I thought that this book was highly dumb, because a) it should have been about ten pages long, and b) Okay, so one should chill out, treat everybody how one wants to be treated, and get rid of ones material attachments. Sattva enlightenment ensues. That's not so much the question. The question is how you do those things. It's not that this book is without advice on the subject, it's just that the advice looks like this:
Relax. Take deep breaths. Meditate. Empty your mind. Focus on loving kindness for all living things.*
*Offer valid only if you are upper middle class, pretty much don't do anything with your day, and don't have to spend time worrying about anything, such as money, food, a daily commute, buying or selling anything, politics, the environment, religious fundamentalism, the state of the world in general, or coming into contact with anyone who might, say, not want to focus on loving kindness for some reason. Offer not valid in territories, protectorates, the Continental U.S., Europe, Capitalist Nations, Socialist Nations, Communist Nations, or countries or collectives bound by laws or communal social contracts of any kind. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball. Attempting to achieve inner peace may cause passers-by to gawk and small children to poke at you with sticks. In the vast wide history of time, enlightenment has only been achieved by a couple of people sitting under trees three thousand years ago and some dude the Romans ended up nailing to a cross, so good luck with that.
Anyway, I thought: you know what, I could write this book. Only I could write it such that it was, a) actually useful, and b) entertaining enough that people would want to read it. I bring all of this up...(this sentence, or ones like it, now litering the discourse among the Three Weblogs of The Apocolypse)...because of Stonesthrow's last post about doing...stuff...with/in your life. I, too, tend to be an incredibly lazy ass, most of the time. Or that's my perception of myself, and probably everybody feels this way at least some of the time--the sensation that one should be doing 'x', but is not doing 'x', and instead playing solitare on the computer (or maybe that is just me).
One of the theses of this imaginary book I'm at least pretending to write is that I tend to think this phenomenon is some sort of a denial of ones true and essential self. If, for instance, you smoked and really, in the true and essential sense, wanted to quit, you would just do it. I don't mean to say that if you can't quit smoking you're weak-willed or nothing (there is that thing about nicotine being as physically addictive as heroin and all), more that your true and essential self really wants a goddamn cigarette, and that's the thing that needs to be addressed (if I can get a functional way to help quit smoking, or turn off the tv and instead paint your house, based on this idea, then I'll really have something). Greg pretty much sums this up, in the context of writing, when he says, "...I decided that I was just a procrastinating writer, and to suck up and deal, (but) I am perhaps too willingly accepting this."
I've thought about writing some sort of long narrative (many people are just referring to this concept as a 'book' these days) for years, basically since college, and every time I sat down to try it, I found I just couldn't make myself write. I thought for a long time I didn't like writing, but in fact I like writing a lot--e.g. I used to write letters with an obsessive focus. On the other hand, it turns out that I like blogging, it seems to be something I want to do, so I've tricked myself into writing this way. Or, in the above-described model, I've discovered a particular thing about my essential writing-self and I'm trying to work with it.
One can make onesself do things one doesn't really want to do. Sometimes one has to do this, but on the other hand, it sure isn't fun, and one surely is miserable while it's going on. So you: want to quit smoking/can't get yourself to write/don't want to paint the house/get off your ass and make the world a better place/etc. That seems to be step one. Step two is recognizing that an essential part of yourself needs nicotine or doesn't like painting or whatever. It's not that I don't believe in laziness, I believe that laziness is a symptom of trying to make onesself do something one doesn't want to do, or doing it in a way that one doesn't want to do it. I don't have step three formulated yet. I'm working on it though, because goddammit Greg, you've got to quit smoking.