So it hasn’t been a fluke or a character defect after all. It is all about duality. Everything I do causes me to react back. Everything done looks for its opposite. Or some kind of contrary reaction, if an exact opposite isn’t available. Ideally, you don’t do anything. You sit and meditate on nothingness. Because once you do something (eat, walk, converse, laugh, cook) you are only asking for it. I suppose you can attempt to keep the doing to a minimum. Or you can constantly be on guard for the reactions. It seems, however, that being on guard can only mean one thing – meditating. All things come back to meditating on nothingness. On the void. I told Cody that that void is the truth, the reality. All else is distraction. Duality equals distraction. All that is dual is nothing more than a distraction, and it’s distracting us from the truth. It’s a game. Do most people see that? Are we doomed? Why do only a select few pursue that truth? Is it because of what I’m reading about sapiens? A little intelligence can only lead to trouble. It takes a greater amount to get out of it. Is wisdom acquired through knowledge and experience, or is it innate? Why is so much wisdom required to stop thinking? Perhaps the daftest among us are also privy to that fact.
The follow up question is whether this knee jerk reacting is hard wired or adjustable. Reading Sapiens, it would appear almost everything is hard wired to some degree or another. Hard wired biologically, socially, ecologically, culturally, and from the distant past or more recently. Maybe the idea of meditating is to unwire ourselves as much as possible. One wonders how deep you can go with that. You look for the deepest part of yourself I guess. It does feel like blogging taps deep parts, and unglues the adhesive causing stuck-nesses in one’s thinking and behaving.
It’s quicksand. The hole that I am constantly trying to dig myself out of. You think you’re up a bit. It’s a hoax. This journal is certainly a good example. How much journaling is enough to give myself that grounding that I can rely on? Does anyone realize just how much I’ve written? A lot. But the hole doesn’t necessarily fill in. My neuroses are signs of digging. They cause me to dig back in. I fill in some dirt, and I shovel it back out. It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it. How can everything be connected in that way? Are we spiritual beings having a human experience? Is that how? Is spiritual another way of saying soulful or emotional? Are emotions the modern day religious terminology? We took our feelings out of a God-based realm and into a scientific metaphor. It’s ironic. If we’re basically talking about the same thing, why the heated debate? Also why do I invest myself in the debate? What do I get out of it?
The point is I feel so weird when I’m released from my neuroses for a time. I can’t stand it. Even though it’s what I know I need. The neuroses are such a source of frustration. Whether it’s God, or journal, or new regiment, or happy distraction, or discipline, when something provides that respite, it saves me for a time. Too bad it’s so temporary. It’s that damn hole.
If I am so cut and dry about my attachment to the cello, it will affect my approach. I noticed some of that today. It reflects in my mannerisms. It’s nice. Every word I write seems to translate to a physical idiosyncrasy. It’s kind of my dream. As much as I’ve enjoyed/loved writing in spaces like this over the years, I never saw an absolutely direct translation to my music. There are undoubtedly indirect correlations, which I’ve adored. It’s been possibly my chief method of improvement as a cellist – growing as a human being.
So with improvements on two fronts, will I again butt up with my usual problem of combining them? Does it take the wisdom of the ages and the patience of Job to handle 2 sources of growth in one moment? What seems to be a possibility is that endeavoring on only one of those is not sustainable as a manner of living. The undone one will always end up undermining the done. If I play the cello well but eat poorly, the ease and naturalness with the instrument will eventually revert under the pressure. If I eat well but play the cello unsuccessfully, the well-balanced eating will eventually fall away.
I know what was bugging George Michael. That voice. That voice from One More Try. It was golden. He could make any sound he wanted. He could evoke any emotion. And of course he was quite good looking. There were probably other exceptional aspects of his early adulthood. These things are not easy to see decay. Maybe the higher you fly, the harder is the fall. You need special people to guide you through the dark and unending mist of aging/growing. I have had many such guides. Even one lovely one who informed me that South Americans and Europeans find bald men sexy.
I can’t forget the feeling of wanting to hang it up. It may be my only hope. When all is lost, you will see the light shining like a tiny dot in the distance. When all expectations are gone, I stop the perpetual block. The block of judgment. The block of ranking. It seemed my friend Monica was gaining that sort of release and wisdom when we played together last season and recently. Maybe you have to play like you don’t care. Maybe I have to do that with more urgency that some others who are physically stronger. There have been other physiological issues in my life that seem to have forced me to live a bit cleaner and wiser than some others. Like I said in the last blog, pain and suffering have been important teachers for me. And it’s not for altruism’s sake. I see the writing on the Wall of Mortality. And I am constantly playing catch-up. More wisdom from another confidante. That life is not stacked in our favor. Which seems to apply to many subjects. On the other hand, we should be feeling lucky that we have the option at least to contemplate and grow. Moreso than the rest of the animal kingdom.
So maybe pain gets a bad rap. Is that like the Alanis Morissette song where she thanks a bunch of things that don’t usually get thanked? Maybe.
I usually don’t feel much gratitude for pain. But it is such a great tool. I’ve realized that if I’m not acutely aware of pain or discomfort, it is much harder to pinpoint things that I need to work on – and there are many such things. In fact, my best hope is to seek out the negative feeling that is eluding me within an experience. Naturally most people spend their time seeking all things positive. Maybe that’s the saddest thing of all. What if we need to heighten our awareness of pain and sadness? They’re there, if you take the time to look for them. Most of the time emotions are mixed up like paint colors jumbled in a can. That’s why they’re hard to identify. That’s probably why joy is also elusive.
