"- don't be so quick to knock it. People don't usually part with the weird shit they personally know because they know how easy it will be to punch holes in. Now I'm tellin you somethin. It's for you to poke through the soup and find the meat." John Patrick Shanley's 'the dreamer examines his pillow'

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Perceived Void

I don’t believe I will ever lose anything. Not a friend, not my life, not a moment, not my keys. The concept of losing comes only from the ideas of possession and/or expectation. I get angry when I can’t find my sweatshirt because I assume I own it – but ownership is nothing, merely an idea. My ‘Owning’ it does not make it physically a part of me, and therefore I do not have any basic right to it, only the human-imposed rights that I and those around me agree upon (“You say you own this, so I won’t use it without returning it to you” – in most cases, unless the unspoken rules of ownership are intentionally breached). But the physical world does not always work the way we want it to, the way our laws and expectations dictate. So I ‘lose’ my sweatshirt. It is no longer available to me. But a sense of loss comes only from having expected that I would have it available to me for quite some time. There was no such promise made to me. I used it, and now I cannot use it. One might say that I lost the use of the sweatshirt, even if ownership of the sweatshirt was only an idea. But again, if I live in the present instead of on past expectations, I see that the fact of the matter is, I have only what is in front of me, and there is no reason to expect anything more. So the ‘lost’ sweatshirt is a moot point. It is no longer in front of me, so there is no use in feeling that the world was unjust in ‘taking’ what was rightfully mine. People apply to this sense of loss as well – when someone loses a friend to death or circumstance, feeling cheated or behaving like a victim is illegitimate – there was no promise made that said you would ‘have’ this person for any period of time – and if there was, it was foolishly and unreasonably made, whether by yourself or the friend. The world has an element of unpredictability that humans are unable to escape, no matter how hard some of us try.

I’m not implying that mourning the parting of a loved one is ridiculous – it is impossible for people to live without expectations, and when we are experiencing a good thing, it is natural to hope or expect it to last, and to feel empty for a time when we are disappointed. But the relinquishment of the extreme possessiveness we tend to develop over people and things can help us let go of past hurts, future worries, and enjoy the present. All we have is what’s before us. I’ve never lost anything –I’ve been taken by surprise at what was left before me, but never did I own any of the friends I’ve known or objects I’ve called mine, so I am grateful for all that’s passed through my hands and heart in my 20 years so far, and I’ll try to learn to use what I do have to its fullest, without bitterness or fear of loss. Harder to do than write I suppose, but an endeavor I’m willing to take on…

You know, you could take it a step farther and say we don’t even ‘have’ what’s right in front of us. All we really have is our naked bodies, and we can’t even fully control our own health. It’s all an illusion of control (swiftly swept away by natural occurrences or paradigm shifts) – and yet, look at the abundance and richness of what’s at our fingertips! Man, what a life it would be if I could live in the constant knowledge that all this is beyond me, that I’m not entitled to anything, that it’s all a gift or happy chance…


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