And when it came right down to it, the claps of utterance drowned the molecular vibrato raging under the skin. What mattered was obfuscated by what made sense. The everyday forced fragments of sublime into tiny time boxes, stolen, from cab rides, movie commercials, and smoke breaks, distributed dilute into non-existence. What I wanted was short-changed by what I was supposed to want.
And then it was all downhill.
All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
– Blaise Pascal
I went back to my yoga class today. I felt immense gratitude for the teacher so I asked if I could touch his feet. He’s American, but he spends months in India to learn from the Iyengars, so he knows what that gesture means. I only asked to do it because I felt a deep sense of gratitude flowing out from me, something I’ve not felt in my life for a long time, and I got carried away with that feeling. Never once did I stop to think if it might make him uncomfortable. The desire to express was so strong that the idea of not doing it did not even cross my mind. So in someways, I didn’t ask my teacher, I told him I was touching his feet. And he, being his generous self, blessed me back.
The question is – did he really give me his blessing? Did the gesture give a tangible truth to my gratitude? Did I really seek his blessing or was I merely trying to deposit an overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t deal with outside my self?
When I look at it closely enough, even the mere act of saying something to someone smells of my ego trying to establish itself. To speak without being spoken to, is to try and make one’s presence felt. To seek validation from the outside when the inner voice is inaudible or perhaps, deficient?
I’m beginning to understand why people are called mirrors. The ones that agree are in alignment with a part of you that agrees – let’s call this part A. The ones that don’t agree, are in alignment with a part of you that questions what you’re saying – let’s call this B. Very often the mind knows which way it wants to sway – towards A or B (let’s assume B is a bad thing), so it focuses only on the mirrors that amplify this sentiment. When you’re happy and feel invincible, you ignore the Bs and count the As. When you’re depressed you amplify the Bs. It’s like collecting votes from a sample set of our own choosing (“like minded” people) and then counting among those only the votes we want to. When I see my actions this way, it feels like a convenient use of my environment and its inputs to persist my own delusions. Going as far as possible from the truth.
But then mirrors don’t make a person beautiful, and more voices don’t make your voice the truth. Maybe silence – one’s own and of the voices that one wants to listen to – is the only hope to de-clutter the table, blow away the chaff, and get a glimpse of the seed of reality.
Other questions that I tossed around while writing this:
- If I write to declutter my mindspace, is that an act of my ego?
- Is seeking to understand also an act of my ego?
- Isn’t understanding also subjective, and therefore, also the function of my ego?
- If egolessness is the goal, then would it require me to drop all pursuits, stop the seeking, be silent, and merely witness the now?
- And “who” made the egolessness a goal?
Conversations with friends back home or elsewhere out of sight are like distant glimpses strung along a timeline of gaps. A rememberance of feelings collected over time. And how different is that to listening to music or reading a book.
People have a thing for stories. People are stories. When you interact meet listen to or make love, you’re writing a story of what you are feeling, remembering, and editing it with the things you want to drop. People aren’t people. We are stories and story-tellers.
A collective mosaic of memories saved since we first met. Stories of colorful lifeforms, character, style or glamour – or humility, anger, outrage and bravado. But a character innately their own. Not mundane and always vivid. Even in their absence.
The compelling reads stick around the longest. But the artistic ones humble. And you hang on to their presences as if it were hope itself. Presences not measured by distance but by essence. The artistic expressions of life. Good after a thousand replays.
We chase through to the finish the ones that live out our fantasies, hopes, vicariously pushing our minds boundaries and life experiences. The ones that end in abject tragedy or heroic fortitude, stories of stellar creativity with spontaneos combustability, bright sparks and divinely centrilocuted vortexes. Fragments of our own unlived life vivaciously dancing on our own private canvas to invoke for inspiration or relish.
My most memorable relationships are the best stories I have read, heard, or mosaic-ed. I am eternally grateful to the multifaceted, or zensingle-faceted, lovelinesses that have humbled me with their multiform.
Essentially, I am conflicted, between
a. the ego trying to deposit monuments on life’s canvas
b. the fact that the ego can only drive you to chase senseless materialistic derivatives that are temporary emollients for the soul.
Ergo, to ego or not to ego?
Should I just be sitting on my veranda, smoking a pipe, and watching a sunset?
Ayurveda, one of the only deep paradigms I have recently had a brush with, says that the human body needs to eat, defecate, and have sex in the right amounts.
Similarly, the mind needs to meditate, learn, and think in the right amounts.
And we should be fine. Apparently.
Life is like a full-time job. When you’re born and start showing signs of intelligence, is when you’re recruited. Intelligence – the only thing you’ll be interviewed on. Age 4. You’re handed a schedule of job responsibilities right at the outset. Like a newbie at a job, you’re all excited. You set up your machine, your email, your bookmarks on your machine. And then you have to work toward the set of responsibilities you have an unspoken agreement about. You go through your induction and initial training period – you get an education. Go to college and acquire communication + project management skills. Your first homework assignment is your first deliverable. Every expectation is already in place and you march on with the supreme confidence of going in the right direction. You get a graduate degree, like winning an award or recognition at work. And you keep delivering, performing, growing in supreme confidence, and then you move on to your Masters degree or next high paying job. So when you finally take on a job, you’re really being put to test about your capabilities. You’re proving you understood every little piece of instruction passed on to you in your alma mater. And you march on. Soon enough life gives you other forms of recognition – your car, your spouse, etc.
Eventually you reach a stage where every little piece of instruction you studied has been put to the test, you’ve passed, you’ve scored well most of the times and sometimes you haven’t. But overall you did well. At this stage is when you start settling down (at least you’re supposed to). And then you’re confronted with the dreadful “What next?”
I’ve always been a night person. Never really thought about why. As I stood out on the patio tonight, looking up at the stars in a rare clear sky, I suddenly felt the space that they grant me allowing me to just be. When the day comes on and the sun goes up, suddenly there is an awareness of a need to be somewhere other. To do more. To become. To do better than the present.
The night has no such expectations. The night has no eyes.
Jack Kerouac said, “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”
It’s time to take a step back and evaluate the 3 decades worth of page filling.
Because above all, there must be beauty in everything we do. Including the gaps we leave empty and devoid of color.