Thursday, January 30, 2020


I have watched myself suffering, recently, from what could be called, for want of a more precise description, a lack of motivation. When I say recently, I mean months. I identify the start of this pervasive mood from the time we left for New York in October of last year. That put an end to a long stretch of daily writing, in which things seemed to be moving along nicely--and with an end in sight. (It was around this time I received a "no thanks" letter from an agent who had long been flirting with my project, so I don't discount the rejection as a part of what I have been experiencing). Ever since then, it has been one distraction after another--mostly the usual seasonal things, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, but also other external events (like the dreadful impeachment trial!)--that have kept me from what I have always seen to be my central purpose in life: to get the writing done.

But it's more than just writing. It's trivial things, like simply getting out of bed in the morning, as well as the more important ones, like meditation, engaging in some form of exercise, getting out of the house for the familiar social events. There's a lethargy, an inertia, an inner resistance, that seem to make all these things a challenge that requires a great effort to meet.

Meditation has been especially hard. I have to summon unprecedented strength of mind just to set my behind down in my chosen corner and close my eyes. As soon as I do, all kinds of resistance comes rushing in to remind me that this is all a terrible waste of time; and, this morning particularly, the ultimate question arose: what's the point?

The answer, I know, is that there is no point. Not in the negative sense that it's a "pointless" waste of time, in the loose sense of that word, but rather that "no point" is precisely the point. The "point", after all, is the outcome, and it's the attachment to outcome, the belief that there must be this or that outcome, this or that "point", is exactly the cause of suffering. To learn to accept "no point" in a positive light, as precisely the point, is to find release from the suffering that comes with that absence of motivation I have been experiencing.

As is always the case with such Buddhist-inspired wisdom, it's easy, but it's hard.

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