Sometimes you sit down and try to nut it out. Whether it’s your tax return, a foreign language, or a novel, it just doesn’t make sense on first reading. Or on the second or third…
Perhaps you have a professional or business or social group in your life. It may require a ‘maintenance of standards’ by way of annual requirements. The one to which I belong does. You need 100 points a year, accrued by talking, doing or reading stuff. And, furthermore, more points are given if you reflect on what you have said, done or read. This is a godsend. Half the stuff I read doesn’t make sense to me on first reading, but when I read it again I get..er..more points. I may not understand it, but I reflect.
Of course, this can have a downside. I have a book by my bed called “The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart”. The average amount I can read before my eyes close is six sentences. Take this example from Sermon 40: “If you seek anything of your own, you will never find God, for you are not seeking God alone. You are looking for
something with God, treating God like a candle with which to look for something; and when you have found what you were looking for, you throw the candle away. That is what you are doing: whatever you look for with God is nothing, whatever it might be..the reason why you find nothing is simply because you seek nothing. All creatures are pure nothing. I do not say they are a trifle or they are anything; they are pure nothing” ZZZzzz
No wonder this passage was condemned by the Pope in 1329! He couldn’t understand it. Ergo, it must be heresy.
Give me Zen anytime. Few words, preferably none. Only action. In the moment. That’s it, man.
Groucho Marx understood all this. His alter ego Capt Spaulding says in AnimalCrackers: “Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west, and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce, they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh… Now you tell me what you know“