(in Buddhism) a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.
When I was younger I had this habit to attribute things to people, stuff like if like person X’s familiar would likely be a praying mantis because of her aura of perpetual meditation, or perhaps deliberation, and was not one to be messed with. Or this lawyer that had an uncanny resemblance and manner to a bulldog.
I grew up watching Avatar the Last Airbender, and of the four elements, earth has always been my favourite. I never told anyone this but I had this vision of myself as this oak sapling, that one day I’ll be this towering, formidable sentinel knees-deep into the earth, toes dipping in the water table beneath and branches catching amiably in the wind. They’ll be homes to all sorts of birds. I’ll be this secret place of contemplation for that harried student who’d rest against my gnarled trunk.
Eyeball that bit of wisdom. Read it again. One more time to be sure. Okay then. Maybe you recognize some of that in yourself, I know I do.
An infernally astute quote from John’s debut novel, Looking for Alaska. “Infernal” because it illustrates a sort of personal hell I should be scrambling to escape. A loop whose deeply rutted trail I’m vaguely aware of at the best of times and crystal sharp at the worst of times.
Which is f**king tedious? I mean if I could be aware of all the tomorrows I tell myself I have and not take them for granted, I’ll get my goals accomplished, every day I would be compelled to complete them.
But like the blessed idiot that I am, I do stupid sh*t anyway. And I could analyze to kingdom come about the lies I convince myself are truths, their roots lay in self-doubt and lack of self-compassion. I’ve thought out of the whys and have finally sifted and understood what some of my actual truths are. Three years ago this introspection would’ve been beyond me but I feel lighter at the thought that I’ve come so far that I can see how I could fortify wobbly foundations and continue to build my person. Growth is always the goal.
But essentially the labyrinth is a fantastic illusion that could make us or dismantle us and perhaps it can only work out if we realize that within it we can make new paths. That we can take a chainsaw to some of the dead ends, and plant new saplings.
The past is a ghost. The future a phantom horizon. The present? It’s where we live. It’s not always pleasant but it’s where our hearts beat, the precipice of the next moment. Isn’t it awful how we conjure those ghosts and let them possess us? How we often try to dream out the possible futures thereby plugging up the goodness that the present can offer?
I read Looking for Alaska about two years ago, stayed up until morning to finish it only to have a feeling of mental suspension and an excellent view of the void. Alaska was a bitch, sure, but to be fair she was a kid who had a lot going on under the surface.
Filed under Books, Thoughts