Thursday, 12 August 2010
A Difficult Week
As life continues to meander ever steadily from its source, the undulating landscape causes periodic turbulence, disrupting the steady flow. Unconsciously, one is jolted to a clear, lucid vision of immediate reality. A sandstorm of daily routine sweeps us unknowingly off our feet, blinding us of the immediacy of our existence.
The delightfully pessimistic 19th Century German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhaur succinctly alluded: ‘That which has been no longer is; it as little exists as does that which has never been. But everything that is in the next moment has been. Thus the most insignificant present has over the most insignificant past the advantage of actuality, which means that the former bears to the latter the relation of something to nothing.’
The hullaballoo of everyday life is overpowering on the senses, causing one to fatalistically neglect the present moment. Maintaining awareness of what is, in the face of grippingly powerful illusions of what might be and what has already been, is no mean feat. Plato summed up this notion in five powerfully profound words: ‘Continual becoming and never being.’
Wrestling oneself from this illusory state is a challenge that will last a lifetime. There is no finishing line, only endless laps to be run.
Events of the last week have provided me with a perceptual nudge in the direction of appreciating what is. I was indiscriminately attacked for reasons that will forever remain a mystery. One hears of incidents like this daily, but one remains oblivious to their arsenal of negative energy, until one becomes the victim.
Brutish, dirty, and thuggish episodes imprint themselves on the psyche, and are not easily erased. One must remain strong in the face of crazy thoughts, fighting off the urge to react like a wild animal. One must make a positive from a negative, and not fester in soul destroying hatred and self pity. To achieve this, a painful, yet liberating shift in thinking is required: Is one going to be thrown about violently in stormy sea of emotions, or take charge and say all is quite well? It’s a perceptual flick of a switch that frees one from falling into an abyss of negativity.
One has simply to be happy with what is, as this is all there is. Schopenhaur phrases this concept beautifully once again: ‘In the first place no man is happy but strives his whole life long after supposed happiness and he seldom attains it; as a rule, however, he finally enters harbour shipwrecked and dismasted.’
This week has been physically and mentally an uphill struggle, but an illuminated one all the same. Existentially, a golden egg has fallen from the sky and landed in my lap. For that I am grateful.