Does the Dude remind anyone else of Pooh Bear??? Silly old bear forever in pursuit of honey... Wouldn't you say the Pooh Abides? Ever read the Tao ofDoes the Dude remind anyone else of Pooh Bear??? Silly old bear forever in pursuit of honey... Wouldn't you say the Pooh Abides? Ever read the Tao of Pooh?? Try to get a visual of Pooh relaxing in the tub, surrounded by candles, enjoying a few smackerals of honey, when suddenly and rudely some nihilists break down the door to his tree. Imagine his reaction. Oh bother...
What is it that's so great about the Dude? Is it his deeply casual fashion sense and attitude? His lack of regard to one's class or station? His not treating objects like women? His clever comebacks (...it's down there somewhere...let me take another look,...he fixes the cable?)? His valuing of peace of mind over success, power, and money? His at-easeness with himself and his lack of need to prove himself to anyone? His authenticity and the fact that he still jerks off manually?...
The Abide Guide describes the Dude as a superhero whose superpower is taking it easy when others (e.g. Walter) take umbrage, an example of exalted ordinariness and humility, and unapologetically unheroic. As the book notes, we are all astonishingly ordinary. But so many of us try in numerous ways to prove that we are anything but ordinary by striving to become or appear special (as defined by society and advertising) while being uptight assholes to each other in the process.
I still have a lot to learn from the Dude and this book offers some good lighthearted suggestions for Abiding like him. The thing is, that unlike trying to get a promotion at work or win a race, Dudeness cannot be achieved by striving or working your ass off. It's achieved by relaxing. It's like those Magic Eye pictures. If you focus and concentrate and try to see the 3-D image in the seeming chaos before you, you'll never see it, no matter how earnest your efforts. You have to relax your eyes, and then before you know it, voila!, the image "magically" appears. Relaxing is the key...
To me the Dude is a great example of a healthy man. He is not an ineffectual wimp, but he's also not a heroic Schwarzenegger. He meanders down the "Middle Path" between ineffectual nihilism and heroic fanaticism. He follows a natural vibe, thinks for himself, and doesn't allow society to define for him what makes a man. He is truly comfortable and content with who he is. I'm not sure I agree with the book that the Dude is an example of yin and yang in balance. I could be wrong, but I think he errs a little on the side of yin. But in an overachieving over-yang world (at least the U.S.)we need more yin to keep it all in balance...
I found this 10th anniversary edition at a used store. After reading it I am interested in reading the most current 20th anniversary edition for StarhI found this 10th anniversary edition at a used store. After reading it I am interested in reading the most current 20th anniversary edition for Starhawk's latest insights.
I think I've been headed or drawn toward a Pagan path since my mid-twenties when I went through a couple years of Hakomi therapy. I feel extremely lucky to have chanced upon this kind of therapist. Hakomi is a body-centered therapy that validates the felt language and experience of the body. This seems quite in line with Paganism.
While I like and agree with so much that Starhawk says, I still feel uncomfortable with the organized aspect and the various rituals of Paganism. The organized aspect scares me because I don't want to lose my individuality, and the rituals frankly just seems kind of silly in their supposed solemnity. Starhawk, though, seems committed to validating the individual, and seems to have wisdom enough to know the importance of a sense of humor so that one does not end up feeling too righteous. She seems extremely grounded and so does the type of Paganism she espouses. She does not float off into a misty, magical, pure realm divorced from dirty and difficult practical concerns. As Starhawk says, "Fascination with the psychic-or the psychological-can be a dangerous sidetrack on any spiritual path. When inner visions become a way of escaping contact with others, We are better off simply watching television. When 'expanded consciousness' does not deepen our bonds with people and with life, it is worse than useless: it is spiritual self-destruction."
Magic, as I think I understand it, is a means of focusing attention in a particular way so as to expand consciousness in order to glean answers that we already had which were perhaps obscured by the regimentation of routine thought patterns, that will finally engage us in life more fully, giving us the will to try to change practical reality (i know that was a long sentence!!) Something like that? I could have this wrong, but I think I'm starting to get an inkling of what magic is.
Wow! This just might be the Holy Grail. The word God in the title almost scared me off. I'm glad it didn't. I'm trying not to get hung up on the wordWow! This just might be the Holy Grail. The word God in the title almost scared me off. I'm glad it didn't. I'm trying not to get hung up on the word God, and see it for what Geneen Roth sees it as, namely one's inner wisdom or inner nature. The main idea in this book is that you can use food as a doorway into knowing yourself. This is very different from most ideas about food in regards to compulsive overeaters, namely that food is the enemy that one must gain control over and conquer.
I have conquered food many many times using steely resolve and willpower, and lost lots of weight. I always eventually put the weight back on, and then some. I remember when I was 23 and weighed 145 pounds. I wondered how I ever got so FAT. I put myself on a diet and lost 20 pounds. But then I gained it back plus 15 more pounds within a year. Now I was 160! Dieted again, gained it back plus 20 pounds. As long as I don't get to 200 I thought...but I did, and way beyond. I went back and forth dieting, and then caving, dieting and caving until I got to over 300 pounds. I've often wondered what would have happened if I had just let myself be, been satisfied at 145, and never dieted. I doubt I'd weigh what I do today. Dieting might have made me appear to be a "good girl" with discipline and willpower, but my obsession with food did not leave me. In fact, I think it only got stronger as I tried to ignore and deny it. My seesawing weight is typical of most dieters. I think the statistics are that 90 some percent of dieters eventually gain all their weight back plus some! Wow, and yet there is a multi-billion dollar diet industry that caters to, or rather, preys on and exploits those of us who want desperately to lose weight. It's insane, and it seems it's only making us fatter and more obsessed!
