We make peace with all the faces we meet along the way and they all become our brothers and sisters in the wake of our follies. The people we dance our neurotic dance with at present titillate our groin and our mind but our heart belongs to those who graced us with dancing this same dance and bowed out but never actually left at the end: our brothers & our sisters.
All the objects you cherish and obsess about today soon go obsolete. Beauty fades, forms dissolve, relationships fall apart. Nothing stays. You ask yourself: Why bother? Why engage at all? And there is no answer. Only an internal pang responds. A sense of guilt rekindles. Why feel ashamed about being a self-absorbed melancholic recluse?—you ask apologetically. And all there is is the dying echo of your question. Meaningless. Pointless. Nevertheless. And then new questions arise. Are you attached to your idea of freedom? Are you actually free from your need to be free from life’s demands? Are you willing to participate instead of hiding? Are you willing to choose to engage the painful joy of life’s endless motion that goes absolutely nowhere? Endless. Pointless. Nevertheless. The way forward is fearward.
An examined life is not worth living. True appreciation and relish of life comes from relaxation.
I’ve started the practice—the admittedly quaint practice I should say—of looking at people as if I was looking at flowers (partly as a countermeasure to the chronically clingy nature of my strategically aloof personality). Whenever a cute girl, for instance, turns me on and I feel a surge of an urge to pick (up) and possess or at the very least fixate on her from a safe distance I know that in a sense I enact the death of (the spirit in) both of us—as in: (neurotic) attachments retard relations (the dynamic unfolding of authentically relating to self & other): an image of ’her’ and an image of ’me in relation to her’ takes the place of the truth of the volatile moment. By making a mental note of this I manage to curb my fervid enthusiasm.
And gradually it’s starting to dawn on me for real what my spiritual savvy ego-mind has been telling me for a while now: that there really is nothing inside us. Nothing. We are truly empty—plain, hollow forms undulating, just like flowers or blades of grass in the fluctuating flesh of the air—we simply exist. In other words: there is no-one but ’only’ some body to us, we are no-one but some body. There is a subtle but all the more poignant sense of this creeping up on me now that just blows my mind—I wonder what happens when the recognition descends deeper into the heart and the gut: Nobody is special. There is no substance to (the idea of) anyone.
And yet, there is me and there is the emotional attachments plaguing me. There is me and there are the compromising (social, financial, health) conditions of me. There is me and his recognitions—A face grasping against the mystery of its abysmal depthlessness.
There are the faces around that we all are, faces, already fading, about to be forgotten faces, blooming, withering and vanishing sea waves of faces, my face and your face to be lost sooner or later we are to lose no matter how hard we try to save it on facebook, from humiliation and utter oblivion, always already fading from the face of the Earth, every single face you ever face faces to be replaced, by other faces, as our faces have replaced the faces flowering before us, under the sun, nothing special,
Do you see?
Do you see them now?
Do you feel the love you actually feel for all of them? The faces up the streets, in the shops, in the parks and on the trams. The faces at work and the faces at home. The faces from the past, opposite, behind and next to yours, the newborn faces. Out and about. Take a look. Variations on a theme. Beneath all these faces we all share the same essence. Underneath the myriad faces there is only one sameone there.
nothing stays, on the face of it
What remains, in the end, nothing else remains but awareness, of this moment, above and in front of all the toyful joys and the soulfull sorrows of the person who is losing everybody and everything, slowly and surely, all that it—as an I—has ever attained or missed and all that it has ever grown fond of and loved, sooner or later, falls away, and then the truth meets the truth… this heart is breaking and oozing gooey pain at the thought of my parents fading, at the thought of an ex and the countless unpursued prospects blending into the impersonal mass of the female flesh I’m so mesmerized by day by day: nothing remains that I could hold on to, nothing that I can grasp, nobody, noone, nothing to fixate on, nothing that fix(at)es, nothing that grounds me, nothing to write about really, all the writing blurs into noise, another iteration of the same old, same old, everything pixelates, with me in the middle of it all, alive, a heart, ready to burst, or stop, almost, for real, and it’s beating on, for it’s only the mind that is blown away by the overwhelm called truth
Whose freedom am I protecting so desperately?
Outside the cloistered world of private practices such as ’sittling’ (sitting in/with stillness), journaling and strolling in solitude I tends to feel about to be engulfed and hemmed in by the demands, errands and duties of social existence. Outside its airtight little bubble—in an effort to make a living I gets caught up, much like a fly in a spider’s web, in interpersonal strings attached, unavoidably. I constantly seeks to fend off binding communal duties and obligations to offer phony terms of endearment. But then, this I that struggles so desperately for its precarious sense of peace & freedom is but an idea that needs constant maintenance too, and even though it’s merely an idea (that is entertained to keep the ’me’ feel real & separate) it’s, in effect, quite a costly one, in that it takes tremendous internal tension and lots of gut-wrenching & constipating melancholy to maintain. Which stands to reason, of course, given that outside its (buffering) practices the I as such would cease to exist. Now, imagine how devastating would that be? The prospect of no more suffering. It’s just too much to take, I guess.
At any rate, I still tries to reason its way out of its irrational ways and so it occasionally reminds itself that: No matter the type of reality tunnel one happens to inhabit it too will have its ups and downs, its inherent opportunity cost. The idea of protecting one’s freedom is totally nonsensical in this respect. Inside the insides of one’s sprawling rabbit hole there will be joys and there will be sorrows and the desire to protect one’s privacy and delicate freedom just as much as in any other rabbit hole out there. It’s all the same from an ego’s point of view. We all play the same human game. All the tension over the mental noise echoing and reverberating off the walls of our private holes, however, is completely redundant and meaningless.
The very effort to protect anything is what creates the reason for that thing to exist in the first place—it only exists in the effort but not beyond it.
If at the outset of your existential journey you are assigned the task to cut down a tree without the aid of any equipment you would be puzzled for a while, but the solution would soon hit you: I can’t cut it down with my nails so I’ll do the next best thing and dig it out with my hands. So, you start digging with your hands. At first, expectant about the potential prospects beyond the tree, you start out a bit hastily and you end up injuring your fingers repeatedly that forces you to take some time out to recover. Your second realization comes around this point: In order to make sustainable progress I’ll have to go really slow to get the job down. So you throttle down and decide to take your time. Every now and then, you still injure yourself, though, and you’re constrained to bring the tempo further and further down almost to the point of a standstill. It’s immensely frustrating. You are forced to chip away with infinite patience now. But then, halfway through, deep down amid the roots suddenly the third recognition hits you: It’s not necessary at all to get the tree out of the ground. You stop. This is the first time that it ever occurs to you to question the utter absurdity of the whole situation. Just because I’ve been instructed to cut this tree down it doesn’t mean it’s something I must somehow any-how execute. Why on Earth am I actually doing this? You reluctantly climb out of the pit and take a slow, halting look around the scenery of peaceful stillness surrounding you two. You start pulling back the big heap of ground you’ve diligently dredged up, to re-cover the bare, exposed roots of your tree. In the process you second-guess yourself a few times but there is less and less hesitation in your moves. When you finish, exhausted, you fall back on your back and stare, supine & spent, right up at the leaves of the tree. This is the first time you notice the leaves. You listen to them being played upon by the easy wind. Tears start rolling from the corner of your eye. First, they are salty tears of sorrow but soon they turn into sweet tears of joy.
/One day, you’ll get up from your grub like this and sit against the trunk of that tree of yours to spend some quality time under its lush foliage before giving up the ghost. Hopefully.