I am seated in my room, a candle lit on the table, the scent of nag champa settled into the furniture, my books stacked about like replicas of ancient rubble. I have been reading all afternoon, all evening, my concentration enwrapped within imaginary vistas of a soul’s spiraling journey. There is a quiet in the room, edged with loneliness. A good book brings back the moment of despair rooted in my life’s greatest depths. It is out of insecurity that I create. It is out of fear that I clutch carefully to the rock as I climb. It is out of hunger that I throw myself into the wind to live.
The mind is a delicate reed, easily obstructed, easily obscured, rarely honed to the purity of perception it was evolved to produce. This occasional glimmer of deeper darkness within, this seemingly unanswerable pain, seems to be the only way to sustain development. Such as in the way a muscle is strengthened–torn apart so that it will restructure itself in a manner more adaptable to the stress which tore it apart in the first place.
It reminds me of my teenage years, the length and scope of depression that I felt then–surely this was part of “growing pains,” the rush of body and mind reeling with the birth of awareness of individuality? After college, I have never again felt what I can rightly term “depressed.” But I have reminders of emptiness, lapses of loneliness. And I now almost welcome the feeling, that gift of knowledge of myself. Even as I feel like a child, raw and helpless against the void, unsure if the shadows of futurity looming are ghosts or demons or angels, or nothing but my desires and fears projected into emptiness. Because this loneliness, this despair, this acknowledgment that there is no one I can rely on but myself to pull me out–this strengthens me to continue.
I observe myself and others flailing in the waters and clutching to things and people to stay breathing. But in the emptiness right now in this moment of thought, I know that anything I grasp onto I will only take down with me, and it will take me down farther. I must be calm, I must allow myself to slip under the dark waters gracefully, even as the shock of cold numbs the heart, and give myself to the indifferent forces beyond me, even savor it as it becomes me, even rejoice as it spits me back out into the light trembling with suffering.
Complacency is the enemy of all that lives.