Why Write? Notes About Writing and Love
Someone asked their spiritual teacher about writing a book about their story, the remarkable experiences they’ve had that brought them to where they are now. The felt they should write about it. But they had trouble doing it, or even getting started.
So here are this writer’s reflections on this.
Why write? How to write?
It’s not about a “me” writing for them, it’s about the Love.
And so it makes sense, doesn’t it, to do what you love.
Because love comes out of love.
Nothing comes out of nothing.
Maybe making videos is what you love. Maybe watching bees do what they do is what you love.
Maybe you like to talk, share, express that way, and tell someone about the bees.
Or maybe sit and contemplate the bee’s place in the cosmos and the universal intelligence, or their relation to pollen, flowers, the soil and the rain, in your mind, or your vision, or in your heart. How is that any worse (better or) than writing? Or cooking a pot of beans. Or making love to a turtle (if you’re turtle… it’s turtles all the way down).
We don’t know anything.
Why write – the assumption is, or may be, that there is someone to help, someone to convert, someone you want to tell something. Which is fine if you feel compelled to do that. In other words, the assumption is, or may be, that you are separate or special in some way. I’m just asking…
In other words, don’t do it because you should, because of some future gain or fear of loss that is assumed, imagined.
Do what you love, in the moment. Not impulsively, but from honesty to one’s most real self.
Even if that turns out to be a little lie, if you keep going, it will reveal itself.
Maybe. Maybe not. (Does it matter? What at stake? What’s your agenda? Why?)
That’s the best way to help the world. Just love: from stillness, from knowing.
Noise or silence (on the outside) doesn’t matter. It’s where it’s coming from.
A world that doesn’t need your helping.
I used to be passionate about vegetable gardening, but recently I don’t feel compelled to do it. And when I ride around on my bike seeing all the beautiful trees and plants and flowers, and smelling the perfume from the in the air, saying ‘hi’ to neighbors enjoying the morning or the evening too, it’s obvious I don’t have to make all that happen. So why did I feel that I had to make a vegetable garden happen? It was beautiful that I did it, and a celebration of life.
Yes, it has nothing to do with an ideology, belief or concept about gardening, nature, life, the earth, food, health, what one should do.
Of course there is the nice convenience of being able to walk out and pick a green onion or some herbs in the back yard, and enjoy the beauty of growth and the fun of putting it together and being out in the open air with things growing and look up and see the sky, and see birds fly. But driving or biking to the store is also a miracle, and being able to pick out any food one wants, seeing all the wealth of creation there, production by countless hands bringing it all to us, and I didn’t have to stoop over and breath dust and wait months for it to happen. All I had to do is drive in my powerful machine – another enjoyable miracle in itself – go the the checkout girl, have fun chatting, and put a piece of plastic in a machine and walk out the door as a free man with bags of a rich variety of foods from around the world. Isn’t that amazing?
It reminds me of when I was at the community garden, and I had a lot of enthusiasm for it coming in – so much so I ended up as Chair of the garden. But what I saw was that people were coming in for all kinds of reasons that were not love and enthusiasm for gardening. Most of them were doing it from shoulds and beliefs and ideologies and fears and desires – having to do with food, “the Earth”, health, community, what they wanted to tell their friends, or some ideas they had they seen on the internet and wanted to implement, or god knows what. And they would come in for 5 minutes a day or two during the week and spray some water on their plot and yak with whoever was there, then quickly leave to drive back to their office or house. No real connection, no being present with the birds and the bugs and the sprouting plants and the trees and the breeze and the smells and watching miracles happen from the soil.
Or they may have had an image, and idea, of what “organic gardening” is like, then not known until they actually get a plot of brown dusty dirt, how hard it is, how much work, how much knowledge, how much time it takes. But that’s good to know – nothing is lost but illusions.
You might have an image of what writing is like, or “being a writer” is, only to discover, sitting in front of a page, or looking at some words you wrote, that in fact you don’t like it. Not at all, in reality. No sin in that. Discover by doing. Thinking is deceptive.
Or maybe what you love is selling real estate, and talking to people, showing them houses, and making money. That is all beautiful and perfect too. Not from greed or fear or trying to prove anything, compete, build or protect a self-image, be “successful”. That is all garbage, misery, separation talking, telling you what to do, leading you around by the nose. But even that, eventually, will be a walking stick that breaks, and you fall and hit your nose and wake up suddenly: “What the hell am I doing?!”
