How much of joy depends upon our ability to let our thoughts and intentions go when they are no longer working! How much of it on spontaneity, knowing when to do something and when not. Only an example can clarify this.

Even though I was tired yesterday and I didn’t think I could work on the essay on the relationship between Guru Nanak and Mardana that Geetanjali Chadha suggested I write for Sikh Formations (RoutledgeI sat down and wrote the introduction and two whole single-spaced pages. I was pleased and thought and intended that I would do the same today. I was all geared up for it and when I sat down to do it, it simply wasn’t happening. By ‘happening’ I mean being in that wonderful, that rare space where the writing happens not just as ideas and notes but the word by word weaving of sentences and ideas into that one braid that will make the stay of the sail. It is continuous, unfolding like the unfolding of flowers, spontaneously, organically, almost mindlessly. Today that space was not present. Fortunately, I realized it, shut down the computer, and made us a nice salmon scramble for breakfast, cleaned up the few dishes that Payson hadn’t done (he does them most of the time), cleaned the counters, mopped the floor because it was sticky, all in the greatest happiness.

It wasn’t always like this. I have suffered my whole life from the disease of self-will. I have wanted control of my day, and imposed my own agendas on it. In my prioritizing my time thus – writing, writing, writing first – I have missed out on the joy of my life. When my agenda was not successful, I spent my entire day grumbling, unhappy with myself, the day, the sunshine, the flowers, and God herself for not fulfilling my desires and wants. For over fifty years I have lived like this, believe it or not, because human nature can be so persistently blind and get into vortexes from which they cannot extricate themselves. They keep going round and round and round in it endlessly without even realizing that something is wrong, or something is being done wrong which is the cause of your suffering. We can get used to anything, even hell.

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