Aspiration: a good Latin/English word that still balances perfectly the twin meanings desire and breath. My aspiration for Via Negativa is simple and (I presume) obvious: whether or not inspiration strikes – or lands, or blossoms, or rises from the earth – to write something anyway, at least six days a week.

Aspiration, inspiration, perspiration. Always that spire at the heart of it!

But how to keep breathing when you’re surrounded by dirt? Sing as low as you can:

I wish I was a mole in the ground.
I wish I was a mole in the ground.
‘Cause if I was a mole in the ground
I’d tear them mountains down.

(Old folksong)

Hey, there’s a thought!

At some point in writing down my pretend afternoon and evening, I understood that it was not only possible for me to do what I had decided to do. It was inevitable. It had in fact been inevitable since (at the very least) I left the office with the conviction that my drift had to stop.

In other news, Andi’s back from pilgrimage (wherever “back” may be). I urge you to read both of her lengthy posts about it. (The link to her first doesn’t work, for some reason, but it’s still on the main page – scroll down to “Sarnath: Do the Hokey-Pokey!”). She inadvertently provides strong, circumstantial evidence supporting an assertion I made here just last week concerning the difference between a journey and a pilgrimage. The latter might provide a better model for the course of a human life, I thought, because of its superior power to change us, to make us question ourselves and the goal and origin of the trip. Andi says,

The shrine at Lumbini was rather unattractive, a squat whitewashed brick box over the archaeological work at the site of the Buddha’s birth (marked with an extraordinarily precise stone). But it radiated a kind of peaceful calm, and people came to bow, meditate, circumambulate, and pray. It was wonderful. I was sad to leave Lumbini, but I had gotten a special 3-day visa (side-stepping a rather large 30$ visa fee) and had to leave.

And then, Bodh-gaya.

And here, my mind stops. The words won’t come.

But of course they do. It’s as natural as breathing.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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