Sunday, September 19, 2010


"My favorite cure for boredom is sleep. It's very easy to get to sleep when bored and very hard to get bored after a long rest. My next favorite is coffee...If these don't work it may mean deeper Quality problems are bothering you and distracting you from what's before you. The boredom is a signal that you should turn your attention to these problems-that's what you're doing anyway-"

Robert Pirsig
"Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
Page 285

This book was published to great acclaim in the mid 1970s-if Oprah had a TV show then, I think it's a lead pipe cinch it would have been on it. I first read it in high school, and then again in college, and like the old saying that you never step into the same river twice, I've never read this book the same way twice. I tend to turn to it when I am troubled, usually giving it quite a while between readings. I read it last year, and just picked it up late last week. I finished it this morning-maybe ten minutes ago.

It's about everything-it's about values, and trust, and being a parent, and mental health, and truth, and beauty, and how to live your life, and God, and death, and sex, and the belly of a black winged bird. And oh, a little bit about motorcycles, too. It is very close to being my favorite book, and is certainly in my top five. I can't tell how many times I have read it-but it's certainly in the double digits.

The above quote spoke to me this time. I think that's absolutely true-not only about boredom, but about frustration and a lot of things. You might as well turn away from what you are "trying" to do-because you're not trying to do that at all. You're focusing on the thing that's bothering you, really.

The problem, of course, is when the big Thing-the Thing that's not what you're doing, but is affecting what you're doing-is so big you can't deal with it, so big you can't put aside what you're doing and fix it, either because it's unfixable or at least unfixable right now, or because it's utterly unfixable because the laws of time and space forbid it.

What do you do then?

The book doesn't say.

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