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September 26, 2008

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Elsita :)

I completely agree with your last line Billy, in the end it is all about your attitude towards life. David Foster knew this well, you can see it in his speech. I am sad that he ended his life. I am sure that he was a man who carried lots of things in his mind, he was obviously a deep thinker.
I agree with him when he says that you always have the power to chose your attitude. I try to follow this idea as often as possible. I also think that we have to learn how to give our senses more power: seeing, touching, smelling... we shouldn't let the mind be the center all the time. I think that all our senses need to be activated because through them we experience life in a more complete way.
I know two people who committed suicide, they were close to me in different ways and what I noticed is that they used to live in their minds all the time, they gave the mind so much power that they forgot about experiencing their bodies and their physical presence.
I tend to think that the best thing is to "imitate" children, they live the moment in an intense way, they see everything, they notice everything, they're curious, they wonder...we tend to lose this power as we grow older but I guess that we have THE CHOICE to stop this from happening. When I look around I see that the happiest population is the one formed by children, they smile and laugh more often than we, as adults, do.
Let's learn from them.

Elsita :)

Greg H

Hi Bill,

I too found his speech affecting. It's interesting how his words express so much of the Eastern or Buddhist perspective, but in very Western, declarative terms. In fact, there's a Zen story that features a fish swimming about, bent on finding water, panicking because he can't seem to locate it.

This piece brings to mind another story in the Zen tradition that seems related (I'm paraphrasing):

The only thing that makes the story of Sisyphus depressing (pushing the rock up the hill only to have it roll back down, for eternity) is the idea or concept in our head that there is some alternative to pushing the rock. But in reality there is only the push, then the fall, then the next push...

I've always loved how this expresses the often contentious relationship with the present moment most of us experience.

Enjoying the blog. And good luck on the move.

--Greg

Margaret Oomen

This really reminds me of the fact that we all "see the same things" unless blindness in some form has affected us but our perception of what we see can be so different. We could think of perception as the concerted activity of all our senses as they experience and interact with each other and with our environment. I believe perception and attitude are closely more closely linked when we are young and then as we age preconceptions grab hold of us and influence this transference. The auto pilot program takes over. We don't have to live this way . We can choose to rediscover the "spell of the sensuous" as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Abram calls it. This is an one of my favorite paragraphs from his book by the same name. "Walking in the forest , we peer into its green and shadowed depths, listening to the silence of the leaves, tasting the cool and fragrant air. Yet such is the transitivity of perception, the reversibility of the flesh, that we may suddenly feel that the trees are looking at us- we feel ourselves exposed, watched, observed from all sides. If we dwell in this forest for many months, or years, then our experience may shift yet again- we may com to feel that we are part of this forest, consanguineous with it, and that our experience of the forest is nothing other than the forest experiencing itself."

Patricia

Foster's piece is a brilliant piece of writing in the way it takes the reader/listener from the mundane and the concrete to contemplating our fundamental existential nature. I can imagine that Foster tried to deal with the negative voices in his head just in the way he describes trying to overcome the default programming. Really sad that he couldn't; what a great loss.

Your conclusion gets to the heart of what Foster's piece means. Thank you!

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