The evils of making plans, a great radio interview, Justin Bieber, and clinging to your problems

Hey everybody, I trust your summer is going well. On my end, this is my favorite time of the year and there just isn’t enough ‘day’ each day to enjoy everything, yet I do my best not to miss what is important to me.

On that note, let’s begin this week’s blog with an email, from Kyle T:

“…then in another blog you talk about trying to live your life NOW, but I mean, how? What’s wrong with planning for the future and taking steps to make what you want happen?”

Nothing is inherently wrong with making plans, Kyle, you gotta steer the ship or it WILL crash, yet it’s the idea of placing expectations on our future that I am focused on. Talk about believing in an illusion, placing an expectation on tomorrow and living for that outcome, geez, folks, tomorrow is entirely beyond your control, all you really have is today, NOW, and yet we sit and organize our lives with fixed future expectations and essentially waste the time we do have by not living it NOW.

I’ve said this before, you ARE gonna die and if you don’t grab at what you want NOW, it will leave, and it’ll leave anyway whether you grab at it or not, Life waits for no one, remember? The secret is learning to be here NOW, to drink in Today, NOW, this moment. Drink it in quickly, don’t linger and yet, linger long enough that you actually taste your life as it is rather than deluding yourself over what could be but isn’t, something without taste or essence, for ‘could be’ does not exist, yet or perhaps ever, only IS is left for us to enjoy, so I say, enjoy IS and free yourself from the heavy mind-fuck of your future expectations.

Of course, a lot of us have lived so shamefully that we run from facing our past and look forward breathlessly to some future event which will relive us of the burden of our past deeds. This, too, is an illusion, for you drag your deeds -or their memory– along with you, especially if you’re ashamed of yourself, and those memories are the Furies who, like Orestes, give no peace till they are changed, from fearful and dark phantoms to joyous givers of life and light.

That means forgiving yourself and accepting who you are and what you’ve done, a tall order for most, especially for anyone with no damn clue who Orestes was or his bedeviling Furies.

Man, are we in need of a General Classical Education

And we are in need of lightening up, of becoming less serious-minded and severe with each other.

I was reminded of this just this week, when I was invited to participate with Double T and Jim Stone on the Low Budget Morning Show on WXRX 93.9 The Rock! In Rockford, IL.

Over the course of the summer, I have given several interviews wherein I did my best to describe and explain my views of the state of the Heterosexual Relationship, interviews where it struck me afterward I was trying hard to make sure I was understood. After reviewing my piece from a couple weeks ago, I had a dawning moment:

“Milt,” I said to myself, “Geez, man, you may be a genius with all sorts of vital information, but you need to lighten up and have some fun; don’t worry if nobody ‘gets it’, just be you and enjoy yourself!”

Yeah, good advice, Milt, thanks, just what I needed to hear, thus when I arose at 4 AM on the 25th, I knew exactly the tone I wanted to strike; didn’t know what I wanted to say, of course, as I refuse to script myself, a process which essentially robs me of my spontaneity if I’m trying to remember my scripted messages, but I knew the feeling I wanted, and when the interview began, that feeling quickly flushed me and I must say, I had the most fun I have had in any interview in a long while. Yep, freed myself from worrying if I made my point and all that needless mental bustle, and just went for it.

Now, I’d like to get your view on how well I did, so if you have a 15 minutes, check out the archived show on the link below:

I get all sorts of emails each week and I do my best to reply to all either here or privately; some of them are silly, some deeply personal, and some, uh…well, here’s one, from Tanya P:

“What do you think of Justin Beiber? Is he a real man or not?”

Tanya, this is still a young boy who has yet to be tested; I know, he has a lot of women chasing him, but he has yet to lose and/or fail, the real test of a real man: how does he respond once he’s failed? A real man absorbs his lesson, pays attention to the details and vows never to repeat his error if he can; he isn’t too hard on himself, either, for he knows the very best men have failed before and have risen to perform great deeds of thought and action. Failure, to a real man, is his teacher.

In Beiber’s case, he has a long way to go, and from the precipitous heights upon which he has been placed, his eventual fall could be epic! Somebody needs to get him a copy of How High Should I Jump, preventative medicine if there ever was any…

A friend came by yesterday afternoon expecting me to cheer him up from his latest emotional crisis, only to find me pleasantly sitting by myself outside in the shade.

“Meditating?” he asked.

“No, conversing with friends,” I replied.

He looked around. “Uh, you’re alone.”

“No, I’m never alone, I’m investing my time out here with Socrates, Diogenes, Heraclitus and Carneades whenever I want, I just call and they come, and they never judge me -they leave that to me- but they’re always available and give me more than I can take and they offer advice on the littlest to the largest subjects, and they never lie to me.”

He just stood there, almost laughing. “Milt, you are so weird!”

“Nah,” I said, “You’re the weirdo, not me!”

“Uh, why do you say that?”

“Well, you’ve been coming around listening to me bullshit on philosophy for over twenty years and it hasn’t done you one bit of good!”

“What? I listen to you, I even like some of the stuff you say!”

“Oh? Look at you, you’re all down and wounded over your latest problem and you came here to get some enthusiasm yet if you’d been actually listening to me all this time, you wouldn’t need me to pick you up ’cause you’re problems would have evaporated long ago, but I think you LIKE clinging to your problems.”

Yeah, I knew I’d pricked his wound. “What?”

“Sure, gives you some meaning, some sense of importance, but you’re like a piece of paper in the wind, blown here and there by the slightest breeze, and then you come to me ’cause you like the way I make sense of everything, then you go away and forget all the tools and insights which could make your life better.”

I sensed he wanted to say something, defend himself but, as usual, I didn’t give him an opening. Look, I have very little patience for whiners and people who excessively magnify their problems, especially when they understand what I deal with, and have, going on 14 years now.

After a moment, he finally sat down and I handed him my pipe. “When you finally get sick of hearing yourself moan and bitch about nothing, then you’ll be ready for philosophy; until then, it’s just entertainment and mental gymnastics for your amusement.”

“Uh, what’s the first step in that direction?” he asked, and for once I could see he was serious. Usually he’s flippant and avoids any personal responsibility issues, but maybe he was actually getting tired of carrying his bag of issues around with him.

“The first step is to realize you’re so-called problems are no different than anybody else’s and that by constantly talking about them, you keep giving life to them. You ever hear me bitch and moan about my situation?”

“No, not really.”

“Then become my disciple, do what I do and learn to see things as they are and are not, and then…”

And for the first time since I met him, I think he heard me. We shall see, of course, but something seemed to dawn on him yesterday. His parting words to me:

“You know, Milt, I think I’m ready to meet some of your friends, can I come back this week and maybe…”

Hell yes you can come back, friend, for my door -and the School’s- is always open

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