Today after spending my morning writing I was trapped in a room with Sam Smith music for an hour. The perfect storm of catharsis, lack of citalopram – since Christmas which I was proud of -, and sad poetry had me sobbing in the staff bathroom.
I called a friend who suggested that I allow myself to feel but previous experience has taught me that expressing those feelings come back to bite you. For example, a family drama that involved a sociopathic relation caused me to breakdown in front of my mother who then brought it up as a joke a few weeks later. I was in an argument with someone I care about greatly over Christmas who said that my emotional weakness was a symptom of male ego. Just the other week, one of my senior managers handed me “toughen up pills” when I explained why I was limping.
So how can I allow myself to feel in a hostile environment? One of my favorite lines is: “there is no emotion, there is peace” from Star Wars. I’m fully aware of the point and I see peace on the horizon.
Yet, in this moment as I write I am very thankful for the box of citalopram buried at the bottom of my work bag.
Not very stoic, I know. But perhaps a self awareness and reflection is. I feel myself slipping further and further away from my old philosophical neighborhoods, the only certainty is that this too shall pass. It’s a nice thought but entirely unhelpful in the throws of a break down.
I feel pathetic. Should I? Or should I accept my feelings. I know the answer, obviously. Yet it feels like a pyrrhic and bitter victory.
Perhaps the curse of reconnecting with our own humanity is having to feel it. It would be helpful if the world wasn’t so hostile and hypocritical towards feeling. Yet, as the philosopher Jagger once wrote:
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.”
I’ve been speaking recently about growth that’s tangible and observable, or at least if not growth its clear steps in the right direction of the Path. I have to be careful, as we all do, like Seneca said to be aware that we are growing in philosophy not just age with each passing day. The air seems a little lighter with these reflections like each particle bouncing off me hits a little gentler.
A conversation I had today, is not even worth quoting was about the semantics of the word vaccine. In this conversation I was told a vaccine cannot be called a vaccine unless it totally 100% prevents you from catching a pathogen. I didn’t argue this point and was rather proud of myself for not at all reacting even by rolling my eyes for the disturbance as I was happily watching X-Files – perhaps ironically. It’s something I’ve not experienced before or rarely experience, moments where I can reflect in the in the situation and it seems to be slowed to half speed and to process each passing thought removing each impression that I impose or is imposed upon me. It was a rather cathartic experience, one of lightness and clarity. True, I was grateful for when the conversation was over and I could return to Mulder and Scully.
But it also for me, raises questions of predestination, or at least this and my recent watching of Loki. If all things are foretold by destiny with our forward motion almost a universal imperative, what other kind of growth is there if not tangible? Let’s look back over the past, our past each moment and see each thing we have learned and each misstep that had to have happened to lead us all to this moment. Today I could have entered into a bitter argument and fallen on my face, adding to the list of failures and tribulations that litter my life but I saw another path and took it. Or perhaps, there is only one path and the one I have walked in this existence led to that moment whether I wanted to or not. The past two years of social withdrawal and philosophical adventure leaving imprints on my subconscious, seeping into the waking world with every action whether aware of it or not. Like all experiences, each lasting thought or process it leaves its mark and leaves and impression of unspoken directive. It’s almost like an unwritten yet binding constitution of your own – our own – existence, tumbling over itself and winding around like a seedling to sapling to young twig to venerable oak to pulp and back again to the soil.
Lives and life, exists in a ever-growing ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail. The ancients understood this and its a concept that goes largely forgotten about.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet
So let’s expand my minor conversation today to the macro, cosmic scale. It started, supposedly with the Big Bang and will end with the Great Heat Death of the universe where all living things slowly die and implode in on themselves leaving only the quiet that was before. Then, perhaps eons later in the distant dark, two atoms, remnants of a time gone before drift together and: clink! Big Bang 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, and so on. Existence is birth, growth and death. But there is no death really just a change of state. In the same way, there is no birth just another change of state, perhaps even then there is no growth. It’s all inhaling and exhaling of a single cosmic being destined to return to atoms like I am. So with that being said, are we not entirely privileged just in our existence to be able to recognize growth when it happens? To experience this moment and feel it around us, and see the growth from our own birth to now, is a wonderous thing.
It’s a frightening thought, this meaningless in our own experience yet at the same time it’s wholly freeing as it gives us all a truer sense of purpose and duty to each other to seek truth of said experience.
“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
As seers of this truth and as accepters of this eternity and wonderous cosmic harmony and certainty, what do we have to fear from anything? What do we have to fear aside from the concept itself and a biological incentive to fight against predetermined passing? What is there to fear aside from experiencing joy in the time we have and the time we can allot to ourselves to find that joy? The joy in life, in love and in fate and all that it brings us. With a duty as kin of this growth within and without, to in line with all the highest and greatest good and alignment to improve constantly what we have for each other.
It’s all growth and we will only ever know growth. We will not know of our birth or death. So keep in mind each step you take and see the impression you leave. Are you happy with what you see?