Rules of Enjoyment

Featured_sporting_arrows_215x1681Imagine that in your hands you hold an old bow and arrow. It is summer. The sun is rising. You are young and better looking than you are (why not?). All is quiet except for birds singing. You gaze up at distant hills and the last of midnight stars.

You feel like you’re in a movie that only you will see, but that’s not sad. It’s profound. It’s an opportunity for you to enjoy the show.

Wild grass swishes against your legs as you walk into the centre of a meadow lined by trees. The air smells damp. It is cool, not cold. Selecting a spot from which to launch, you position an arrow and raise the bow. A lively tune from your soundtrack is playing. Tension builds. Aiming high, you hope to hell no one gets killed.russian dollIn this imagining where you are better looking than you are, the arrow is you, the bow is you, the air is you and where you land is you. It’s all you!

There’s unity in what you see. Wisdom is knowing that organisms in a meadow are each a part of it. You are as much a part of the meadow as anything else in that meadow. To feel no separation between yourself and your surroundings – to merge in what you see – is the ultimate enjoyment of the earth-trance kind. People may feel peaceful absorption while gardening, rock climbing, walking on a beach or in intimacy. It is to lose yourself in where you are. It is a subtle feeling as light as a line traced by a fly.

When your mental chatter goes quiet and you feel the landscape seeing you seeing it, that is when you slip into an alternate reality of one. It’s a giddy feeling! Words like, “This is amazing,” come to mind just before you go silent. It’s an ever so slight shift in perspective from how you normally perceive reality. Reality that was out there is now not. There is no out there. Its like a spell that takes you out of yourself, but it isn’t magic or mystical. It’s ordinary. It’s extraordinarily ordinary. It’s a silent, click. The world around is always there, but we stop noticing. Thinking keeps us busy and detached.

TWANG! The arrow zips into the air, where it lands… you don’t care (it’s the flying not the landing that matters).

Such is life.


You’re like little castle in a pond. This is the thrill of your loneliness but it’s tricky because everything has an opposite. There’s enjoyable alone (alone and glad of it!) and there’s suffering alone (alone with self-pity)These things loop.

If you’re happy alone, you’re happy alone but the more alone you feel, the more alone you are. The more self-conscious you feel, the more self-conscious you are.

A person alone who takes care of himself is together. A sign of sanity is to be happy alone and to take care of yourself. To feel separate and alone is to feel broken. On one side there’s you and on the other, everything (and everyone) else. With people, the more alike we are, the more we like, but the more unlike, the more dislike. To feel a kindred spirit is to feel unity. To feel the same behind the eyes, is to feel as one.

In this imagined sending of an arrow into the air, the arrow is you, but what if you tie rocks to your arrow? People who tie rocks of pride, vanity and conceit to themselves weigh themselves down. If your desire is to enjoy life and to increase other people’s chances of enjoying it too, the thing to destroy is all trace of arrogance, vanity and conceit. Humility is one of the most powerful weapons in the life-battle to enjoy.

poolJust as there are rules of engagement in time of war, so too are there Rules of Enjoyment! The rules are simple. Post them like you would post swimming pool rules.

  • Never substitute your own enjoyment for other people’s ideas of enjoyment
  • Never sacrifice a life of contemplative sensation for a life of outward success
  • Never let haters of other people’s enjoyment interfere with your own

pelicanPelican Rules of Enjoyment

  1. No worries about work
  2. No worries about money
  3. No worries about fame
  4. No striving
  5. No pride, no vanity, no conceit
  6. Remain calm
  7. Remain kind
  8. Remain slightly amused at all times
  9. Enjoy being alone.
  10. Enjoy being together
  11. Enjoy sensing surroundings
  12. Enjoy enjoyment
  13. Suffer through suffering to enjoy again

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A Philosopher of Enjoyment.

3 thoughts on “Rules of Enjoyment”

  1. Why do we shoot the arrow? Why does the flying matter? I’m not disagreeing with you I’m just trying to understand why I do the things I do, it seems I’m on a quest to no where, every intentional act (buying, building, doing) is the alternate reality where we let time exist and goals wick us down a dead end path.

