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Friday, 5 March 2010

Life is good

It’s snowing again, a real snow-storm settling in for the night. Somehow, I’m not really surprised; this winter set out in North-West Europe to show us what weather can really do and it’s not quite finished yet. Yet it doesn’t really bother me – it’s more like the last, flailing blows of a punch-drunk boxer who doesn’t know that he’s beaten and that the towel is shortly going to come flying into the ring. The sun is already up when I leave for work in the morning and the equinox is only a couple of weeks away. And for those who posit that this winter proves that global warming is only a myth, the answer is very simple; global warming is about world climate – one hard winter is simply weather; spectacular, miserable, depressing, but still just weather.

This evening none of this can really get to me anyway. Maybe it’s just the promise of spring around the corner, maybe it’s the fact that it’s Friday evening and the weekend’s ahead, that I only have to work for another week and then I have a week off, during which I’ll be flying to Ireland for a few days. Lots of good things to look forward to. But, on reflection, although all this helps, the real things we need for equanimity, for contentment, for happiness are the littler things, the more immediate things, the deeper things. I spent the early evening with my daughters and my grandson and I could experience that they are all – each in their own way – basically content and happy, at least today. I drove back through the wind-driven snow, the frisson of slightly treacherous road conditions just enough to keep me pleasantly attentive, the Beatles playing on the sound-system in the car, a tiny microcosm of everyday, magical technology taking me warm and secure over twenty-something kilometres in a little more than half an hour, a thing of nothing which would have been a major, uncomfortable undertaking a hundred years ago.

In an online discussion this week, a friend of mine complained eloquently about the moral bankruptcy of the political, the controlling classes worldwide. He’s right of course, but my reaction was, somehow, to think of Voltaire’s Candide and his conclusion with regard to the big questions of life; il faut cultiver notre jardin. Not that the big questions aren’t important, or that it isn’t a major problem that most of us are resigned and disengaged most of the time. But the starting point is with each one of us, in the here and now. Tasting, experiencing, cherishing every moment which, as it flashes into now, is the only thing which really exists, the only thing which really matters, as we live it grounded in our own centre. Archimedes claimed that, with a lever and the proper fulcrum, he could move the world. That fulcrum is our own centre and the lever is now.

“Komm, Lass uns leben, Lass uns leben, Lass uns leben immer mehr, Komm, Lass uns leben, Lass uns leben, Zu leben ist gar nicht so schwer [Come, let’s live, let’s live, let’s live more and more, come, let’s live, let’s live, it’s really not so hard to live],” sings the German singer-songwriter, Marius Müller Westernhagen.

Life is good.

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