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A miserable ease

A miserable ease is a phrase used in Harmonizing for the best you could hope for if you abandoned the spiritual quest and went back to ordinary life, the way most people live. It's from Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra where it means the same thing but couched in bombastic German philosophical oratory. I sank into a miserable ease twice in this life: first in Tallahassee in the 1970s, the result of letting myself be seduced by financial success, and then in Seattle in the 2000s, the result of letting myself get lulled by marriage coupled with financial success. Now I have a better understanding of guidance than I did in Boulder. A miserable ease is the best I can do if I rely on thinking for guidance. Human misery is unnecessary suffering we create by thinking. That gets added to the inevitable suffering life imposes: disappointments, aging, death. I've been on the spiritual quest all my life, but for most of that time I made my way by thinking, either trying to figure it out on my own or relying on some kind of external authority, like a spiritual teacher or holy book. I didn't get very far. Finally, at age 54, Leela taught me the secret: I have to surrender to and be guided by my own internal authority, which I access via muscle testing and body sensing. Going to my body instead of my thinking is how I call on Leela. Understanding that the guidance of my body comes from Leela and not my thinking keeps me from getting prideful as I find my own answers.

Financial success. In Tallahassee I was so successful in parlaying my gift for writing into a professional career in program evaluation that I laid a trap for myself: lots of disposable income. I made that same mistake I needed to make in both of my descents into miserable ease. Working for the state was great at first. I got a lot of energy from the job and I was quite good at it, getting regular promotions. My first two years after college were a roller coaster ride from St Petersburg to Tallahassee and back, flying high on a new job, meditation, and the new age church. But after we left the lake house I started withdrawing, pulling away from Linda, Marty and the new age church, fixating on collecting furniture, housewares, books and random curios. I was spending most of my free time alone. I moved to East Park Avenue so I'd have more room for all the crap I was accumulating. When I got lonely, instead of reaching out to the people in my life I adopted cats. Loser.

Failure as a human. My two descents into a prosperous miserable ease marked the low points of my life, interpersonally and psychologically. Both time I became a miserable asshole. In Tallahassee I was so withdrawn it mostly just affected my relationship with my girlfriend Sally. I was already in that state by the time we met, so it colored everything that happened between us. I was not a good lover for Sally, despite my enthusiasm. I was petty, critical, mean spirited a lot of the time. All our best times together involved drinking, sometimes a lot. Booze made me a lot easier to be with; I was always a congenial drunk right up to very end. Sally put up with my faults because she was used to being mistreated (she hadn't been treated well by previous lovers) and she had an ulterior motive: roping me into marriage. In Seattle I was a comfortable asshole at first. But too much comfort made me miserable. So much so I felt like I was beginning to die. Then Leela spoke to me and I began to wake up, a little at a time.