    If I could get back to reality why would I continue to hold the bow? I spend very little time being a part of the world (in fact I spend all my time being a part of the world, what I’m saying I think is I spend little time acknowledging my place in the world), instead I do things to pass the time, mostly media (information at only a human scale) or goal based (go to work, make supper, drink coffee). Doing these things evoke time, and time is a human construct that I’m not sure exists in reality, but having evoked it we also evoke its servants – anxiety, boredom, regret, greed. Must we make a choice? Live in the present – be present (timeless, happiness), or journey between past to future – be everywhere but here and now (tyranny of time. anti happiness). I’m starting to realize that there isn’t a choice, this is just the duality of human existence, we experience both simultaneously, our problem is we recognize them, and this recognition adds weight to one side of the scale or the other that causes us to live our lives out of balance.

    I wonder if we make a mistake in placing ourselves at the top of “the animal kingdom” (another crazy construct), if we must think this way shouldn’t we be at the bottom with every other creature being enlightened – [a] being together with everything while we fight to stay (feel) separate.

    So why shoot the arrow? Well you don’t but you can let it go, let the arrow arrow just as we enjoy the rabbit rabbiting. It will fly or fall of its own accord*.

    As always, thanks for the opportunity to think these thoughts.

    * not on its own but in agreement with nature.


  2. So much! So deep! This shall be a ramble. I apologize. So much worthy of a long conversation, but you don’t require answers from me. It’s like John Steinbeck said, “Nobody wants advice – only corroboration.” There is no answer that can come from another.

    “Why shoot the arrow?” because it’s enjoyable. Why does the flying matter? Because it’s enjoyable. I love what you said, You don’t shoot the arrow. You let it go. You let the arrow arrow just as we enjoy the rabbit rabbiting. Just as you you! Your life is what it’s about. We are not superior creatures. We are, for the most part, inferior creatures.

    You can’t help but be in agreement with nature anymore than you can help being in now. There is no escape from now but people keep trying. You can’t get out of now. We get out of balance through frustrations and expectations. Right now I am in a KOA campground in Durango, Colorado. To be in such a place is enjoyable (I love the trees and rocks and animals! So beautiful!!! but I see people around me who do not agree. Headaches and misplaced pain relievers, noisy neighbours in the next campsite, traffic on the highway, bugs and cold air make it a misery for some. It is far from perfect but it is what it is. This is its perfection as hard as it is to recognize.

    The enjoyment of living is in the enjoyment of living. Like the poet said, Life is a heaven or a hell – it is our thinking that makes it so. The life that I live is fraught with choices but in this there is no choice. The choices are illusory if you think of it that way. I react and say something to try and help but in so doing make matters worse. I cannot do anything for anyone. All I can do is be myself and let the other be the other but herein, I differ from most. When I see another, behind those eyes I see myself seeing me but in this I have no evidence other than in my own feeling. I shall die. You shall die. All of this will be gone but above us is infinity. This is a silly little blog made by a silly little man.

    I stood in the lane behind my car in this campground surrounded by industrialization and gazed at the most amazing sky I’d ever seen. I stare and things appear to be shifting and moving as if there is nothing solid at all…. nothing makes sense and in that, there is sense.

    I think I know more than others but I don’t. I don’t have the innocence. I am nobody on a planet with billions of people. There is nothing I can do but I can be alive to the beauty of it all. Sure, I’m an ass a lot of times. Who isn’t? Continue to be who you are and start noticing. Think without thinking.

    I saw a cattle drive today. I drove up a mountain. I had a long talk with a bum who knows that he’s stupid but that knowledge doesn’t stop him. He never stopped trying to con me. He just doesn’t get how to connect. Rich dangerous drivers who think nothing of trying to push me off the road in their quest to get ahead. They too don’t connect. I tire of calling people jerks. I know they can’t help it any more than I can help it. We’re all the same. The only difference is that I know that it’s silly to race ahead. It’s not wise to do these things.

    We get so lost in our little worlds we miss seeing the big picture. I feel sorry for each person. In this I find a kindness to forgive. Each person is lost in a head and some have no room for anyone else.

    Ten years from now I may be in a hospital bed riddled with pain. I say enjoy it all. Enjoy the show for that’s what it is. It is good to laugh. It is good to cry. Enjoy the drama of the jerks. Anger, I quit that game.

    You say you are on a quest to nowhere? I say, Good for you! Aren’t we all? Where is nowhere anyway? Isn’t nowhere here? This little blue marble flying in space. You are on a quest to here. I am here too. The here I’m in smells a bit like cat pee, but I think that’s the smell of the trees. You are on a quest to yourself. I dream of wisdom in a loop of looping each night. I too go nowhere but here. Let the arrow arrow! Fly baby fly! Let go and do what you do.


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