Thursday, March 20, 2008

Return?

I doubt it. It has been too long, and I am debating whether to tear down this wall. I have lived much since the middle of 2006, much has died, much has taken root. I am closer to the person I wanted to be, and the inside of my head is quiet right now.

There has been little time, and even less inclination to write. I am disillusioned with clever words, tired of wit that goes nowhere. There are simpler things, more beautiful things, and I can finally see them.

I think the magic will never return, but I won't be needing it anymore.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Decisions

(written so very long ago...)



Days pass by, and each day brings its own voices, new thoughts, new impressions to deal with.

There is a voice that talks to me in the quietness. ‘You were on a path before’ it says. ‘You were climbing. Find that path again. You haven’t strayed too far. It does not matter if that path was not glamorous. It does not matter if others would not see it. You were happy. Look for that path again.’

I do not know what to say to this voice. ‘I’m trying’ I say. ‘ Believe me, I am trying hard. I know my way back. But my feet are heavy. There has been much mixed happiness and misery. I am finding it hard to let go of either. But I am trying.’

Another voice speaks to me in pain. ‘Find someone else.’ it says. ‘There are many to choose from. This pain can end, now and here. You don’t have to fight it. It is not a dishonorable way. So many others have told you to move on. Do it. Move on to someone else.’

It costs me much to say it, but I reply. ‘No. I’ve seen that path too many times. Transfer this longing, this need to someone else. Turn these desires over to someone else. Vitiate the terrible memory of the happiness, the tenderness you shared with one person by trying to create new memories. Lay experience upon experience in order to bury the past. How can that way lead anywhere for me now? Let the feelings dissipate into the air. Let them fold in upon me and rend me when I least expect. I will bear it, rather than live through this over and over. I will wait till I am renewed. I will wait till my power is restored. I will fall endlessly through the void. But I will not cling to another human being in this manner now.’ Even as I say it I feel the longing gather and my fingers clench . It would be so easy to give up. But where will this ever end otherwise?

There is a voice that speaks to me in anger. ‘ You have been hurt.’ it says. ‘You have been humiliated. Fight back. Cause pain. Speak bitter words. Why should it mean anything to you to be calm, to be humble? Why do you want to hold back? Use all your wit, your sarcasm, your self righteousness. Turn lies into truth, turn imagination into reality. Fight back, it is the only way to survive.’

This is a familiar voice, and I know how to answer now. ‘Be quiet.’ I say. ‘Be quiet and be still. There is no honor in hitting back, biting and tearing like a wild beast. Much of this hurt has been self chosen, much of the humiliation has been with my consent. Any hurt I cause another will revisit me in the night when you are quiet, will make me ashamed of myself. Every cruel and arrogant word I say will make me weaker, less human, less able to find my way back. Be still and be quiet. My only argument must be with calm, caring words or with silence.’

There is a voice that asks indignantly. ‘Why are you insistent on truth? Aren’t you better off dealing with a harmless lie than with the bitter truth? What need had you to ask questions, to hope for the truth as answer? Why create more pain for yourself? Why do you hold integrity and truthfulness in such high esteem? Why does it eat into you so much when you hear a statement which you feel within is not the truth, not the real truth or the whole truth? When something is held back? Why cant you simply take things at face value, and be satisfied?’

I smile bitterly at this voice. ‘I was given intelligence, and reason, and intuition. I was born the kind of man who wishes to work, to change, to improve. But even an engineer needs his tools. Truth was one of these. Given the truth, I could have changed, I could have focused my energies in the right directions. I could have lightened expectations that were too heavy to bear. I could have taken the truth as a fire into me to purify and burn away impure hopes. There is much a man can do with the truth. But a lie or a half truth, even well meant, even said with the hope of sparing me pain, is useless to me.

I can see a half truth or an untruth from the truth because of the very nature of truth. It is spoken calmly, surely, without hesitating, without equivocation, with straightforwardness, humility and honesty. While it may seem brutal to speak truth, it is only the way it is spoken that makes it brutal. If spoken with love, with compassion, without anger and pride, it is well received and well understood. It is more often a lie that is by its nature brutal. No, I revere the truth, because only that can set me free. I would rather accept the consequences of the truth, and fight my way through them, than lie and have to behave like a thief.’

