Saturday, October 29, 2011

Post on Being

I found the below post buried in my facebook notes, and I thought, why don't I just blog it? I wrote it a long time ago, but, it still holds true to me. Here's what I was thinking at the time:

So many people claim to be miserable. Miserable with their life, their jobs, their place, their status, their relationship, etc, etc, and the list goes on. But what are they comparing themselves to?

Dissatisfaction is a difficult thing to overcome. It's difficult because we are often so completely absorbed by the whole mass of a specific societal view, so blindly following its predispositions and norms that we don’t bother or even realize to think beyond the invisible cage.

Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose and how should I live? These questions have been beaten to death forever. But I think the problem is that, if at any given time, you find yourself answering these questions with anyone else but yourself in mind, that is, if you're seeking the answer from someplace outside of yourself, then you’re officially missing the point. And more, you’re limiting the field of possibility and purpose for you, trying to patch leaks in things that were never leaks at all, and as a result, blocking the flow.

In fact, I am ever more certain that there is only me in this world.

And I know this sounds like a completely selfish outlook, if the above statement is viewed in the light of ego, but I mean it in a completely different way, I mean it to be freeing and I mean it as a statement of humility. Once you've learned how to walk and talk, how to say I love you and show gratitude, the aping of pop-culture human behavior and rules does little to unveil your truest self.

And so, naturally, it’s the most perplexing and absolutely head-bashingly difficult notion to practice that I’ve ever come across. It’s much easier to follow the old ideologies, to believe that I am inherently evil or ugly, that there are specific steps to follow, rules to abide by that can make me ideal, match me to the head table. It’s much easier to conceptualize a means to a “correct” end that, with enough dumbing down of my own mind, enough ignorant acceptance and faith in a specific culture or sub-culture’s demands, that somehow I might actually become “right,” become “correct,” become “good enough.”

So what if the guy with the four-foot beard has been camping out in the woods and eating grubs and fish he’s caught with a branch and some earthworms for forty years? So what if the girl next door has more tattoos than bare skin? So what if your brother only makes twenty grand a year selling sports mags door to door? Is he happy? Is he fulfilled? Do we have the right to say otherwise when it is their mind, their heart and their life, not ours, in question? There is only me. You see what I mean?

When I fall into the same trap I've succumbed to, unwittingly, countless times before...if I allow my individual thinking mind to go lax and take the mentally easy route, looking around and observing what has been built, what has been pre-determined and defined by other minds, by a majority only, and permit these perceptions to mold my beliefs and actions, then I find myself in the same state of dissatisfaction as most. It’s the curse of the sleep-walking masses.

It requires a braver kind of thought to step out of queue, to call your own folly. People may have narcissistic impositions, but that doesn't mean we need to believe them.

What the hell is correct? And perfect? And what is beautiful? How can we dare answer these questions for anyone else but ourselves? And how uniquely egotistical, believing we can.

We're all connected, but the human path and experience is individual for a reason. It’s peppered with associations, relationships of varying degrees of significance, but it is singular. And yet, what people have done, so often, is built a mold, a maze for others to work, a uniform puzzle with a precise and ideally replicated end. We rear ourselves and our children to run this maze, thinking that this is the way it's done, even though it was only one man’s puzzle to solve. Many times this mold was meant to be an inspiration, but it was never meant to be a "how to be" manual.

We tend to admire the accomplishments of wealthy or extreme personalities to such a degree that we automatically assume, in our self-contained understanding, that their direction is the right direction for us all. But, while acknowledging the many technical and philosophical accomplishments of man throughout history, after thousands of years, there is still war, there is poverty, there is murder, every kind of addiction and vice and a crumbling environment because many remain so very focused on the immediate, popular, mundane, material. Humans are still warring with each other for the shiniest stones or the most righteous gods, fighting for the survival of mercilessly compared egos honed in a specific image, and, sadly, too many people are still teaching their children to do the same every day, chastising and belittling that which dares not comply. I only have to point at the bullying crisis as an example of the aftereffects.

Sometimes I just need to remind myself, in writing, that certain ideals, certain “standards” are merely concepts and opinions put forth by others. I don't have to own them, and they don't have to own me.

There is only me in this world, because I can only live and act and speak for myself in accordance with what feels true. To presume to do so for anyone else is out of the question. And hopefully, if I strive to keep my eyes opened, I will be more kind, more understanding, more hopeful, and I will remember more often than I forget


KarenG said...

Lovely post, Jen. I enjoyed reading this, I'm glad you reposted it. There's such a tendency to judge and label and condemn those who don't fit our own ideas of what they should be. If writers can't see below the surface trappings to the real humanity then who can? I feel like it's our job as writers to do so. That's what makes our writing true.

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