She’s not really sad, of course. She knows, I’m certain, that while she’s blissing out to Laguna Beach, the rest of us are not studying the Torah. When it comes to TV, though, the big winner in my poll is Law & Order, which, with its tidy, world-ordering plotlines, is a first-rate inner-peace-ifying narcotic. Passivity, though, doesn’t satisfy across the board. Many prefer total absorption in a task, even if it’s not an interesting task. There is hope in the mundane:
Doing the dishes. Don’t tell my wife this, but cleaning up the kitchen gives me some sense of control in my life.
I unwind by fixing things and single-mindedly learning how to do manual tasks. My car is a favorite subject. I’ve replaced its timing chain, power-steering pump, radiator. For a while, I got into upholstery, I have recovered a couch and several chairs. I knit 5 scarves then stopped. Lately it’s been carpentry, I built a closet then a woodshed. Cooking is another thing; used to be stews, now I’ve started to bake bread.
Besides yoga, pills, and Law & Order, the most popular response was some variation on “inner peace is not possible in New York.” One respondent put it this way:
I wonder how many people in NYC are actually seeking “Inner Peace.” It’s not on my list of things to do. People might be a lot more serene if they settled for a nice slice of pizza.
That’s not a cop-out, it’s a solid piece of advice. What he’s saying is, savor the abundant pleasures of everyday life. Just stop grinding away. Of course, it’s hard not to when we’re so accustomed to it, so in this issue, we offer a bit of both big ideas and small: We examine the relationship of inner peace to faith and conquering addiction and we talk about spinning classes and what kind of red wine best puts you out. Somewhere, let’s hope, there’s something that works for you.