Thursday, March 02, 2006

I get it, almost

I posted the other day that I don't understand morose rural piety. I still don't. But at the time I wrote that I was in a very Zen mood, that little paradise I savor sandwiched between panic attacks. I very much enjoy them, though, knowing that the self-imposed stress will burst the dikes as soon as something goes wrong, as soon as I remember it's honors contract deadline week and my history professor won't help me because she's stodgy and I don't deserve it. I think the Swedes felt the same way about the sun, knowing it was only paying a visit and would soon be returning to the more hospitable parts of the globe.

When the above-mentioned zen blowout happened, I realized that I get it, just in a different way. I had just finished reading Siddhartha, and identified much with him -- his long journey from teaching to teaching and eventual rejection of teaching as a useful entity, and thus his celebration of life. Basking in that, I just couldn't delve into these archaic biblical verses of life as a miserable experience, with only the instrinsic value of being the road to something better. This is it, mannen.

Then, when shit piled up, I thought of killing myself. Now, let me temper that statement -- not seriously, but to achieve some kind of spiritual freedom, flying off. I've always done it, and I've always felt bad, whether for selfishness or desiring the easy way out. I've never been serious about it, and never had it in a teenage angst-ridden "I'm complex; no one understands me" kind of way. It's just always been a vision that jumps into my head whenever life is getting to me, and I suppose I've been told one to many times not to sit around and feel sorry for myself, so I can't bring it to the surface without feeling egotistically lessened.

I guess I just never really considered it, but reading into Eastern-themed literature again, I realized I'm simply craving nirvana in those little moments, but not an escape from suffering, an escape from the simplistic, empty droll of every day. So I suppose I understand the need to believe in something better than the concrete, I just can't view life as a wait for the end.

That said, I'm pretty happy -- now and then I'm co-opting a little of the Buddha's sublime grin and shrug of the shoulders, something I've denied myself the time and vision to have during college.


Chris Jones said...

I appreciate Camus on suicide--his belief that it's something a person ought to think very honestly about. Ask yourself every day, "What reasons do I have for not killing myself today?" It's a dangerous line of thought in a way, but it's no more dangerous than not thinking it.

I read Siddharta my junior year of high school. My English teacher gave it to me because I was a Republican then and she was trying to broaden my world.

Have you read much Camus? I think you'd love Camus.

Anonymous said...

"I'm co-opting a little of the Buddha's sublime grin" --> fabulous.