On Life and Spirituality
July 23, 2015 § Leave a comment
I shouldn’t feel this way.
I just got back from a once in a lifetime experience. Katie and I drove across the entire country and stayed in strangers’ homes for a month. I was on the road for so long that being back at the house in Knightdale was like a breath of fresh air. I experienced things that I will likely never experience ever again. I saw things that made me feel ways I’ve never felt before. I met people that I will hopefully stay in touch with and remember for life. These are great people. These are great experiences. It was life, pure and uncut.
All of this makes it that much harder for me to explain how I feel right now. And how I’ve felt for the past few days. I feel a sneaking sense that something is missing from my life. I can’t put my finger on it or explain what it is, but there’s certainly something lacking.
At certain points in my travels I get momentary lapses where I feel free and at peace. For short spurts certain places give me a sensation of satisfaction. But that feeling quickly dissipates and I find myself left with the same feeling. Not empty, but not full. I love so many aspects of my life: I live in peace and solitude in a quiet neighborhood with a person that I love deeply. I have animals that I love with everything I have. I have a black lab that I adopted as a puppy and love deeply. My life is not lacking love and peace. Smoking weed makes me feel so happy and warm. It makes me appreciate these things even more. I love this.
But life almost becomes more complicated once you’ve found love and comfort. You begin to worry about things that don’t matter. You begin to question the lifestyle you live. The people you associate with (or don’t associate with) and you can quickly worry yourself into a depression if you’re not careful.
Certain aspects of my life make me happy enough to see through these things. Spending quality time with those I love. Having sex. Getting high. Travel. Setting personal goals (professional, financial, and physical).
But Diane Martinez, a wonderful woman whose home we stayed in while visiting Lake Tahoe, told us that we should find the place that makes us happy and just move. “Do it now!” That resonated with me and made me appreciate what I’m doing with my life. I’m doing what makes me happy. Now!
But because professional and financial ties are keeping us docked in North Carolina for a little while, that aspect of life change will need to wait. However I think that the ultimate measure of personal happiness is your ability to be happy where you are. If you’re unhappy where you are now, you will no doubt be an unhappy person anywhere else in the world. Rather than waiting for a physical relocation to start changing, why not embrace change where you are? Then once you finally make that leap you can be prepared for it.
I think my life is lacking spirituality. I’ve been agnostic for quite some time. Never belligerently so, but lately I’ve noticed that my spiritual doubt has been leading to a buildup in bitterness toward the religious. Which is silly.
I stayed at this Buddhist man’s house in Berkeley. I didn’t know he was Buddhist. I didn’t care either. But there was a quote he had framed next to his couch that resonated with me. It was a famous quote by Milarepa, a Tibetan Buddhist master. It goes as follows:
All worldly pursuits have but the one unavoidable end, which is sorrow: acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings in destruction; meetings in separation; births, in death. Knowing this, one should, from the very first, renounce acquisition and heaping up, and building, and meeting; and faithful to the commands of an eminent guru, set about realizing the Truth (which has no birth or death)
First of all, thoughts of growing old have always scared the hell out of me. Further, I know sorrow and dispersion all too well. Any religious figure who’s willing to embrace these realities of life is worth listening to. My only loose end is finding an “eminent guru”.
When I told my host about the quote he left me with “good luck on your journey”. Maybe he meant the road trip, but I suspect he meant something much more. Another mind touched, another body directed toward a new goal. Such is how we affect each other as human beings. It truly is magical.