Everyone but me looks back on my behavior in judgement. They can only see my acts coupled with their results. But I act now. And I cannot know the results. I give my actions their only possible meaning for me, and this meaning always issues from ; "I am responding to this part of me and not to that part."
I don't live in a laboratory ; I have not way of knowing what results my actions will have. To live my life for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration and to hang over my head the threat that death may at any moment make my having lived a waste. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them. The quality of my reward is in the depth of my response, and the centralness of the part of me I act from
Because the results are unpredictable, no effort of mine is doomed to failure. And even a failure will not take the form I imagine. The most realistic attitude for my to have toward future consequences is "it will be interesting to see what happens." Excitement , dejection and boredom assume a knowledge of results that I cannot have.
If I work toward an end, meantime I am confined to a process.
The rainbow is more beautiful than the pot at the end of it, because the rainbow is now. And the pot never turns out to be quite what I expected.
There is a part of me that wants to write, a part that wants to theorize, a part that wants to sculpt, a part that wants to teach
To force myself into a single role, to decide to be just one thing in life, would kill off large parts of me. Rather. I recognize that I live now and only now, and I will do what I decided was best for me yesterday.
Boredom is useful to me when I notice it and think; Oh, I'm bored-there must be something else I want to be doing. In this way boredom acts as and initiator of originality by pushing me into new activities or new thoughts.
The more I consult my feelings during the day, tune into myself to see if what I am doing is what I want to be doing, the less I feel at the end of the day that I have been wasting time.
I have recently noticed that many times each day I take a quick mental survey of my activities up to that point in the day in order to determine my direction. This mental activity is spontaneous, almost subconscious, and seems inherent. If my activities do not add up to a direction then I ma at least slightly depressed and enervated. If for some reason I feel at that moment incapable of heading in a "good" direction then I sense a desire within me to head in a destructive direction; for example, to go, really go, to pot. Any direction seems decidedly preferable to no direction at all. This may be one of the causes of violence, destructive love affairs, alcoholism, etc. A "goal" is implied but the need seems to be for direction- to feel in the process of becoming.
As I look back on my life, one of the most constant and powerful things I have experienced within myself is the desire to be more than I am at the moment-an unwillingness to let myself remain where I am-a desire to increase the boundaries of myself-a desire to do more, learn more express more- a desire to grow, improve, accomplish, expand. I used to interpret this inner push as meaning that there was some one thing out there I wanted to do or be or have. And I have spent too much of my life trying to find it. But now I know that this energy within me is seeking more than the mate or the profession or the religion, more even than pleasure or power or meaning. It is seeking out more of me; or better, it is that God, flushing out more of me.
The past is over and the future is not yet-my desires must therefore be in and for the present. "I hope I will lose some weight" means that right now I am experiencing a feeling of dissatisfaction because the reality of my body and the way I picture myself conflict. Thinking that my desires are for something in the future prevents me from accepting responsibility for them now, and worse, causes me to plan out my tomorrows.
Often the desires that I think are for the future are based on unrealistic concepts of myself that I want to fulfill. "I want to work out a theory of reality based on precognition"- is this a desire to be myself or a desire to fulfill some wishful image of myself? I am all that I am in the present. What I wish I were or think I ought to be has to be looked for in the future.
When I see I am doing it wrong there is a part of me that wants to keep on doing it the same way anyway and even starts looking for reasons to justify the continuation.
A sure way for me to have a disastrous experience is to do something because "it will be good for me."
Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes and I am left the same as I began. The more things change the more I am the same. It appears that my life is a constant irony or maturity and regression, but my sense of the progress is based on the illusion that things out there are going to remain the same and that, at last, I have gained a little control. But there will never be means to ends, only means. And I am means. I am what I started with, and when it is all over I will be all that is left of me.
There are times when a talk to a person who is riding high on some recent insight or triumph, and for the moment life probably seems to them to have no problems. But I just don't believe that most people are living the smooth, controlled, trouble-free existence that their careful countenances and bland words suggest. Today never hand me the same thing twice and I believe that for most everyone else life is also a mixture of unsolved problems, ambiguous victories and vague defeats-with very few moments of clear peace. I never do seem to quite get on top of it. My struggle with today is worthwhile, but it is a struggle nonetheless and one I will never finish.