Shows like the Biggest Loser, which I once auditioned for, make for great TV, but in order for it to be great TV, it has to be all about the pounds lost, and quickly. It takes too much time for one to work through substantive issues! In my opinion, shows like the Biggest Loser also make self-hatred and the abuse, scorn, and judgment of overweight people acceptable. The trainers might as well be whipping the contestants! I have to wonder why the trainers get so upset when one of their trainees doesn't lose "enough" weight. Do the trainers get paid more if their team loses more weight than the other trainer's team? I would not at all doubt it, but I'm sure it's kept in the strictest confidence, and were the trainers to reveal this information, they might be sued.
Anyway, back to this wonderful and wise book. The book is really about obsession. One can be obsessed with (addicted to) many things - work, shopping, cocaine, sex, sports, exercise, food... What all obsessions have in common is that the addictive substance or activity is used as a way to try to meet some underlying need/s while also not experiencing and being aware of oneself bodily. As the author says, obsessions and awareness cannot coexist. Funny that I claim to be so body-oriented and aware...I think that when it comes to using food I do not have a clue, and since thinking about, as well as eating food, takes up a good chunk of my time, I must walk around in a sort of fog, and not have much of a clue about myself most of the time. I think I have mistaken actual bodily feelings for thinking about feelings. As much as I can criticize the abstract realm of thought, I sure like to spend a lot of time there...
What the author suggests is bringing awareness to one's body when one has a craving or when one eats. It is being curious about oneself. What does the craving feel like? Hot, cold, hard, soft, blue, fast,feathery, etc... It is staying with, working through, and being aware of the bodily sensations and thoughts/beliefs associated with food that the author says is the key to moving beyond an obsession with food. Steely determination and willpower to conquer overeating might work for a time, but the desire to cave and have the "forbidden fruit" will eventually win if there is no awareness of feelings and thoughts behind the overeating. Though one might temporarily be in control, the desire to overeat is still there.
What needs is one trying to meet with food? Instead of engaging in a battle of wills with one's obsession one must lose the desire to overeat by becoming curious about the obsession with food. By paying attention to the experience of the obsession, by sticking with it and letting it have its say instead of reacting to it, according to the author, we learn the beliefs that we hold that gives our obsession with food such power. Where did those beliefs come from? Why do we hold them? Are they relevant to our current lives or were they relevant only in the past? We become aware of what needs we think food will meet. In other words we get to know ourselves instead of simply reacting and caving to some seemingly omnipotent and magical force. We realize that the emperor is wearing no clothes, and there was no need to be so intimidated.
One might look at compulsive overeaters and say that we are overly indulgent and permissive, and we are when it comes to food, but when it comes to the inner needs that one is trying simultaneously not be aware of and also meet, I'd say that at least in my case, I'm probably pretty anorexic. I try to have as few needs as possible, and have often lived on next to nothing, lest the rug get pulled out from under me. Realizing that I probably have needs that I have tried to numb out and ignore puts my interest in survivalism and shows like "I Shouldn't be Alive" in a new perspective. Hmmm...
Anyway, there's lots more I could say, and lots of wisdom in the book that I have not mentioned, but I think I'll stop here, and just say that this is the first time I've felt real hope regarding my overeating. I tried an awareness exercise during a recent craving and it yielded interesting and positive results which gave me hope and moved me through the craving. I have also, since that exercise, decided to ditch awareness to try to satisfy my craving (for what?) with food. No doubt this will be hard work, but I will try to turn the curiosity I have for ideas and the external world inward toward myself. Who am I? Who knows... What the hell am I craving??? A whole new terrain to discover! An archaelogical dig for treasures! ...more
About a third of the way or so into it I thought this was maybe a 2 star book, but as I read on I got pulled in deeper and deeper, and realized that iAbout a third of the way or so into it I thought this was maybe a 2 star book, but as I read on I got pulled in deeper and deeper, and realized that it was really a fantastic and fantastical story. Though so much of the story seemed hard to believe factually, I found it rather easy to suspend my disbelief maybe for the author might call its "meaningful shape". I began to wonder if part or all of the story was a hallucination. I tried to figure out what was real and what was imagined, and then gave up simply because I was so drawn into the story that it did not matter. I did wonder, though, what religion had to do with the story, that is, until the story became 2 stories, and each one was pretty much as unbelievable as the other.
The question becomes do we want a "dry, yeastless factual" account of things, and if not, which story is the "better story"? Christianity? Hinduism? Islam? Lots here to meditate on... ...more
I remember reading this book more than ten years ago and being enthralled with it. I loved its emphasis on one's doing meaningful work, and that it maI remember reading this book more than ten years ago and being enthralled with it. I loved its emphasis on one's doing meaningful work, and that it made the worker of central importance rather than the work itself. I still love the book's message, and agree with most things the author has to say, but I'm not so enthralled with the writing. I wouldn't quite say that the book is full of platitudes, but for the subject of work, which most definitely exists in the practical realm, the writing does seem too abstract, "spiritual", and lacking in concrete steps that might be taken to achieve the meaningful work it speaks about. So my initial rating of 4 stars has gone down to 2.5 stars after my second reading. ...more