upstairs but a local friend of the owner had his audio equipment piled in there up to the door.  I was desperate for a place to stay, and Bill, the kind-hearted owner of the house, allowed me set up a cot in a corner of the enclosed back porch.  In the 70s, it had been converted into an esoteric library and it held a fascinating range of books.  I remember feeling a sense of irony, lying on that cot scanning all those great titles on the wooden shelves.  I guess I’ll have more time to read some of those now, I thought.  I was grateful to have a place to stay.

8/1/96

Now that I hold pen in hand the muse that was rushing down steps like some kind of overflowing bath tub is a trickle, a damp floor, and nothing more.  We fall in love with our cleverness, and pine away the hours away from her.  And nothing more.  I have been thinking about this lately, and other things.

If I spent all of my time recording all of the significant insights and thoughts I am aware of each day, or hour, it seems that I’ll have no time for anything but recording—eventually I’d be stuck, noting this twitch or that itch and only that, and nothing more.  But.  The demand from within to recognize that I had better write it down.  I had better—this message goes not to deaf ears.  Because I agree with it, and yet, prefer often, to stay in bed….

I’ve recently read a transcript of a talk Krishnamurti gave in 1944 [found on the shelves of my new library-home] where he recommends strongly that we DO write down each and every strong or weak impression on our consciousness; doing this, he says, slows down our whirlwind self and allows us to get a grip, a real first time grip, on our thought processes (or process).  I think his suggestion is noteworthy and worth taking.  A worthy experiment I will try.  -DW (8/27/96)

8/04/96

I lament the loss of my life.

When my body was a thrill and new and

somehow special.

When push-ups made me stronger and wiser.

I sorrow the loss of my perfect shape and

excellent flexibility.  I miss my body, my life.

I miss my wife.  And the times when we had each other

in our lives.  Sure it was that, and not this,

but I can’t help the sadness and the reaching out that

my heart does.  Still clinging to her, and the past.  At last.

Like a grieving woman, for me, it is into the grieving

that I fall, and not the thing grieved, so much.

Loss, for loss’s sake.  Crying and sadness.

I miss my life.  I look at my body and it

doesn’t seem mine.  I don’t know why.  Not all of it,

hardly any of it.  I am thankful and grateful to

my body for doing so much—allowing me to do so much.

I feel as though I’ve abandoned my childhood pony,

he and I used to canter home with ears flattened and

feet drumming;  Lucky used to walk and grab a head full

of grass on the hoof; I’ve turned away and

said goodbye to all that, regretting it.  The sadness propels

me into thoughts of inner depths and outer space.

Where is me?  Where is me?  Why me?  Where am I?

Why.

This isn’t an easy place to be:  It is, because I’m here—but I feel empty.  What is me?  I am just like all the rest, but I’m damn sure not.  Depth.  Being.  Seeing.  Feeling.  Real me.  Feel; See.

8/04/96 later in the day, at 1637 Suburban Avenue ‘library.’

What I’m going through is hard to convey.  Damn dear difficult.  It’s not easy—okay.

I feel like I’m heading somewhere.  I don’t mean here.  When I consider the so-called direction of my life, I laugh.  I’m looking at something half-done.  No, that doesn’t feel right… Right now, I honestly don’t know what to think about my life, and its direction.  I don’t have a vision of Jobs and Kids and houses, oh my.  None of it means anything to me.  Nothing matters.  This sounds bad.  It really does, I know.  But I don’t know where my life is.  What is.

I ride waves of euphoria and epiphany, glimpsing more and more of the pattern, and later, I don’t care at all.  Because the pattern is not for me.

Questions go round and round in my mind—never ceasing.  I am not satisfied by any of this.  Yes, I think a sunset beautiful.  Yes, I laugh and cry with feeling.  Yes, I miss my life.  Where is the meaning—What is… What is?  I wish and pray.  On what, and to whom.

Whom.  Room.  Through.  I Fall.  I pass out of waking.  Sleep.  Why not?  Why not.   Why?

8/21/96

My emotions, the barometer of my being, are like the ceaseless waves crashing to shore on the ocean.  Many are similar, then they gradually grow in size and intensity and then there are a few, or maybe one really, really big crasher wave and then things gradually decrease, or, stay the same—briefly—before starting some new, similar yet different, phase or cycle.  Endless.  Like clockwork.  Always pounding the beach.  Sometimes just the faintest hint of movement, just a mere lapping at the sand; always changing, always the same.

The beach is me.  The sand is my feeble consciousness.  I’m trying to build a sand structure of understanding that will withstand the forever waves—but this is impossible.  Always, sooner or later, the ceaseless motion and repetition of the approaching and receding water wears my castle down to nothing—sand.  Indistinguishable from the rest of the beach.  There are scattered shells, flotsam and jetsam, but even this occasional bump or shape is worn away to nothing, to sand.

The sand is my feeble consciousness, that when I try to form it into structured, ordered, fortress—fails.  So then I look at this sea, and its motions.  After frustration at fighting the ocean and losing, I look at this thing I have hated and have no energy to hate in my exhaustion at fighting it.  I see it through eyes with no purpose, no plans to conquer.

It occurs to me, watching the waves roll over on themselves and break against the sand, that there is a purpose to the sea and its movement.  This thought is whispered, only.  I watch the waves marching toward me.  I am aware after a time that there is a rhythm.  Nothing more.  I don’t plan or scheme—I only see that, there is something.  I am removed from the thing, and still, there remains something there.

I am separate.  The sea is the sea.

This is not the result of fighting or thinking, even.  This is.  When I stopped, paused long enough to look, understanding settled in.

Well.

Maybe I was wasting my energy, trying to fight my emotions.  They just kept coming one after another, wave after wave.  What could I do?

To fight was necessary.  Otherwise I would never have hated.  To hate is necessary, otherwise I would not have felt intense enough to keep fighting long past any reasonable stopping.  To fail was necessary, so that I could finally see. To finally see was necessary, because now, I think, I can begin.  This IS.

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Responses

  1. Hi Dave,

    I must say some parts of the entries above touched a chord in me. Some of them are SO emotional, and I can feel your pain. Pretty deep stuff.

    I agree with the fragment you posted by Krishnamurti, to write all our deep impressions down, because it slows us down enough to notice ourselves. I’ve been journaling for years every day, and I have to say it’s not every day that strong impressions happen…But when they DO happen, I am ready and write them down like it’s second nature, and that objectification, that process of writing them down and putting them in perspective, is so imp to me. I think that distance is essential to me figuring out my processes and observing them from a more detached point.

    And I think most writers are like that, probably you as well, that’s why we’re addicted to writing. It helps us get away from ourselves, at least for long enough to notice ourselves better.

    On a side note, I also want to write a book one of these days, but the subject escapes me. I’ve been journaling for so long that’s the way I mostly write now, so how can I format my confession-style writing to form a book?! That’s my current monster I’m battling lately 🙂


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