One woman had a beautiful garden she tended. She did it as an art, it seemed to me, with her sweet little daughter there, learning and appreciating everything about it, wondering at the bugs and all the things the adults ignored. They did it with love, from love. And they put little sculptures in the garden plot. She had no agenda. She did her research, with calm intelligence. It yielded healthy vibrant colorful crops of vegetables that sprang forth on their own, with a little nurturing.
And there were also axes to grind in the “community”, individual sense of separation resentments and hates because of the past and rules and powers and grudges playing out. It devolved into battles and politics and I did my best to steer it in another direction, gently, loving, peaceful, free. The next Chair that came in, was a more extroverted teacher type, and was able to raise the bar some in her own way, get them back to gardening and fun. But some folks were still more interested in winning and proving and taking and enforcing and destroying others, stirring the pot, maneuvering and manipulating… And so I was glad to leave and go do things I loved on my own, without that craziness to “handle.”
(Why bring all this up about the garden? You will see soon enough – you can even skip the following paragraph!)
Even trying to introduce some creative ideas, an invention to curb the ground squirrels situation – indeed they were eating and destroying so much that people were abandoning their plots (and no one stayed at the garden and wasn’t present long enough to even notice what was going on, what was really happening in front of their eyes. I went and just sat in the garden, unplanned, no agenda and they emerged and I could see) – that actually helped in a practical way, was not received well. Or later on, when I dug down within myself, to introduce love and peace or beauty – anything would be fought against by a faction, shot down, would be seen as political or a position in contrast to their position of what it was about. Or not heard at all. Or would last maybe as long as I made a presentation, a show and tell, or read a poem, and maybe for only a few gardeners during the meeting. Or those receptive or already have a certain view. But then it was gone and back to fighting and squabbling and yakking – everyone wants to vent their grievances and opinions the wrenching self in the gut – between separate seeming individuals and doing and doing and doing … and then gone and back home and an empty garden again, just the birds and the bugs and a puzzled human digging in the soil…
Yes, I had come into an environment not of gardening and community but of positions, seen as the right-wing fascists and the left-wing do-gooders, at battle. Everyone wanting something. Dissatisfied. Hurt. Crying.
What do they want?
Wanting Love. I didn’t see that until it was time for me to move. I gave a few hugs to surprised embattled enemies.
But they are gone in the now as I sit in the garden. The garden of love.
Love is not a political position, or a belief, or an ideology, or an emotion. It’s not something between people or between bodies.
So even love will be turned into “spirituality” or religion or politics or neutered, covered over quickly.
So what “difference” can you make?
Who cares – meaning, why do you care. Meaning, who is there to care – and why are you worried about the one that cares? In other words, what do you really care about? What do you really want? Maybe it’s really money, security, pleasure, fame, gross stuff… a healthy body, a healthy pocketbook, the esteem of your neighbors …. all good, all fine. I like those too. But first see that and stop playing games. Just for a moment. What is there to prove or show?
Would it kill you to be yourself. And stop. And listen?
What’s important to you? Really.
Stop running and hiding. Playing game of hide and seek and showing cards, a card game.
A place to start.
Or if playing a game, play it consciously, knowing that’s what you are doing, and have fun, joyously playing a game, like playing a song of a happy musician.
We have all these words – “love, intelligence, power, beauty, silence, games, musicians, Consciousness…” do we really know what’s happening here?
Why do you profess, or want to profess to know? Why tell a story?
For the same reason you sing a song.
The kids playing outside are having more fun than you. 😉
Imagine being an adult and doing that consciously, without any fears and needing adults (bigger adults – like spiritual teachers, government, banks, in-laws, girlfriends, buddies, the approval of readers, or any readers at all, that are not part of You…).
So the writing will be like that: fresh as a flower, just sprung from the ground. You hand one to your friend standing beside you, inside you, now.
There’s no one to follow but your Self. There’s no one to please but your Self. So why not be demanding. Be happy with it, with the doing, with the writing, or sitting under a tree with the bees, or the turtle poking.
There’s no reason to do it. There’s no reason to be alive.
Yet you always are. Now, not in the future.
If you want to chase a friend, laughing and screaming, in the garden, do it.
Here you see I’ve made a case for innocence.
But it was all done in innocence, sincerely.
And I enjoyed it.
Thank you for listening.
Postscript – Serendipity Strikes Again:
A friend – Michael Dowdall – sent me this, a few minutes after I posted this article (he had not seen or known about the article). I don’t remember saying, or only vaguely now (in an email), but it was perfect timing: