Capricious and Surprising

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Unfortunately, I have spent a large part of my 79 years trying to be either defensive or aggressive – trying, that is, either to protect the so-called separate self called ‘me’, or to launch out from that self in an active, creative way. It’s been an exhausting struggle. I’ve had to be constantly on the alert, constantly standing by to either shield this person called ‘Ham’ or use it as a base from which to make things happen. During most waking hours, I’ve been either a defender or an aggressor.

Thankfully, however, things have been changing for me. The mist has slowly been dissolving.  Amazingly, it’s gradually becoming clear that this apparently separate, easily damaged self called ‘me’ actually doesn’t exist! This ‘person’ I’ve devoted so many years to defending and empowering is actually no more than a passing thought! Whenever I search for what I call ‘me’, all I can find is another thought. It might be a thought that I’m vulnerable and need protection, or that I’m strong and can aggressively make a mark in the world, but in either case, it’s not a separate physical person, but simply a thought. The strange and inspiring truth seems to be that my only existence is as a fresh, free-wheeling thought in the always-new present moment. There’s really no separate ‘Hamilton Salsich’ who needs protection or who needs to feel responsible for getting a thousand things done each day. There’s just the endless and shoreless river of thoughts, which some people call ‘God’, and of which I and all of us are a part. This understanding is slowly helping me see that I can, in fact, give up being either defensive or aggressive – that I can finally loosen up, let go, and simply take pleasure in whatever happens in this capricious, always surprising universe.    

And speaking of ‘capricious and surprising’, here are some photos from my walk this morning along the Mystic River, showing the kind of capricious and surprising scenes we always see on our daily walks.

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