So just continue to act with total devotion to what you are doing until there is total oneness between you and your activity.
My aim is to become writing. I want to merge with my activity in order to transcend the “I” of the doing who has no other way to describe his doing except to own it with a “my.” I want to surrender ownership and identity and simply be what I do. In that self-sacrifice, hopefully I allow the universe to do its thing, which it always already is. When I am in the midst of my becoming – which entails an uncertainty about who I am, or rather, an impossibility of locating my self and seeing who I am (because there’s no self present in activity) – I am the unceasing fire of the universe. I want to burn, and then return only to witness the creations born of that burning.
How do I get there? I listened to the “Art of Charm” podcast for the first time this morning, an episode that focused on reversing the adage of “quality over quantity.” The host suggested that quantity begets quality, echoing Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours concept, the idea that you only master something by consistently showing up; i.e., by doing the damn thing. So how do I become writing? By writing. (Duh.) A lot. More than a lot. Instead of trying to write something perfect, or at least good, I should just write without any concern for the outcome. Eventually, something might come out that resonates. You can’t figure out the right combination without hitting a ton of wrong ones first. And by wrong I don’t necessarily mean bad. There’s no point in value judgment here, as that will only get in the way of creating. In trying to sequence together letters that form flourishing (or at least surviving long enough to be noticed) life, I’m mirroring my own creation. I am DNA, coding new life. Life itself is an epic series of failures. Most attempts at creation collapse in on themselves. Damn near all life forms ever created on this planet have gone extinct. What a bold, reckless thing Art is, then. Artists attempt to defy the odds. Most of what we produce is destined to die immediately. But we then assimilate those failures into knowledge, using their precedent as motivation for further production. What’s interesting is that a similar form in a new context might take hold; it’s hard to predict what will actually fit any environment. The variables are constantly changing. You are constantly changing. The Artist writing the first sentence of this blog post is measurably (and immeasurably) different from the Artist who’s trying to string together words that make sense together in this sentence, the one that’s just about to end. What of the Artist who steps in to keep the fire going right now? Try to pin him down, and you’ll have already missed the new one catching fire.
So what? So nothing. So keep going. Keep writing. Ideas breathe with each punch of the key, and they’re gasping for air. They’ll only live as you continue to pump life into them; they need your work, your energy, your total commitment to their survival. Don’t even think about thriving until the idea is breathing steadily. Until it’s well-nourished. Ideas need a baseline, a steady heartbeat. If they’re on life support, how do you expect them to get up and dance with anyone else? If you’re not feeding your ideas, how can they possibly endure? You have to give them a chance to make it on their own, to prepare for the encounter with others, people who might not be so eager to keep them alive. You have to teach your ideas to dance with the same patience that you teach a friend or a child or a student or yourself to do anything new. You have to fail in your teaching and learn, together, resilience. You have to keep showing up, keep hearing the clicks, the writer’s heart beats. You have to fall deep into a rhythm that overrides and overwhelms you. You have to drown and die and become water, fluid and alive and perfect on its own.
Total oneness means the glorious absence of the “you” who craves separation and identity, who clings to the shores that give “you” grounding and shape. Watch as “you” slowly drifts away, returning to the ocean of existence; of pure, undifferentiated energy. In the middle of that source is where you are already always Writing.