Monday, December 7, 2009

Dialed-In Like Cat Nip

Serendipity. Being dialed in. In the groove or flow. Every now and again, if we're lucky, we get a glimpse of this kind of feeling. For me, when it happens, it often happens outside. Running can open me up to it. Walking. Occasionally while playing a team sport like vacant lot football or pick up hoops. Writing, reading, and talking with people about same presents one of the main veins or avenues of opportunity for this feeling.

Saturday morning I was the only one up. Kicked back, drinking coffee, reading and writing on the couch. Christmas lights glowing and just watching our cat, Carlos, for a good stretch of time. And contemplating the life and actions of a cat. They are a trip to watch, their forever-in-the-moment approach to life. And I thought about how freeing, to be able to just be there, not so caught up in the next thing. So I took the photo above and a couple others. And I scribbled this down in a notebook:

Cats have got zen down.
It's now. And the next.
Fuck tonight, or tomorrow--
neither exist.

Everything is fixed in a gaze.
Or a coiled-spring crouch.
Or a stretched out nap.

Weather forecasts,
shopping lists,
checking balance,


There's not much to that. That's an exercise I call skimming the surface of first thoughts. Just snatching the rough material that's there at hand before it wanders off somewhere else. Hopefully it opens a door, or becomes the on-ramp to bigger flow.

I sipped some coffee, picked up Gary Snyder's "The Real Work," and started reading where I left off. Here's what I found, where he's discussing the value of meditation and his study of zazen:

"It wasn't alien to my respect for primitive people and animals, all of whom/which are capable of simply being for long hours of time. I saw it in that light as a completely natural act. To the contrary, it's odd that we don't do it more, that we don't, simply like a cat, be there for a while, experiencing ourselves as whatever we are, without any extra thing added to that."

Uuuummmm... Yeah. I guess Snyder gets what I'm talking about. Perhaps gets it enough that he can expound on the thoughts I'm having at present via an interview he did in April 1977, just as I pick up his f-ing book on page 97. Go figure. Thanks, Gary ;)

So that's my dialed in moment for the weekend. I love when that happens. It charges me, inspires me, affirms thoughts occasionally. And keeps me tuned in to being open to it happening more. I think it's a kind of experience where you've gotta recognize it in order to be able to cultivate it and invite it back. Make sure it digs hanging out.

Any of those kind of moments for others? What activities or experiences put you in touch or get you dialed in?


Kelly said...

first thought best thought always does it for me, it's the only rule i try always to follow when writing, among others that i've learned to follow, or break as the years have pressed on. it always awakens me, always, always taps me more in to the clear stream, makes evident that clean line. i call it spontaneous download, but was so happy to be reminded reading this that my own practice comes first from those crazy poet magi's so active on the edge 50 years ago. or saturday morning, with the cat. whatever, same difference...right!? thanks for the reminder.

Joel Shilliday said...

amen. good stuff MV.
I am always racing to get the minutia out to get to the good stuff; painting, photography, etc.
Need to have it more available. And just get on it.

stephen bardsley said...

MV, Good stuff as usual. What gets me there is my drawing. When Im in my drawing zone, my mind wanders to the point I really have no idea what my subject is. My hands are just putting down shapes and contrasts. When I come back to reality, more often then not, I rip the drawing up, but sometimes I like whats on the paper. check out the blog, I know youre a Ravens fan.

Later, Bards