POEM: A Full Life

Charlie’s was full
Every available space laden to wrest
His well suited
To his interests
Taxidermy and robotics

This short poem offers a challenge to what it means to have a full in , where increasing speed and are worshiped as the means to a good .  I am a big fan of rest and empty spaces as an essential way to fully round out one’s .  Our ’s to , fitting in (“well suited”), and a focus on narrow interests has most of us bamboozled.  In this poem, the and the productive meet in the metaphor of taxidermy and robotics, representing the deadening and effects of an overfull life.  This metaphor also juxtaposes and avocation, where it is unclear what is a and what is a hobby.  While this may be confusing, it hints at the underlying connection that a capitalistic makes.  works best when we devote ourselves to both /productivity AND wants to own both and avocation.  Of course, an endless array of avocations are offered, as long as they support the of some product or service, hopefully in the service of distracting you from the emptiness of your “full” life and the avaricious of endless “growth.”

Emptiness can be .  This is why works best when it crams every available space with inane crap.  ’s very life depends on it.  Surely, must provide abundant avenues to distract us from our emptiness.  However, emptiness is not empty!  If we sit with our emptiness, in the sense of lack of fulfillment, this will foment unrest poorly suited for capitalism.  Even further, in experiencing empty spaces and , we expand our , the framework upon which we see things, allowing us to truly grow.  Buddhists and Taoists are particularly adept at exploring such realities.  Deists might frame this as being the language of , that small, still voice.

After experiencing a period of relaxation, have you ever then experienced increased or dread when “going back to ” appears on the horizon?  In a life abundant in and , while requires effort, it does not require dread.  Dread is a sign of imbalance.  Chronic dread signifies a shortage of .  Dread speaks to us.  One of the central concepts (the first of the Four Noble Truths) of Buddhism is often stated in English as “Life is .”  I have heard this elaborated upon as realizing that life requires effort (work).  Work is not the enemy.  Work is an integral part of life — as is rest .  The issue becomes how to achieve and minimize .  I like the of breathing in and out as a metaphor for whether breathing in or out is better misses the point — as is often the case in Western convergent thinking.  If you do ask which is better, the only sensible response is “what did you do last?”  If work causes , then rest.  If rest causes , then work.  If everything causes you , then look to emptiness.  Of course, emptiness often looks like rest, but there is good work to be done there…

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