Yesterday I woke to two answer requests on Quora. People wanted to hear from me! But I chose to wait, not feeling very engaged with the questions.
This morning, I have six. The two from yesterday remain, and four additional requests have appeared. How strange and unexpected. And yet, this is exactly what I anticipated. I am the product on Quora, so Quora wants me to be more productive. Good riddance!
I’m thinking about status, internal and external motivations. It’s one of those mornings when thoughts swirl relentlessly around one’s skull, like buzzing bees in a hive overtaken by an invading bear. Each cries out for attention, and yet the bear cannot bring himself to focus on these pests. He lumbers forward, drawn inexorably to the many shades of raw honey.
Honey is amorphous. Its viscous undulations entrap the senses. What do we see in honey? It certainly smells enticing, and it tastes so cloyingly welcome. I feel immersed in the honey this morning, the muddled mush of impulsivity and self-gratification that never gets stale.
For the first time, I felt a screaming need to meditate. It got to me, not writing a blog post yesterday. Unmoored from that habit, it became abundantly clear that nobody but myself was keeping score. Nobody was knocking on the door, asking for more, more, more.
And me inside? I wasn’t either.
Yesterday, I had a very strange interaction. It was a job interview, or so I thought. But not an ordinary job interview, rather, a trial period of working together. I dislike the usual interview process, so this novel format—so honest, open-ended—it appealed greatly on the surface.
But it was too honest. Scope was on vacation. Two minds met, unmoored, and danced without going anywhere. It was naked, and slow, and frightfully alien. I recoiled. There is a reason things are done the sad, unexciting, standard way. It’s much closer to mediocrity, but at least it’s common ground. At least we can walk together down that path.
So here I am, this morning, reflecting on a million and five butterfly thoughts. And ready, after the usual distracting handful of online chess games, to discover what’s true in my brain. So I close my eyes.
They tell you to focus on the breathing. What they don’t tell you, is the swimming you must endure to reach that side. There are a million and five currents tugging you across the ocean, and the land of simply breathing lies deep below, buried in some unfathomable craggy trench. So it’s not even a side, it’s not even a landmass one can grasp. It’s a constant motion downward, in a third dimension that we cannot comprehend naturally because we are so focused on the plane of progress.
So I dove, exploring like never before. I dove deeper, and deeper. Every kick brought a surge of current, some stream of thought blindsiding me—a book I could be reading, the electricity bill sitting in my inbox, a phone call to my aunt I’ve put off—and each time, I deflected, I twisted and twirled in the water, bending each thought around my small bright volition coccoon, allowing it to pass unabsorbed, unimpeded. Thus, haltingly, I inched downward.
Such mental sparring illumniated and laid to rest a great many dust bunnies, the snowflake thoughts that drifted into corners and piled up until I had to find smaller, easier heaps of rubbish to sweep away. And then a shard of ice, a vague behemoth through the blizzard, a shark of thought would ram my back as I twirled. I gasped a mouthful of unwanted distraction, spat it out, and turned to face the foe.
Each time, the truth I encountered presented itself so vivid and powerful that I had to surrender without a fight. I let it eat me, chew, and birth me anew. Then we were one, and I could dive deeper with strengthened urgency as it swam away, vanishing in the distance of the abyss.
Writing is something I enjoy and I can control. It comes from within. Influenced without, sure, but so purely essential that my other aspirations are rendered vague and flimsy.
Meditation is a source of energy better than caffeine. It’s an experience more exhilarating than any drug. And I barely scratched the surface. This is the place of true monastic spirituality within.
The within. Magical, but not in the typical way. Usually, swimming on the surface plane, currents swell up to buoy, hinder, or accelerate the journey. I see now that immersion truly can yield fruit of good and evil. Knowledge of the world in a grain of sand.
Presence. Now is thrown in stark relief by end. And the end looms just over my shoulder, yet all around simultaneously, in the flow and oneness of time and space. It will pay thousandfold to carry engagement and responsibility with greater care, a gentler reverance.
Of course, none of it was experienced in this way. I’m just trying and failing to describe the whole of it. So much was revealed and BANG gone again in a flash that I’m having trouble retaining specifics. All I know is I’ll be back for another dive soon.
And suddenly, I’m writing this all down in one straight shot, with some of the most interesting language that’s ever flowed through these fingertips. In less than 20 minutes flat. A slight exaggeration, but what hasn’t been so far? No editing is required, this stream of consciousness is one for the record.
Thank you, universe.