Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Regaining integrity in purpose

This last month or so has seen my direction in life tossed a bit this way and that, perturbed by a wonderful Spanish girl and a spiritual journey to Ireland. But now, slowly, four days after saying goodbye to that girl, I am beginning to regain my integrity of purpose: namely dedication to writing my thesis.

Some may think this is an easy thing: just sitting and reading and writing... Either they've never undertaken such a large task, or they've done so many that the steps fall into place before them without effort. I'm still young, and I have only attempted small tasks in comparison with this, so often I am paralyzed by its sheer enormity, and at other times I spin off into work which ends up being too tangential to be relevant. The balance of effort and overview is delicate, and takes practice.

This little diagram represents my mental operations when still a bit disoriented. Basically, my mind goes in five different directions, at random, without a great deal of focus.

This is where I was last Thursday, the day Ana left. Also for at least part of each day since, but I can sense the flutteryness of my mind settling a bit. I'm focusing more, in part thanks to meditation, in part due to applied effort in my thesis.

This represents my mental states now: less deviation, more focus; only a bit of flittering this way and that. Now, when I try to focus on something, I can more easily and for greater spans of time.

Ahh... This is me in meditation or in total concentration on my thesis. Very nice - no distraction, no deviation of energy or direction. This is me now, in fact, having just spent the last half hour in a meditation with a couple house mates. The key is now to channel the focus into life a bit - into mindfully living each moment. There is a desire lurking in the background to fall into habitual patterns: staring blankly at the computer monitor, surfing news sites, etc - but these mustn't be allowed to drag my focus away, to spring to life the deviations which dominated prior life.

But in the end they will, so long as my focus is not well disciplined, so long as I am not well practiced. Some day, though, the focus will be attained and will not be lost. When I pay my salutations to the Buddha, in a way, I am paying salutations to that day. That day integrity in purpose will not faulter. Om, ah, hum.

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