Now it may seem I am mixing my metaphors. Physical pain versus emotional sorrow? I suppose I have learned that there is much crossover. If you look for it, you will find a great deal of subjects and categories that in fact commingle in the human experience and soul.
Example: Many people may not think off hand that the act of eating is intertwined with the rise and fall of emotions occurring minute by minute, hour by hour. But what if I told you that not permitting yourself to feel sadness causes you to eat very differently? The food ends up being an aid for distancing yourself from this spectrum of emotions. We’d like to believe we’re the ones who have control over these feelings. Not so. They are pulling the strings. Uncomfortably good emotions must cause similar reactions as well.
Pain keeps us honest. That’s why playing the cello is such a fascinating pursuit. You get nearly instantaneous feedback on what you’re doing right or wrong. You can learn for as long as you like. As an activity, eating is not so helpful. You often don’t know you’ve done anything harmful until hours later. It takes years to find out that you have been developing a gut. So you have to dig a little deeper to connect to where the pain is. It’s a moment by moment sensitivity. That’s why I went for my emotions. They are accessible anytime you want them. Naturally most of the time it is a dark emotion that you need to befriend in some way or another, in order to stop using the food as a buffer or escape.
Ok, so I found a loophole or two.
And there are parallels.
There is the question of quality. Distinguishing between my passions for playing and absorbing music has to also include the quality of the music in question. I have a different soul reaction to different grades of music. I imagine there is also a difference depending on the format and instrumentation, too. Playing duos with Daniela can’t be equivalently comparable to playing Pops with Jack, nor is it the same as playing Masterworks with Andrey. They are all distinct. Maybe I have to acknowledge that somewhere along the way before I get to the stage.
A similar thing holds true for food. I may have a variety of cravings throughout a day, but are they all worthy of my energies? I must distinguish. I can’t go on autopilot. I actually have to start distinguishing between what ought to be considered my food passions and other inferior gastronomic propensities. My lower brain stem really, really doesn’t want me to bother with this. But look what happens! I need to be haughtier. Like P’Mew. Haughty. Snobby. I am for some reason resistant to do this. The reasons will become clearer after the fact, as they tend to. For now, maybe I’ll just have to stick with the theory that my lower brain faculties would like to have their way with me, and I’m going to have to call them on it.
I could extrapolate and say this theory also applies to a variety of other things – like exercise styles. I must distinguish those too.
So far so good. But how to apply it to anything else? I was contemplating that last night, as I fought my typical cravings. I need to know if it can be likened. My distinctions between passions. First I was trying to decide if eating (for one) could fall under the category of a passion. It’s more of a craving, right? Is that connectable? People say they have a passion for good food or for fine wine. Maybe a passionate wine collector. Or a passionate foodie. I don’t think I’m that type. But I do think it’s possible that my passion for beautiful music is somewhere in the realm of my food craving and food fantasizing.
So the thought is that I can differentiate between the different food cravings. The salty snack craving, the sweet snack craving, the gluttonous overeating craving, even the well-balanced, healthy eating craving – assuming I have one of those. So perhaps the idea is for me to be keyed in to each kind of craving, and not to mix them up into a conglomerate need for food. Each kind is distinct, so my higher faculties will be in a position to allocate my desires for them appropriately.
Things that make me feel that feeling:
Cody in his cuteness and wisdom
Reading something spiritual
Being in on the joke
The problem is, what if I think I understand this or that religious tome, but in reality I’ve misinterpreted it. That’s the other alternative besides just pure disbelief. That it’s too dangerous to risk interpretation in the first place. Everyone thinks they’ve got it right. See what Dave says? People are more than happy to create or buy into Biblical interpretations without even reading it. It seems to me that you need to skirt the fine line between reading it as fiction and historical account. That that makes for the best interpretation. But that is just my take on it. Someone else would say you have to read it literally.
The problem is that seemingly subtle, casual distinctions in interpretation seem to lead to murder or war. We seem to have an irrepressible drive to search for deep, life or death meaning in things like this. There’s nothing that I might say that would relieve that. People have developed their belief systems from whatever resources they’ve encountered in the course of their lives. They only change slowly and with difficulty.
I don’t know if it’s good or bad to be sad. Jeff Foster says it’s neither. You shouldn’t judge. Maybe you can incorporate the sadness, not eradicate it, not fight it. Are happier people the ones who do that? I never considered that. I always thought the happy people were less wired toward feeling sad. Maybe that’s wrong.
Is writing like this incorporating sadness? Is reading the Bible incorporating sadness? Are these things that touch me in some deep way tapping into a fuller spectrum of emotions than the everyday activities that I laden my life with? Why didn’t my shrinks ever posit that? Is it because they figured that being a cellist was already supposed to fulfill any desires and complete any gaps in my soul? Or is it that the shrinks I found didn’t believe in butting into my natural existence too much? They just wanted to allow me to uncover my own truths. So here I am, years later, making some growth spurts finally. Better late than never.
The problem with learning is that it is slow. But I feel a tug after death after death of famous people I admired and affected me. Death is a teacher, as well. Carrie Fisher’s death has certainly opened my eyes, having read about her life. I never knew. In reality, I don’t want to put myself in an early grave. I’d like to do whatever is within my power to prolong my existence here. The thing that is somewhat news to me is that I can enjoy being alive, possibly even moreso, without engaging in life-shortening activities. If I know that my only choice isn’t self-medicating my pain and sadness, then I think there is hope.