if it goes without saying, let it

All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
– Blaise Pascal

silent beauty, cherry blossomsI 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?
Advertisements

Blameless

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.

Expression, learning, and limitations thereof

All expression seems to come from a void. Even as I type this sentence, I think I am only reiterating and fully understanding a statement from Waking Life*. One of my friends here is studying film making here, and she invited me for a film screening in a class for International Cinema appreciation. I went along for the experience. We saw The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, but that is not the point, of course.

One of the students in the class was deaf-mute. I don’t know her name yet, but she was of striking beauty and carriage. She was also noticeably dressed in clothes that she must have spent some effort designing. Interesting patchwork on her jeans, a cap with a big yellow feather sticking out of it, rather like Robin Hood. And she had turned the volume up on her make up. It was loud, but it was tasteful and fitted into the persona of a filmmaker. Bright blue eye shadow that extended way down below her eyes to her cheeks in a well designed manner. Loud rouge highlights on her cheeks. And not to mention dark outlined eyes. My first reaction was to say, wow, that’s something! My second reaction was, she must have spent a lot of time this morning getting dressed like that for class. She was colorful, and was definitely on talking terms with rainbows. And then I noticed the patchwork on her jeans. Definitely not something you would pick up in a chain store. Possibly something she designed herself or got it from someone who designed it to be special. Every cell of her being was screaming I am special, and this without a word or look exchanged between us. In a 30 second awareness of her presence, I already knew the kind of person she would be, and that I would love to hang out with her sometime.

My final thought: You turn down the volume on your trap, and the rest of your body becomes expressive. We are walking languages. Who says we need words to communicate? I believe it might not be an exercise in futility to deny oneself of talking privileges for extended periods.

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

“Do I really need to know this? This isn’t going to help me!” My biggest learning barrier throughout my life, especially at my first job. What was missing was an informed and weighted cataloging system in my head. It took 5.5 years of technical writing to change that permanently. And it took the first few pages of Lila to help me identify and articulate the problem.

I think I know where it came from though. From the grade-oriented educational system we have back home. This is what it made out of me. If there was nothing to be gained from learning XYZ, I wouldn’t study XYZ. If studying AB over CD gave me more marks, I would study AB over CD. Hence, if reading 60 pages of information made me comprehensively informed, and 20 pages just enough informed to bullshit, I would do 25. I always got to second place. I never made it to first place in class. It would have taken 35 pages of studying some more. Now, given an infinite timeline, one can deliver infinite quality. Given a limited timeline, the successful person is the one who delivers satisfactory amounts of quality, faster and meets the deadline. I was great at that.

Now, taking stock, professionally, it makes me an ace. I have my bullet list of key points ready to attack a subject. Personally, it makes me shallow. I never felt strongly for anything that I didn’t read the latter 35 pages of. I don’t feel strongly about a lot of things.

_________________________________________________________________

*Quote from Waking Life that I was referring to:

Creation seems to come out of imperfection. It seems to come out of a striving and a frustration. And this is where I think language came from. I mean, it came from our desire to transcend our isolation and have some sort of connection with one another. And it had to be easy when it was just simple survival. Like, you know, “water.” We came up with a sound for that. Or “Saber-toothed tiger right behind you.” We came up with a sound for that. But when it gets really interesting, I think, is when we use that same system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible things that we’re experiencing. What is, like, frustration? Or what is anger or love? When I say “love,” the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person’s ear, travels through this Byzantine conduit in their brain, you know, through their memories of love or lack of love, and they register what I’m saying and they say yes, they understand. But how do I know they understand? Because words are inert. They’re just symbols. They’re dead, you know? And so much of our experience is intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It’s unspeakable. And yet, you know, when we communicate with one another, and we feel that we’ve connected, and we think that we’re understood, I think we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might be transient, but I think it’s what we live for.

Einstein came close to being God

Ever notice how energetic a baby is when it’s first born. Hands and legs kicking, twinkle in their eye, full of life. I came up with a theory last night.

A man (and this is not gender bias here) is most alive when he is first born. After that he begins dying everyday. Not in the pessimistic sense. A person who is 28 years old, is in fact 28 years deader than a baby who is just born. Energy levels from the first day on are constantly on the conserve and decline.

Around the time you reach teenage, you can’t take the decline of energy any more so you resort to consuming other forms of energy. Now this could be anything. Food, drinks, and drugs apart, you consume knowledge and energy from other people. Social groups are an outcome of direct need for energy. Social associations such as a relationship are the outcome of the need for a shot in the arm of energy. And a person who can give us a shot in the arm everyday, more or less ends up becoming our life partner for whatever duration his/her supply lasts. A baby on the other hand is most independent in terms of crutches. He only needs one woman and some milk.

And then we grow older, and our need for energy far surpasses any amount of need we felt earlier, which we expect our children and grandchildren to provide. Until we don’t want to deal with this energy in packets and finally kick the bucket. When we become energy – just a quantum – according to some theories or converted to potential energy sources for other forms of existence.

Science has other terms for this – biodiversity, ecological balance. We up the tempo of biological phenomenon with our emotions and choose to have an enjoyable or suffering trip. But at the end of the day, it all depends on how much or how little energy you consume from your environment.

This didn’t come out the way I wanted it to.