Cycles

Continuous cycles of existential crises.  It’s okay though.  Reading this article about a Wesleyan professor going through dementia, his heart outliving his brain with the help of a pacemaker.  It is heartbreaking, and incomprehensible.  You think that good things happen because one is a good person, has lived a life with decency and dignity.  Yet dying slowly and painfully is an indiscriminate fate.  It’s enraging that things should be this way.  And terrifying too.

I was in danger of being hit by a bus today on my way to work, a giant barreling around the corner of 35th and Madison.  How close this always is.  I think the concept of death is easy to grasp now because it seems abstract and far away.  But what is it to live out its minutiae, slow deterioration, loss of identity?

What is true?  When I was younger I believed that the world could be golden, Sesame-street-like, if I only believed hard enough.  The truth is that suffering is braided together with all good things.  Pleasure and happiness and love.  You want to believe that love will overcome all things, but it can’t overcome death.  Love doesn’t really prevent you from dying, even in the eyes of your beloved.  You’re not allowed to take anything with you, even the concept of who you think you are.  Because you might grow old and sick.  Become not the “man I married” and therefore not the person I fell in love with and spent the best parts of my life with.  You might no longer be the father or mother or grandmother I knew.

Meditation helps me think about essential things with a more peaceful mind, I think.  It’s a kind of control over the fear of knowing how out uncontrollable most things are.

Reading Kenji Yoshino’s Covering for the second time, this time even more slowly because his writing arrests me when I take the time to read it.  I want to devour this book in the deepest sense of the word, read it over and over again until it’s fully absorbed into my bloodstream.

He writes about how his mother tells him, while he struggles with his closeted homosexuality, “Don’t think so much.  Life isn’t that simple,” and how it struck him that most parents would have told their children not to worry because life isn’t that complicated.  I think there’s a similar relief in being able to let go and sit in quiet despite these grasping moments.

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