Another voice shouts out in great rage. ‘Who are you to choose right and wrong? Do you not see that right and wrong, good and evil are all subjective? Do you not see how good intentions, good motives, good actions often lead to great evil? Do you not see how great evil, great errors of judgment often lead men to great heights in the eyes of the world? Don’t you see how everything always turns out for the best, that everything that you do will lead you down the path you are meant to go?’

So often this voice has tortured me, played with me. I was forced to be silent, but now I speak, inspired. ‘ The ones who say a mistake was not a mistake simply because it led to good consequences are blind. I choose to see a mistake as such, even if I do not regret it, and choose not to make similar mistakes in the future. There is no such thing as ‘a way I was meant to go’. Life is dynamic, there is nothing meant for anyone. We create our reality through our choices, and who we are is who we have made ourselves. Everything does not turn out for the best, just that it turns out that we are prepared to settle for what we get out of our half-recognized choices.

I wish to pay attention to my actions of this moment, and objectively decide if they are right and wrong. This way I can make a conscious choice. This much is my responsibility, and the consequences be damned. Good and evil are rewarded in like measure. I have faith in this law of the universe.’

There is a voice that whispers softly in the back of my head. ‘Is it worth all this? What are you working for? What are you fighting so hard for? Whose way is this and where does it lead? People laugh at you and call you puritan. People wonder at your goals and humiliate you for your ideals. Anyone who walks with you will fall away because they will not see sense in your way. You will be alone, always. And even with whatever you forego, will you have the strength to walk to the end? What if your strength fails at the very end and you weep for the life you could have had? What happiness can this give you?’

I am weary. This voice has the gentle persuasion, the honeyed logic that is so hard to dispute. It preys on my fear of failure, on my insecurity, on my lack of faith in myself. It saps my strength. I falter, but I’m not beaten yet. ‘I want independence.’ I say. ‘I want to be free. Even the slightest hope of freedom is worth the ordeal. Even the slightest loosening of the chain is a life well spent. It may be that I will fail. It may be that I will choose a lesser, easier way. The chain may tighten again. But I must still work. Every man has been given life, and purpose, and I have chosen mine. All men judge others by their own goals, and if they ridicule mine, it is because theirs are different. I must learn to be humble. I must learn to be alone.’

The isolation, the terrible coldness of stark resolve, the despair of a long journey hardly begun flows over me, and I try to accept it all. All for a dream, all for an ending. All for the hope of freedom, of peace.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Goodbye

My bags are not yet packed,
But all my efforts to draw this out are in vain.
I stand still, but the world moves on,
my departure still draws ever closer.
This would be a good time to say my farewells,
To those who still come to this electronic wall,
To see a would-be writer’s scribbling.
What can I say but goodbye, and may we meet when the time is right.
Much of the pain of parting has been ground out at the wheel of Dhamma,
And left in my footprints in the Himalayas.
What remains I carry with me as a warning and a reminder,
To make new mistakes, not repeat old ones.
I would not let bitterness speak for me then, and I will not now.
I wish all well, and give thanks for having known you,
And if I have been careless in my goodbyes,
Forgive me, you have not meant less to me.
Let these be my words, and caring,
And an ending and a beginning.

I go.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Big eyed Fish

Don’t let them see the tears, don’t let them hear me pray,
I'm not what they want to see yet.
Leave them be, I'm not worthy of them,
And they're too blind to see that.
All I want is all that they don’t understand,
All I see is what they wont accept,
The pain must end, the hate is not natural.
Blood needn't flow, this isn’t the way it was meant to be.
But I can do nothing but change myself.
And hope that the world changes with me.

I'm trying,
trying to be a better man.

You lose, they say, at the finish line,
But I wasn’t running their race.
I wasn’t even running in their direction,
It wasn’t important to me to win this,
Perhaps I could have, perhaps I couldn't,
How does it matter, what would have been
saved, If I ran with them?
What could they've filled the cup with,
What honour could they have done to
A bowed head, when I realised that I had won,
And lost a greater race?

