Wednesday, August 28, 2013

isn't living a verb?

What we are and What we want to be- there is a constant conflict between those two things. And we are truly happy in those fleeting moments, when both those things align. But what if you grown into a wreck who does not care about wanting to be anything? Zen says journey is the reward. It might have helped all those who had turned into nervous wrecks because no matter how much they tried, they couldn't be what they wanted to be. But what if you are so scared of failure that you don't try to be anything. What if you don't set yourself a goal because you might never reach it. What if, under the pretext that you are enjoying the journey,  you wile away a lifetime not going anywhere. I have spent the last one year doing almost nothing, and have been able to justify it. If you are smart, are you smart enough to know you are not that smart?

Today, thanks to Sravani, I came across a website called zenpencils and it contains such powerful, inspiring quotes that I'm actually sitting down to finish this post despite the fact that I feel really rusty doing it. Maybe Sam Harris is right, free will does not exist. Maybe the world is deterministic, or maybe what I should be vying for is enlightenment. But despite admitting that those ideals might be true, I am still not an happy man. Because I have never believed in anything enough to see it to the end. Which is a pity because under the pretext of trying things, I haven't really tried anything. A suicide bomber is probably a happier man than a mid-management executive in United Nations because only one of them truly believes and has the conviction to stick to it to his end. I was doing a mental checklist of things I've started in life but never took them till the end, or atleast a checkpoint. Apart from very few things, though I start things with much zest and clamour, I haven't taken them far enough to understand what they mean. Passion is like love, it is transient. It is like inspiration, that eureka moment. It is what introduces us to something but it is not enough to drive us. The goal we envision turns hazy just after a few miles. We get distracted, the learning curve turns really steep, the sacrifices seem too much and atleast in my case, I feel I'm letting go of life in pursuit of a vision. But I'm beginning to understand, atleast hoping, that discipline and commitment are far more important. Now, the Zen koan is coming to life. In my journey towards a certain destination, I will learn about myself. In a way, all this has been a journey too, to a destination I did not foresee. In the last one year, I've learnt a few things about myself, that now I'm able to retrospect. But it's just that I never wanted to be here. Like Chris Hadfield says, " Don't let life randomly kick you into the adult you don't want to become."

I do not like so many things about myself. And I want to change. Prior experience tells me that it is going to be tough but it is also going to be revelatory. that there will be so many moments when I'd want to quit but that I should not, that an imperfect life truly lived in pursuit of excellence is much better than a life spent making a perfect plan. I have always been invigorated by details to think about the bigger picture. Like someone vying for the perfect beginning and dies not going past thousands of beginnings. Maybe that is the way I am, or that I've taught myself to think that way, but I convince myself not to push too far because my body does not agree/ it is the wrong thing/ resistance means not following you heart. Even right now, as I write this, there is a constant tug-of-war between what I want myself to believe in and what my habits ask me to. How do you differentiate between barriers life does not want you to cross because it is leading you in the right way and obstacles that life wants you to overcome to become stronger? If I want to be something now and start working towards it, when the process changes me and my mind tells me I do not want that anymore, is that my being not wanting to go out of its comfort zone or truly a divine correspondence guiding me onto my Karma path? My problem, unlike a lot of others, is not that I'm doing something I don't want to. It's just that in my process of finding the love of my life, thanks to Steve Jobs Mania leftovers, I'm not doing anything else.

Or it's just that maybe they're right. I have never been able to hear the whispers of my heart because of the outside noise that I create. But like Maitreya says in Ship of Theseus, if all judgements are to be taken in the isolation of conveniences and prejudices, will my heart, influenced by myriad things ever be able to tell me what I truly ought to be. Is it all just poetic drivel that Steve uttered to get hoorays from the crowd or does art truly tell us what we are destined to be? If I can be anything I want to be, why can't I become someone who believes that I can be anything I want to be? If I should do what I truly believe in, and not care about others' opinion, will I be inspired enough to do what I want to?

-Why do you still do it?
-I do it for the beauty of the act.
-But they say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
-Yes, but what if there is no more beholder?
                -Holy Motors, French, 2012

I reek of half-baked philosophical bullshit. Doing is such a relief, after all the thinking; it gives a certain meaning to life, a sense of accomplishment. What do we have to show for after we have reached the dusk of our lives; apart from the things we've done. I might imagine the greatest of stories but if they don't transform into a physical manifestations that others can experience, are they worth anything? Our identities are shaped by memories, ours and others'. Ours might revolve around our thoughts and dreams but others' do only around our actions. And if we don't have others to validate what we've been through, what would be the difference between a dream and reality? Some nights, when I can't sleep, I think what my motivations are to go on living. Should my driving force be a fear of oblivion or adulation while I'm alive? Neither of them seem satisfactory enough. The only reason I want to do anything is to feel fully alive. Everything else, for experience, for entertainment, for pushing my boundaries, for the sake of humanity seems trivial. And the only way I've ever felt alive is when my mind is totally occupied, when what I do so captivates me that I don't mind the rest of the world crumbling into pieces; that in pursuit of that one word, one 'I love you', one perfect frame, I can spend a lifetime and discover all that I can about myself. For me to know what I am, I have to go and rule out all that I'm not.

1 comment:

Vikranth said...

Long time since I read your blog. hope this helps:
“To the critic, art is a noun. To the artist, art is a verb.”
I read this qoute from the book "art and fear" by David Bayle and Ted Orland. check it out,it talks a lot about making art(i think can be applied to writing or anything) and the problems we face in the process of creating it.
Good to see you still writing on the blog