GIVEN THAT CHRISTMAS IS JUST DAYS AWAY, and that I sell antiquarian and technical books, you might imagine that my business would be dead about now. You’d be right. It may end up being the slowest month in the history of the company, which is going on nine years. Those are facts. There isn't anything in the bare facts to cause suffering. There’s absolutely nothing I can do about current conditions, so I can fret and whine, or I can relax and enjoy the time off. I’ll go for the second option. If there was action I could take to change things, I’d take it. Since there's not, I'm going with What Is. In the absence of my opinion, everything is always going great.
I SEE THERE IS FOOD IN THE REFRIGERATOR; the tea canister is full, the house is warm and dry on a drizzly day, and there are 3,000 books here to rumble through. Outside of my imagination, where’s the problem? I think I'll stay out of my imagination.
WHAT I NOTICE IS THAT I CANNOT SUFFER unless I project imaginary consequences of my current experience into a fantasy future. There are certainly lots of available scary stories to be found in the world of make-believe. If we were twelve years-old and sitting around a campfire, I might tell you about them, just for fun. We aren’t, so I won’t. I won’t tell them to me, either. There is little actual concern here in regard to business-as-it-is. I feel a bit of tension—meaning a bit of contraction into “me-ness” in my upper arms and shoulders, so I can’t claim my concern level is absolutely zero, but it’s close enough. I think a taste of suffering keeps me humble and helps holds me true to the course. Of course all of that ease could change in half a second. All I'd have to do is tell myself a scary story and choose to believe it. It’s nice to know that drama is always so close at hand, should I find that I want some. Right now I don’t.
SO I SPENT THE MORNING with my head in a stack of books. I plan to spend the afternoon the same way. All of the animals came and sat with me. They could care less how Henry Dickens & Co. is doing. They know we’ve always taken care of them, and happily assume that we’ll continue to do so, given that we’ve never given them any reason to doubt me. That doesn’t mean they won’t come roust me if I’m slow on the go at mealtimes—they will—but that’s just growling stomachs in action, not fear. They're confidence is well placed; we'd go hungry to see that they didn't. When I look at my life, all 59+ years of it, I find that my experience is precisely the same as theirs. I’ve always been taken care of; I’ve no reason to doubt that support has now come to a stop, or that it soon will. I've been rescued out of every mess I've ever gotten myself into. How do I know? I'm here, mess-free and happy; it's totally self-evident. I always get what I need; it can’t be any other way. Thus all I have to do is want what I get and I can live dilemma-free.
LIVING IN WHAT IS HAS QUITE PRACTICAL BENEFITS. Living in "what isn’t" carries practical penalties. It’s not about later; it’s about this very day, this very situation that I so want to think is an exception to the truth that What Is rules. Nothing else even gets a vote. So why give it head time? How we look at things is a choice. We don’t have many choices, so we might as well utilize the ones we have. The Tao is perfectly neutral. What we see is what we project. I see a nice holiday season made better by some time off. I don’t see anything beyond that, because there isn’t anything beyond that. I hope your holiday goes well, too. Cheers.