Friday, January 14, 2011

The Maniac is Caged for the Day


I've decided that I'll take it easy today after yesterday's uncontrollable explosion.  Sometimes the fire just gets in me and I can't do anything about it - so it goes. 

Everywhere I go, regardless of my duration of stay, I find myself creating and practicing funny rituals in order to keep my mind both sane and focused.  I normally refer to it as meditation, but any generic term could be applied.  It began a few years ago when I realized that I was packing on the chub and a weight loss plan seemed like a fantastic way to regain some semblance of physical health; this led me to run a couple of days a week to get back into the form of the old glory days.  The familiar struggle for consistency went on and off for a long time until I started getting co-op jobs that forced me to remain seated and staring at a computer for eight hours a day.  At work, I'd spend hours without talking or communicating and pounding coffee and building up unbelievable stores of energy that I couldn't control and when I would get off of work, my head would be pulsating and insanely raving at ultra high-frequencies and I mistakenly assumed that my only outlet for this energy was to live the normal college lifestyle.  Being the typical idiot that I was (and still am), I never understood where all of these strange feelings came from until I began using my running and swimming as my daily course of respite from all things technological.  After a while, my goal in exercising morphed to become the pursuit of maximum stamina, as more time spent exercising meant more time escaping from technology and more time escaping from all people and the world, which in turn meant more time to just BE and to THINK and to ENJOY EXISTENCE.  It was at this point that I started to understand how the youthful struggle for productivity and the societal pressure for success caused myself - and I assume countless other  peers - to neglect themselves and to overlook the unbelievable joy of EXISTENCE.  I went nearly mad when everywhere I turned I was being told to do this and to dwell on that and to complete such and such a task by such and such a date.  I had had waaay too much and at this point I quit for good.  After a while I noticed that what was initially my punishment for becoming a chub tub had become my mental detox and my ninety minutes a day of pure freedom and joy and I was connecting with something that was strange at the time (I later learned that this was myself).  I would run in long loops with the specific thought in my mind that once I was running, there wasn't any reason to worry about the fate of my future.  And so that's an abbreviated version of how I discovered the power of personal meditation.  When I arrived here in BPN, I saw that it didn't take very long for my understanding of what is beautiful and valuable in life to become skewed by the potential for a successful and productive career.  For weeks I struggled to understand those things that had been so clear to me only months before and this struggle illuminated how delicate and tenuous internal peace can be.  I had gone from a state of mind existing outside of the established framework to one desperately clawing for the last musical chair when the music stops.  After time had passed, I continued my ritual of running and I look forward to that peace every day.  I also picked up writing. 

So as soon as I get home on a running night, I go to my room and put on my running clothes as fast as I can and I grab a head band to keep the stinging salty sweat outa my eyes, I strap on my shoes and don't tie them so tight and I go go go go go.  I feel wild when I run and I normally just rip off my shirt and run half naked through my SLB housing complex.  I pass the guard shack at the entrance gate every lap for twelve laps and every time I see them out there smoking their clove cigarettes; I look at these older Indonesian guys and I can't help but wonder what is going through their heads, with some goofy white dude running circle after circle.  If I run at the right time in the evening, the speakers from the mosque directly across the street will be blasting the singing prayers - I'm not sure what they're called.  So it goes and so it goes until my legs give out, and this is relatively soon since I'm still trying to build them back up.  When I stop, I'm dripping with sweat and every pore on my body is a rushing waterfall, my eyes are burning from the salty sweat, so I grab my water and walk to the pool and just jump right in and float undisturbed and gatorlike for as long as I please.  Just sitting and floating and thinking and letting whatever it is just wash away all my anxiety.

All of these practices and all of these personal changes have left me profoundly impacted not only by the immediate consequences of such a drastic personal overhaul and spriritual discovery but by the third-person perspective that I have taken throughout the process.  When I examine the amount of personal comprehension that I had both before and after this period, I am struck by the energy expenditure required of me to understand such a minute part of the universe as myself.  I understood that if it took me, my own self, several years of my life to comprehend that part of my world which I was most intimately familiar, that domain which I know better than any other human being existing both before and into the future, then how in the hell will I every be able to make the claim to know any other human being beneath more than a skin-prick of their facade.  Further, if I am unable to understand those things with which I am able to engage in dialogue (other humans) to the same degree that I understand myself, then logic necessarily leads me to wonder how I could ever be able to claim that I am able to comprehend any existing entity or process deeper than face value (this list of examples is infinite).  These thoughts left me reeling and questioning and thinking that it was no longer worth my energy to spend time and energy attempting to theorize, plan, scheme, and calculate ever again - I simply came to the place in my life where I saw that the only thing that was really, honestly, rubber-stamped-and-sealed worth my time was stepping back and watching and appreciating existence in all of its wonderful manifest forms (this could be taken much deeper, but I won't for the sake of brevity).  I dunno, maybe this isn't the best forum in which such thoughts should be discussed, but I figure that every forum available is worthy and every opportunity to discuss the wonders of life is an opportunity that should be ferociously seized.  I don't know everything and I don't know much about anything, I don't speak for others when I say the things that I say, but I do speak with passion about the things that I know because I think that the things that I see and do and think are real and believing in that  is the only way that I or you or anybody can actually begin to make any sense of this life.  Passion for life, lust for life, call it what you will, but to me, it's like strapping yourself to a rocket and going to the moon.

I could go on for days, but that's probably enough for now.  Next time I'll write about baseball or racecars or the best 80's metal bands in reverse chronological order.  Until then, farewell farewell, I wish you sunny skies and a pot of gold at the end of what's shaping up to be one damn fine friday to be alive in January.  So much for caging the maniac.


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