Saturday, October 03, 2009

"Zen and the art..."

"I think that if we are going to reform the world, and make it a better place to live in, the way to do it is not to talk about relationships of political nature, which are inevitably dualistic, full of subjects and objects and their relationship to one another; or with programs full of things for other people to do. I think that kind of approach starts it at the end and presumes the end is the beginning. Programs of a political nature are important end products of social quality that can be effective only if the underlying structure of social values is right. The social values are right only if the individual values are right. The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then to work outward from there. Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value."
Robert M. Pirsig (1928 - )
Source: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : An Inquiry Into Values, Page: 297

About a year and a half ago I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. I learned a great deal from that book, and consider him to be an inspired genius, even though I'm a confirmed Christian, and he a Zen Buddhist. I respect Robert's bravery, and admire his intellect. As a surprise to many of my friends and family, I gained key knowledge about how to be a better housewife from that book. Therein I discovered deep rooted truth based on observation of surface things. As I read, I was drawn toward the things that were true, and the things that were only Robert's thoughts and opinions, I overlooked. Most of it was eye opening, as I read it with a prayer in my heart.

You see, I had been praying for help to be able to keep my house clean. I knew I needed to. So I read this book, and it completely changed my perspective, but as I've stated before, I believe the only source for real change is Jesus Christ. So I believe it was through that book that Christ was able to open my eyes and teach me.

These are some of the basic things I learned from his philosophy:

-Seize each moment of every day as an opportunity for improvement.
-Constantly inspect, pay close attention to small changes, and tweak as needed; my life; my house; my family; my soul.
-Be prepared with my own set of tools to fix my own problems, rather than relying on imperfect and often incompetent "professionals" to fix them for me.
-Do not wait until a problem exacerbates itself before I address it. Stop as soon as I notice it, and fix it with my tools and intuition.
-When raising the children, and teaching myself, celebrate improvement and hard work; passion and genuine talent, and do not focus on competition with others.
-Take joy in my life now, and find excitement in performing my daily, albeit mundane, duties the very best I can, creating quality in my work.
-Pursue my passions and develop my talents, and do not expect perfection or expect to be talented in everything. Enjoy the journey of continuous learning and improving.
-Focusing simply on grades in school is a way to allow mediocre work to slide by, and passions and talents to go unrecognized. Both student and teacher look at the numbers instead of the person, and because of that, years are often wasted pursuing gifts and talents they do not possess or find joy in.
-When faced with a difficult task, first clear my mind of all clutter.

-Maintenance manuals are sometimes intentionally designed to be confusing, because the writer does not have working knowledge of the product,

-When climbing a mountain, recognize that it is the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.

-Sometimes it is crucial to stop, gaze, wonder, and contemplate.

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