Ah well. Now I start to grok.
Whether it’s chasing the spiritual attainment of enlightenment or the material goal of establishment, what I am after is a feeling of having arrived. To reach the end of my seeking, striving, straining, waiting. Dreaming of a future point in which I will no longer be dreaming of a future point, but will have landed in the Now, forever.
Because of this double-horned obsession, every time I take stock of my situation, both inner and outer, I find it comes up short. Both I and my attainments can never measure up to this projected future state of “arrival.”
Like the groundhog, I come out of my hole at regular intervals, see my shadow, and withdraw in despondence that Spring is not yet here. (OK, so the groundhog probably doesn’t get despondent about it, but no metaphor is perfect.)
What I grokked on my way in and out of the public sauna today was this: whether I see my shadow or not, it is not up to me, neither my fault nor my problem. If the Sun is low enough in the sky for my form to cast a shadow, then Spring is not here; that’s not my fault and it’s not my problem. All it means is it’s not Spring yet.
True, it would be nice to have such impeccable timing that this groundhog only came out of his hole at exactly the right time and had a smooth, celebratory transition from winter’s hibernation to spring-awakening. Nice, but not optimal.
Regarding this—a continuous feeling of faulty timing—my optimism, it seems at times, is close to a kind of insanity—or at least delusion-denial—one definition of which is to keep trying the same thing over and over and expect a different result.
So then I take the insanity plea. But it ain’t no sin, and the existence of the shadow, the absence of Spring, only signals that I am premature. It doesn’t mean I am doomed to eternal winter, as it sometimes feels.