Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here, Being

I understand the comfort of going through life in sleepwalk. We do so many things unconsciously anyway. Wake up, pee, have breakfast, read the paper, shower, get dressed, go to work, go home, have dinner, find some amusements on TV or online, go to sleep, and if we’re lucky, dream something so marvelous we wake in mourning. The sun rises some hours after and the same route is travelled again. There is comfort in the regularity, the surety of going through life this way. We make plans, set some personal goals and hope life cooperates.

Thing is, I cannot function without some sort of discomfort. I cannot function in equilibrium, of going through the motions, of playing my part in the movements of everything else. In a flatline, there are no dips and no peaks from which to propel oneself forward. The flatness of the landscape may offer sure footing and a life planned accordingly, and to some this may constitute happiness, but the flatness may also be perceived as blank if not bleak.

Is it truly instinctual to avoid pain? That all of humanity’s history, individually and collectively, has been shaped by this fundamental need to flee from that which causes anxieties – fear, discomfort, unknowns? Do we find shelter then in the absence of fear, in comfort, in knowing? But to do so would be to align one’s body to the shape of the masses, never to stray from the sure beat of the music to which it dances. Perhaps there is a happiness to be had, to be engulfed in the warmth of this body, in easy camaraderie, in solidarity. But is it a life lived authentically? To meld with the conformities of a life lived ‘happily’, does one not just as easily dissolve?

Can we not accept then, that the terrain on which we walk shifts ceaselessly? Or flirt with the possibility that there is nothing on which to walk and to accept that nothing is permanent so that nothing may be taken for granted? I want to live in this state of discomfort, even as I battle the urge to join everyone else and just be ‘happy.’

No comments: