What’s It All About?

It’s hard to live.

Our brains are well-developed. We’re a thinking species; not always a good thing. We’re a long way from being content just sitting on a mossy rock. After 5 minutes of one thing, we feel an urge to move on, to find a reason to make us grow. And that urge never seems to go away, like a hunger that always comes back after we eat.

We chase being full.

We invent pasts that didn’t happen, we dive into stories we can never prove, we create vacation spots for those we can no longer visit, we erase whole events and people. Some of us even erase entire sequences of thought, years of life, or we split in two to deal with the hardest of things.

We plunge into work.

We dedicate our lives to solving problems.

We burrow into books and teachings, willing to follow anyone arrogant and foolish enough to believe they have the answer.

It’s a painful notion to recognize that the accumulation of things, even of fantastic experiences, even of accolades from the world — shouts of approval; certainly bring growth, but never peace.

That the things we do, the badges we earn, don’t amount to anything, really; with time, much less time than planned, they become obsolete: rusting, bent metal in a pile.

We want everything to matter. We want to have the biggest collection, to live in the euphoria of newness without having to go through the ordeal of finding something new.

This happens to us again. And again.

We wish to be a voluptuous shape but, try as we may, imagine as we do, we’re just a line — a point really — a dot on a dot, regardless of the stories we believe to be true.

Our movements deceive us.

We can move our little dot in any direction at any given time, and, despite how good that sounds in a children’s book or a video game, it’s painful to deal with in real life.

As sure as the world spins, we continue to go up and down, but we wish for the up when we’re down and fear the down when we’re up, and therefore miss those minutes, or perhaps worse, make them painful.

How is it that we can do anything, go anywhere, be anything, and yet we find ourselves unable to leave the room? Or maybe we can leave the room, only to begin running so fast we make the world a blur.

It’s this thing, this running from stillness, this burrowing from light, that has become the human thing, that separates us from the rock and the moss.

There’s some comfort in knowing that we all have these experiences, that the hard heat of the sun and the isolating shade of the mountain, are all of ours.

Both can feel nice and both can feel terrible.

And it’s never enough to have one, nor both. It wouldn’t be enough to own the sun, to run so fast that we fly right into it.

Indeed, most of us have wished for exactly this: to make our feet leave the earth, to fly right into the sun.

For me, this helps. When things get hard, it helps to imagine leaving, walking into the incredible heat of the sun, melting down into nothingness. Actually going there, using this cursed brain to go there, to finally stop the running, to disappear.

It helps.

Because, when I emerge from nothing, everything else becomes a little more special.

And the earth, as if appreciative of my humble effort to disappear, seems to spin a little more slowly. The wind’s harsh gusts become a song.

And I notice as the tide shifts and the powerful waves recede, a mossy rock appears, and I know without having to think why I know, that the silence between the waves is my invitation to join what’s been there all along.

And I will sit and it will be lovely, and for a moment I will be wise and in that widsom I will have to remember that I will forget this loveliness and I will not be wise.

The waves will grow and crash. They will take my rock, and me.

And, though I may be full of doubt at first, I will emerge, wet and seemingly without wisdom, in search of a new moment.

In a world of make-believe stories and evasive destinations, of carefully laid plans and disruptive winds, of saltwater and sun, this is the closest I can get to uncovering the truth.