Will she run with me? will she turn?
but then she was not meant for me.
The pain is a moment in time,
And a mind lives in the timeless,
And I must remember what I'm trying to be.

I'm trying,
trying to be a better man.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Ranting..

What will you do, good man, when your heart is seared by the thought of the oppression of human beings, when you see the pain in their eyes and the despair of their souls? What will you do? Will you leave the pain of your own little existence and rise to help them? Do you have that duty, that capability, that right? Tell me, good man, have you earned the name you gave yourself? Have you earned the self satisfaction that you feel when your head rests on a pillow that an eight year old head has never felt? Have you earned the right to call yourself good simply because you feel the pain of another human being? But you feel your own pain keener still. Can you overcome? Can you be truly, honestly good?

What will you do, strong man, when you see that your strength is of no account against a tideless world that knows only ebb and ebb? What will you do when all force used to free those whose days and night are a burden and a curse to them will return to punish them more? What will you do when fighting the twin beast of poverty and numbers? What will you use your strength for? To more firmly divide the tiniest morsel of dried earth between the hungry mouths of the last children left with the strength to chew? What will you do but wear your massive power down in an ineffectual war against an enemy that laughs into your ear and tells you that its name is circumstance? Drive your fist into the wall and watch the red stain your knuckles and turn the pain of emotion into the pain of physiology? Is that not what you have done?

What will you do, faithful man, when god's creatures suffer the lash of a blighted existence, when your own comfort seems to be stolen from their mouths and your mother's milk may have been distilled from their blood? Will you envy them the poverty that keeps them lower than the devil could have intended? Will you call it karma, or providence, or say that if their creator made them he will pay their accounts in a fair hand? Or will your faith fly from you and wing its way into an unknown limbo? Will you hide your faint heart in the grotesque swelling of indifference and apathy, or worse, in the meager consolation of speaking out of your fellow-man's suffering as though it wrung your heart and yet expressing the impossible futility of the task before you?

What will you do but watch through a liquid film as your fingers fly over a keyboard, and sip your coffee from time to time, and marvel over the clear sighted demon that makes you write?

Monday, January 03, 2005

Loneliness

It is lonely, having to always stare at a hazy future and wonder at the mistakes of the past. It is lonely to be standing at this cliff edge staring at a bright moon and wondering why it is that I am again alone. For a moment it seemed that it would not be necessary to stand here, not be necessary to face the moment of bitterness again. But life brings me back over and over to this edge and asks me to pay for my indulgences.

Did I destroy this? The pain of that question is haunting. I look back at the man I've been and I wish I could have done things differently. I wanted so much to be different, to be strong, to be thoughtful. I was confused and weak. Now there is shame to deal with, and loss. And though I've dealt with these before I know I can only be called to this edge so many times before I throw myself over. I am not the kind of man who can indulge this way and survive. Love is too special to me, too unique to be entered into often. The ones I feel this way about are too special to be picked out indiscriminately. I may choose to experience other things, but love to me is sacred. I will not love this way many times. I can feel it in the slow beat of my heart as I stare into the abyss.

I do not want to be called back here again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Another end, another beginning.

Its been a hard day. Its hard to struggle against oneself, to fight the bitterness, the urge to impose self-exile. To dive back into silence. Learning is an eternal art, I know. I just wish I knew all the roads and bylanes of this strange life of mine. I wish I could just close my eyes right now and feel that it is leading somewhere. Running in place all the time. Relearning all the time, reinventing all the time. Perhaps my life has been bought off other people, which is why I seem to live in other people's lives more than my own. Anyway, I'm rambling.

Why is happiness elusive? I knew the answer, I could answer questions about it and yet I must ask again. I was happy. I will be again. I will be peaceful. The old familiar silence will settle down, the firm tranquility will reestablish itself. Much of my love for beauty and thought will return. But I've lost some of my old self. Again I've been evicted from my preconcieved self image and I cannot return to it. Who am I? Who is this strange madman, who for a brief second had a name? Who is this patiently smiling lunatic who stares at the pain in his chest and wonders how long it will last? Who is this person who writes against his will, knowing no greater good can come of it, and still sends his words out into an unhearing emptiness that is somehow more comforting than a million concerned ears? Who am I?