It takes such silence-- such being quiet and noticing what is in the quiet with us. What is right now. Right here. It takes such narrowing down. Leaving the drama at the door. The constantly looping tape of what happened when to whom, and whose fault it is, and noise, noise, noise... Remove the noise from our life and there is nothing there. We feed on noise. Noise keeps us from knowing how it is with us-- and there is anguish there, and agony, and fear... So bring on the drama! Bring on the noise! We don't have what it takes to do what it takes to just be here, now. Nobody is just here, now. Everybody is somewhere else, on their way to somewhere else. Thinking about something else. We have to be here, now. Thinking about--attending-- what is with us here, now. Knowing what needs to happen here, now. And doing what we can with the gifts/shtick/specialties/abilities/etc. that are ours to serve and to share, to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, how it needs to be done, because it needs to be done, here and now. That is the tape we need to loop repeatedly forever. "What needs to be done here, now?" We do not need to escape the present. We need to be present in the present, doing what needs to be done, here, now. Simple as that.
My idea of/for The Great Society isn't all that great as societies go. There would be no disparity, for one thing. No polarity. The upper echelon would interact regularly with the lower castes, and everybody would be living out of the center of who they are, around the eternally valid watchwords: "Know Thyself!" "To Thine Own Self Be True!" and: "Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You!" Everyone would be looking to see what they look at-- seeing what needs to be seen, hearing what needs to be heard, knowing what needs to be known, doing what needs to be done-- in each situation as it arises. No one would be out for themselves at the expense of everyone else. The guiding lights would be "Liberty And Justice For All." "Balance And Harmony." "Spirit, Energy, Vitality." "Sincerity, Spontaneity, Virtue." And to maintain their awareness of their responsibility for creating and serving the atmosphere required for life to be properly lived in the society, each person would be mindfully aware of their swallowing and breathing, in that swallowing and breathing are things all sentient beings have in common. Difficulty in swallowing and/or breathing would be the cue to move back toward the center, aligning themselves with the way of the society, and being true to themselves in relationship with all others, working out the conflicts/contradictions with grace and compassion, awareness and dedication. No one would be too poor, and no one would be too wealthy, and all would live together in light of, and service to, the true good of the whole. Needless to say, this would wreck the hell out of our current system of life together, and transform how things are done throughout the world. But, the swallowing/breathing trick alone would do away with the need for armament worldwide.
What kept Sisyphus going? The same thing that kept Jesus and the Buddha going. The same thing that keeps me and you going. What else could it be? We all get the same thing out of doing what we are doing. The pay-off is the same. A friend asked me why I did what I did (I was a minister in the PCUSA for 40.5 years). I said, "I get paid for it." She said, "They couldn't pay me enough to do it." I said, "They couldn't pay me enough to do what you do" (She was a therapist). We had a good laugh, and got back to work. It isn't the pay! It isn't the results! It isn't the glory! It is the pure joy of doing what we do, and the satisfaction of having done it! If there is neither joy nor satisfaction in what you are doing, you need to shift your perspective about what you are doing, or start doing something else. I recommend the perspective shift. A perspective shift is possible when what you are doing uses the gifts/specialties/shtick/abilities/daemon/virtues you were born with and you can believe that what you are doing and the way you are doing it (You may have to change the way you are doing it) needs to be done. Sisyphus had to do what he did, so he did it as though it were his idea! He did it as though he loved it with all his heart. He did it as though he were acting the part in a movie about him, and he was playing his role as though an Academy Award were on the line. He played his part so well even he couldn't tell his feelings for it were genuine/authentic or just very well pretended. Was his joy fake? Was his satisfaction false? What difference would it make to know for sure? The impact upon Sisyphus was the same as it would have been if it were real, so it may as well have been real. That's how Jesus did what he did. It's how the Buddha did what he did. It's how I'm doing what I'm doing. How about you?