LES PROFONDEURS INFÈRIEURES
[ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]
BY RUI CARLOS DA CUNHA
"I have so little to look forward to..."
This is a thought floating around my head at times. From time to time, I feel the world conspires against my existence.
Other people may feel this too. I'm not so sure about this but I presuppose to have a thought that is neither elevated nor ecstatic, but common as feelings themselves, then other people feel these emotions as well or my judgment is wrong. This is where my writing begins.
To write about common thoughts and feelings as reflections of a moment inside my brain, my head, my heart, my mind . . .
Wherever you locate this sense organ that processes feelings and thoughts, perhaps somewhere within my guts, my viscera . . .
To start here with a thought called a felt-sense of some ambiguous uncertainty. . .
To begin in some dark corner like a child in a room being punished but not understanding why as no one explains clearly their perspective and the context from which corporal punishment follows.
Discipline can be just made to sit quietly but not to explain why or how someone is to sit still for an extended time in the corner on a stool, on a chair, or on the floor facing a wall or the corner itself . . .
But why? Someone did something wrong.
Previously, I made an assumption, a presupposition that everyone has common thoughts, feelings and emotions.
But as I am not sure perhaps I am wrong about this and should go sit in the corner?
But I am no longer a child and enjoy sitting still facing a wall as in meditation. But no one explains this as adults to a child.
"Sit and reflect on what you did." Adults may say something like this not knowing why they are telling a child to act in this manner for an extended length of time.
This type of punishment is but passive and not actively threatening or harming the child in question with violence or words.
The latter is beyond sense when no explanation is offered and no compassion is conveyed. Simply to harm as discipline.
As an adult, I have thoughts passing through fields of blue sky wondering why, what evokes such thoughts in my mind?
What does it mean to have so little to look forward to? Is this thought one of self-pity? Despair of the future? Trepidation? Or a cautious warning against futility? Apathy, complacency, lethargy: the three poisons.
Sometimes I think, "I hate this place." As if I've reached bottom and landed on the rocks, my ship grounded, no longer able to sail, wrecked. Sometimes I have these thoughts. Sometimes I think of other things. Usually, I'm reacting to events.
Tiny, insignificant, annoying occurrences. The mind suffers this world as a contradiction as if this world should be presque parfait, almost perfect. Nothing comes with a book of rules or anecdotes to explain why things are the way they are.
Why a glass falls off the counter, shatters, and leaves shards everywhere to clean. "Opa!" A phrase that Greeks exclaim when smashing plates onto the floor or into the fireplace. Gravity as the weakest force trips me up when friction ceases to hold or keep something like myself from falling unexpectedly while doing something important like cleaning cat feces off wooden floors with wet, paper hand towels. Nothing in this world is perfect.
It's almost as if for some people this is hell. But hell is an analogy based on a fictional idea, a place of torture and pleasure in the misery of others, schadenfreude. Perfect!
Neither heaven, nor hell but perhaps moments of either or both. Anger, delusion and greed the Buddhist believes are three poisons. Opposed to the three jewels: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. I have followed these thoughts for years, decades in fact but only know of one idea among the three that holds water for me any longer. The other two are meaningless concepts based on false hope and trust.
Perhaps I need to think positively, like happy thoughts, and let everything else just be the way it is whether or not I am here or elsewhere for that matter.
My first girlfriend told me, "You think too much." Yet again, no explanation just a comment or a complaint or some advice.
Too bad, I didn't have a .357 Magnum (Smith & Wesson) to blow my brain out of my head in that instant. At least now, I would not worry about what the future holds around the corner, for retirement.
I have never had a real vacation where I've gone somewhere on a trip just to relax and enjoy sightseeing in Italy or Greece. I've always been too poor with faulty connections with family and other associates. My prospects have been dim since I was born, perhaps before time existed. Humans are funny in that way. They can't cherish what is before their eyes. They have no gratitude for the present, only what is to come. What's next?
Perhaps that too is my problem. Not that I think too much but that I am focused on the past or the future and I can't hear what is being said to me in the present moment.
I can't focus on the here and now to appreciate the context of someone telling me something important right before me.
My attention is selective, as if I chose long ago what was important and who was not.
But in this respect, I will always be alone with my thoughts in a prison, Solitude.
At least, it's not a hole in the floor of a prison cell where I can't move or see as all is dark and dank and cold. Solitary.
Meditation is like self-imposed confinement of the mind as it wanders from place to place, from idea to idea.
It is so difficult to let my body breathe and just sit with breathing as my only focus.
As I know that language reflects the thoughts of the speaker like a mirror . . .
The phrases I quote above reflect my character as if I were other to my own mind. As archer and charioteer, my mind directs my character who drives the chariot called the body, holding the reins of the will to lead my senses and perceptions to the best position for my mind as archer to shoot arrows against our enemies, or send out thoughts to the opposition of a polemical discourse.
For the chorus are beside me observing the conflict and occasionally hurling back insults as insightful remarks when necessary. As a chorus in a Greek tragedy and not a call and response chorus in a church setting. The chorus are other people. But as Sartre said, so is hell.
It takes a Marxist to live through World War II to comment incisively on religion as a social milieu, as an analogy of what is real when we encounter ourselves as others.
What more can I say regarding negative thoughts? Do not attach to the ephemeral nature of fleeting words. Language is not identity but the changing image we see that returns again and again in the mirror.
Sometimes I pass these words etched in concrete as I walk past. They say something simple but difficult to achieve in our everyday dealings with the world around us: "Take care of each other."
The present takes but a moment of reflection to realize how quickly events, people and things pass into emptiness, an abstract concept, a conceit of quick wit, an illusion we cannot see beyond the veil.
Thoughts reflect mind but are not mind, and life is a gift lost with our diminished attention in a present out of focus. One day, I, too shall pass into the emptiness.
Nothing but these words will remain, marks in the sand along the shoreline of the beach, washed away with the tides.